In a draft class not particularly strong at his position, quarterback Aaron Murray could have potentially been a first-round draft pick this year.
But he's decided against it.
On Sunday, the SEC standout announced on Twitter that he will return for his senior season at Georgia.
|Photo by: Ed Zurga|
The fourth-year junior has already graduated. He led Georgia to a 12-2 finish that included a loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, and a victory over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
He threw for 427 yards and 5 touchdowns in the bowl game.
Murray is the first signal caller in SEC history to pass for 3,000 yards in three-consecutive seasons. He had 3,898 yards passing this season to set a Georgia record, topping Eric Zeier's mark of 3,525 set in 1993. Murray tossed 36 touchdowns passes to only 10 interceptions, and currently leads the nation with a 174.8 passer rating.
The school issued no immediate statement on Murray's decision, but head coach Mark Richt recently stated that he would support Murray and other juniors no matter their decisions on the draft.
"If these guys choose to stay, I'll be thrilled, obviously. But if they choose to go, I'm still their No. 1 fan either way because I just want what is best for them," Richt said. "I can't be the one to say what is best for them. They have to figure that out for themselves. They're grown men now."
Murray's decision means Georgia's offense will return almost all of its top starters from a squad that averaged a school-record 37.8 points per game this season. The Bulldogs lose senior receivers Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, but will return wideout Malcolm Mitchell, tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and all five starting offensive linemen.
So next season, will Georgia be the team to end the Crimson Tide's stranglehold on the strongest conference in college football? It's far too early to say. But with Murray's decision, the Bulldogs have to like their chances.