Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 7, 2013

UGA's Murray says he will return for senior season

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said Sunday night he is returning for his senior season.

Murray announced on his Twitter account he won't leave early to enter the NFL draft.

"Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet. Time to get back to work & help lead this team to a championship," Murray said.

Murray, a fourth-year junior, already has 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. Murray threw five touchdown passes in the bowl game.

Murray is the first quarterback in SEC history to pass for 3,000 yards in three straight seasons. He had 3,898 yards passing this season to set a Georgia record, topping Eric Zeier's mark of 3,525 in 1993. Murray threw 36 touchdowns passes and only 10 interceptions and leads the nation with a 174.8 passer rating.

Another top Georgia junior, linebacker Jarvis Jones, has announced he is entering the NFL draft. While Jones is projected to be a high first-round pick, the forecast for Murray was not as clear. Murray likely would have expected to be selected no higher than the second round.

Georgia issued no immediate statement on Murray's decision.

Coach Mark Richt said recently he would support Murray and other juniors no matter their decisions on the draft.

"If these guys choose to stay, I'm thrilled obviously, but if they choose to go I'm their No. 1 fan ether way because I just want what's best for them," Richt said. "I can't say what's best for them. They have to figure 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 unit that averaged a school-record 37.8 points.

Georgia loses senior receivers Tavarres King and Marlon Brown but will return receiver Malcolm Mitchell, tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and all five starting offensive linemen.

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