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Saturday, Nov 22, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Plant star Murray on road to recovery at combine

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INDIANAPOLIS — Unlike Johnny Manziel, former Plant High and University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray doesn’t have the luxury of choosing whether to throw or run at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.

A season-ending knee injury suffered against Kentucky in November decided that for him, but Murray believes he can still set himself apart from some of his rivals while he’s in Indy.

“When I get the chance to sit down with the head coaches, the offensive coordinators, whoever it may be, I just have to impress them with my knowledge of the game, my understanding of the game,’’ Murray said.

“Luckily for guys like myself and (former Clemson quarterback) Tajh (Boyd, shoulder injury), we have a lot of film. So they just have to turn on the tape. I have 52 games to watch.’’

Most of what scouts will see in those games is what football players refer to as “good tape.’’ During his four years with the Bulldogs, Murray completed 921 of his 1,478 passes (62.3 percent) for 13,166 yards, 121 touchdowns and 41 interceptions.

Add it all up and Murray produced a glistening 158.6 pass efficiency rating while playing almost exclusively against SEC teams.

That knee injury, though, has really caused his draft stock to drop.

Once considered a player worth gambling a second-round pick on, Murray is now expected to be drafted no earlier than the fourth round. He’s hopeful, though, that what the scouts see in those 52 game tapes will change their minds.

“I have more film than any other quarterback in this draft, and the success I had and playing in the SEC definitely helps as well,’’ Murray said. “Obviously I would have loved to have participated (in the Scouting Combine), but we’ll just have to see what happens.’’

What happens next for Murray after the combine is another visit with his doctor to determine the pace of his recovery. So far, Murray said, his knee has responded exceptionally well to treatment and that has him on pace for a big day in April.

“Right now the knee is feeling awesome and so I fully expect that, come April 16, our Pro Day (at Georgia), I’ll be full go and will be doing everything there is to do out there,’’ Murray said.

Participating in that Georgia Pro Day is not a given for Murray. He said he’s going to have “grind’’ to get himself ready for it. But he’s prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to get there.

“It’s a process and I have to have the right mindset,’’ he said. “There’s no feeling sorry for myself. There’s no taking any days off. It’s a challenge. But I always like a new challenge and I’ll face it head on.

“I mean, I wish I could go out there and compete. I wish I could have played in the Senior Bowl. I wish I could have done everything out here this week, but like I said, it’s a process.

“So I’ve just got to trust in my doctors and know that I’m getting better, that I’m getting stronger, and that I’ll have to go out there and have an awesome Pro Day and to take advantage of these meetings that I have.

“I have these opportunities to meet with these teams and I just have to show them that mentally I’m capable of handling it at the next level.”

rcummings@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7979

Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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