Another Plant QB Blossoming

Aaron Murray watched his former highly-touted teammate Robert Marve go through all the bells and whistles of recruiting. He saw close up how crazy things got for the blue-chip quarterback.

Taking in all of that, Murray never thought it would get so "hectic" for himself.

In succeeding Marve, who signed with Miami, as the starting quarterback for Plant Senior High in Tampa, Fla. this fall, Aaron Murray might be garnering even more attention.

Urban Meyer and Tommy Tubberville have personally talked to the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Murray, who threw for 4,012 yards and 51 touchdowns, while completing 61 percent of his passes this season. Phil Fullmer and Tommy Bowden have also made personal contact with the first-year starter, who also ran for 932 yards and 12 more scores, as Plant finished the season 11-2 in the 4-A state quarterfinals.

Murray has around 37 offers, coming from places like Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, Georgia, UCLA, Oregon State, Purdue, Stanford, West Virginia and Louisville.

"I never thought it would get this hectic from this many schools," Murray said. "It's just been a blessing to get to meet some of these coaches from huge universities, some of the most respected guys around the country. You see them on TV, and I'm just really blessed to have this opportunity right now."

Murray could soon be adding another high-profile coach to the list in Notre Dame's Charlie Weis.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood sent Murray an email on Monday night.

"It was saying they watched my film and they really like me," Murray began. "Pretty soon, they are in the process of checking out the quarterbacks for the 2009 class, and he said I'm one of the top guys they're going to present to coach Weis. So he said they'll be getting back to me sometime this week."

The email from Haywood didn't catch Murray off guard, as his head coach Robert Weiner told him Notre Dame had been in contact recently. A month ago, Irish assistant Bernie Parmalee dropped by Plant and picked up a copy of Murray's film and transcripts. The two also got to chat for a little bit.

"I'd definitely be interested in going up there," Murray said. "Notre Dame is a great school with unbelievable tradition. And there is coach (Charlie) Weis, who is an offensive genius. It would be a great place to head to and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting an offer from them, and we'll see what happens from there."

Last summer, Murray traveled the country taking in campuses. One place he didn't get to is Notre Dame. That could change depending on an offer.

"In the next couple weeks, I should have all the offers I'm going to get," Murray said. "From there, I want to narrow it down and start planning my visits for the spring and summer. I hope to get it down to around 10 schools going into the summer.

"I'm graduating early. I just want to get all this done with, and focus on my senior season and then head off to school in early January."

Who is already on the roster at quarterback for that lucky program doesn't matter to Murray.

"You can't be scared of that stuff," Murray said. Notre Dame signed five-star quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist in its last two recruiting classes. "I was talking to a coach one time. He said don't worry about who's there, worry about the guy behind you, because if he beats you out you're done."

Murray was unable to beat Marve out as a sophomore, and ended up waiting his turn starting at free safety instead.

"That was huge for me," Murray stated. "I learned a lot from him. Before that, I saw myself as more of a passer that stayed in the pocket. Robert did more with his feet. I learned a lot from watching him on and off the field, with him getting a lot of publicity. Doing a lot of the off-season training with him was really helpful heading into my next year as a junior."

Ole Miss was the first school to offer Murray. The scholarships have been pouring in ever since, as schools salivate over Murray's mobility and arm strength.

"One thing we work on a lot with my coach now, is he really stresses footwork. When the pocket brakes down, you have to be able to make plays, I've really worked on that a lot."

"I came off of a season-ending injury my sophomore year, a torn labrum in my right shoulder." Murray was the team's leading tackler at the time, and was fully recovered for the start of spring football. "I had to build it up. My arm last year was getting stronger during the season. Most peoples' arms get weaker during the wear and tear of the season. Mine was getting stronger. That was my therapy, and by the end of the season I was slinging the hell out of the ball. Now I'm just doing arm bands and things to build up my shoulder strength and get it stronger for next year."

Murray's father Dennis played for the Toronto Blue Jays, and his older brother Josh was a second-round draft pick out of high school by the Milwaukee Brewers. He reports a 4.63 second 40-yard dash, 295-pound bench press, and 450-pound squat.

Murray may be better in the classroom than on the gridiron. With weighted grades, he has a 4.6 GPA, and he isn't afraid to go away to college.

"I'm open to anything," Murray stated. "People ask me if I want to travel. I just want to play football, and I'd travel across the country to play.

"I just want to be able to go to a place where I really got to know the coaches. I'm going to be working with them for four years. I have to be 100 percent that I can see myself playing there for four straight years. I hate losing. I want to go to a place where I have a chance to win a National Championship for four years.

"I never really grew up rooting for a certain team. I grew up watching quarterbacks and good offenses, and I enjoyed watching that stuff."

Colleges obviously enjoy watching Murray.


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