Commentary

Florida prep standout Murray heading to Athens

Originally Published: April 24, 2008
By ESPN.com staff

Aaron Murray, one of the top quarterback prospects in the Class of 2009, announced Thursday he would attend the University of Georgia. The Plant High School (Tampa, Fla.) signal-caller chose the Bulldogs over their SEC rival, the Florida Gators.

Upon the release of the ESPN 150 later this summer, Murray is assuredly going to be one of the top five quarterback prospects -- and possibly one of the top 10 players overall. A recent selection for the 2008 Nike Elite 11 quarterback camp, Murray threw for 4,012 yards, 51 touchdowns and seven interceptions last year, his first season as a starter for Plant.

ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill says Murray is a special talent.

"Without a doubt, he has the quickest release and most velocity of any quarterback who I've seen in the 2009 class," Luginbill said. "The negative on him is that he lacks height, but there are ways to compensate for that within the scheme. You can't coach a guy to get rid of the football the way he does, a player can either do it or he can't. And Murray has an exceptionally quick release."

At UGA, Murray could be part of a youth movement at the quarterback position.

Current Bulldogs quarterback Matt Stafford would be a senior during Murray's first season in Athens. Stafford, however, has been productive enough to leave college early for the NFL draft. If that were to occur, Murray could compete with Logan Gray, who was ranked on the 2007 ESPN 150, and Joe Cox for the starting job.

"You're looking at a guy who is every bit the passer that Matt Stafford is with more athleticism," Luginbill said. "He may give Mark Richt and that offensive coaching staff more athleticism from the quarterback position.

"He's a blend between a pocket-passer and a dual-threat guy. I wouldn't call him D.J. Shockley, but he's much more athletic than David Greene and Matt Stafford. So, you're looking at a guy who is somewhere between a Shockley and a Stafford [in terms of athletic ability]."

Murray, who had more than 50 scholarship offers, announced in recent weeks that he had begun narrowing down the list of teams he was considering. In addition to UGA and Florida, his list of finalist also included UCLA, which he visited earlier this month.

Murray is the second highly-regarded 2009 quarterback prospect to commit in the past week. ESPN 150 Watch List signal-caller Tom Savage (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O"Hara) announced Friday he plans to attend Rutgers University.

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