It was not the message the former Lassiter High School star had been hoping for. As happy as he is to have his friend return to Athens for another season, it was easy to tell that the competitor in Mason was waiting to hear Murray announce he was heading to the NFL Draft.
“I’m frustrated,” Mason said. “It’s frustrating because I was hoping for the opportunity to compete to be the guy this year.”
Mason said that when he sat down with Georgia coach Mark Richt last winter -- when Mason was deciding between redshirting for the 2012 season or transferring -- that Richt told him if Murray had another big season, there would be a good chance he leave school early.
Murray threw for 3,898 with 36 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in 2012 and now has nearly every significant Georgia passing record except the career yardage mark (Murray has 10,096 yards and is 1,432 yards behind David Greene’s 11,528), yet he decided to come back anyway.
But Mason made it clear that he was not lied to, or misled, about his future.
“No, not at all,” Mason said. “Coach Richt is a straight up honest guy. He can’t make Aaron’s decision for him. Nobody promised me anything.”
“I’ve enjoyed my time learning and (playing) behind Aaron. He’s a classy guy and I only wish him the best in whatever he does.”
This scenario is actually a main reason why Mason redshirted last season, to make sure that he guaranteed himself at least one year of eligibility post Murray. In his three years with the Bulldogs, the 6-foot-3, 200 pound Mason has seen limited action, playing in eight games, completing 27 of 47 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns. His last action was a fourth-quarter drive against LSU in the 2011 SEC championship game
Mason, the Georgia High School single-season passing record holder with 4,560 yards and 54 touchdowns, said at this time, his plan is to stay at Georgia and return as Murray’s backup for a third season, but he has yet to sit down with Richt and the offensive coaches to see what his role will be next season.
“I would like to see my (college) career end at UGA,” Mason said.