With senior Robert Marve at the quarterback position this past season, Aaron Murray had to wait his turn. A 6'1, 205 pound gunslinger, Murray watched Marve quarterback Plant Senior High to a state championship a year ago. Now it is Murray's turn to take the helm.
"I backed up Robert Marve last year so I played safety, but this year I'm stepping in at quarterback. It's been going good. We're off to a 7-1 start," junior Aaron Murray said. "The first game, we played a team that was a top in the country and fell apart in the 2nd half. We've won 7 straight at this point."
As a first year starter, Murray admits that he has had a lot to learn this season and, thus far, his improvement has been dramatic. "Our team from week 1 to now, everyone is getting better," he noted. "From my perspective, looking at me from my first game to now, how much I've learned and gotten better each week is amazing."
"It's about progress," he continued. "If you watch film from my first game to now, it's like two quarterbacks. I don't know if I was nervous or what, but I couldn't sit in the pocket. Now I can sit in there and I've got confidence in my line. I can make a pass even if I'm going to get hit. If I feel I pressure and need to get out of there I can run."
While gradually improving at the quarterback position, Murray has amassed 29 passing touchdowns to just one interception in 2007. With 2,300 yards passing and a 62% completion percentage as well as 650 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns, Murray has put stats in the newspaper and points on the scoreboard all season. Plant Senior High is averaging 39.4 points per game this season.
Those numbers have attracted schools from around the nation and have earned Murray several early scholarship offers. "I've received a couple of scholarships so far," said the Tampa native. "Boston College, USF, Oregon State, Ole Miss, FIU, and Wake Forest so far and hopefully we'll keep getting them."
Ole Miss was the first school to offer Murray a full scholarship. "I was completely stunned. It happened after my spring game. I hadn't played a complete game of high school football – our spring game was just a half. Next thing you know, we got a letter from them and they wanted to offer a full scholarship. I was like ‘Wow.' It was a big shock. I was real excited."
After camp visits to Florida, LSU, West Virginia, UNC, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and others this past summer, Murray has been able to make a couple of more visits to area schools in recent months in South Florida and Florida. Murray plans to make additional unofficial visits after his football season is complete.
"I want to focus on getting better each week and hopefully getting another state championship," he said. Although recruiting is not at the forefront of his mind, Murray will continue to evaluate the schools that enter the recruiting picture for him.
"Wake Forest is a great school," Murray noted when asked about the Demon Deacons. "It's a good school for me because I want to go to a good academic school. Wake Forest has a good academic program and is a top football school. When they offered, they asked my coach if Wake was a ‘top choice for Aaron' and my coach said it definitely was. It's a great place, great environment, and I'll take a trip there over the summer. My dad and brother went when my brother was looking at schools and they told me how beautiful it was there."
In addition to academics, Murray, who boasts a 4.0+ GPA and takes AP classes, is also highly intrigued by the coaches and teammates who will surround him at his college of choice. "The first thing there is the team and coaches," said Murray. "Basically the quarterback coach will be important as will getting to know the coaches and seeing the atmosphere you want to be in. You want to be in a program on the rise and looking good for the future. I'm looking for a good location, good team, good coaches and fairly close to home though if the right fit is across the country, I will go there too."