Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Is Plant QB Aaron Murray a paragon of virtue, or a devil in disguise?

After narrowing his college choices to Georgia and Florida, Plant High junior quarterback Aaron Murray decides to go with the Bulldogs.

MICHAEL LANGSTON | Special to the Times

After narrowing his college choices to Georgia and Florida, Plant High junior quarterback Aaron Murray decides to go with the Bulldogs.

TAMPA — The perfect kid with the perfect right arm stood at a podium on a perfect day as his perfect family with perfect smiles watched him make what will ultimately be, of course, the perfect decision by picking the University of Georgia.

He then laid out a pretty cogent plan to end the mortgage crisis, unveiled a five-point process for peace in the Middle East and surprised everyone by revealing he was living a double life as a super delegate.

That Aaron Murray is something else, isn't he? Turns out, he is something else.

While Plant High football coach Bob Weiner has carefully crafted and polished an image for his star junior quarterback, his effusive praise of Murray, both for throwing touchdowns and walking little old ladies across the street, sometimes simultaneously, rang hollow.

To be fair, the coach swears he has tried to find chinks in his star's armor, but failed. But has he really looked, really dug deep into Murray's past? Well, some of us did, and we found a disturbing portrait of a kid who isn't really that perfect at all.

Did you know, for example, that Murray has never beaten older brother Josh at anything but lied to a reporter once and claimed he had?

"I would admit it if he did, but it never happened,'' Josh said.

"I lied,'' said the embarrassed star of the day.

Do you still trust Aaron Murray?

Did you know that Josh had to sit between Aaron and little sister Stephanie on family car rides?

"We used to fight when we were kids,'' said poor Stephanie, 22 months younger and still healing from reopened wounds.

"When we got older, he always got the front seat … now, he gets to drive,'' she said.

Oh, and how about this: Aaron Murray almost ruined Thanksgiving one year. Yes. Thanksgiving.

The Murrays were on their way to a relative's house in, of all places, Georgia, when Turkey Day nearly unraveled thanks to Aaron's shenanigans.

"Dad almost turned the car around,'' he confessed under intense questioning. Chances are, though Aaron wouldn't cop to it, Dad was nearly made to pull off to the side of the road to come back there.

This is your hero?

Let's not even get into the time he stood in front of the refrigerator with the door open for a good 30 seconds (global warm much, superstar?).

Or that Aaron has to line up to the left on the golf course because his slice is horrible. "I lost 18 balls once,'' he said, surely holding up golfers who had paid good money to enjoy their day.

Maybe all that "favorite kid" stuff is going to his head.

"Yeah, he's definitely the favorite,'' Stephanie says, adding that whenever Aaron is asked to do something by his parents, he does it right away. "Me and Josh usually have to be told a few times.''

Some people might call that driving a wedge between family members. You want this guy as a teammate, Bulldogs?

But here's the grossest example of Aaron's rough past, which his parents would rather keep buried:

His grandfather, Bob Murray, who has attended every one of Aaron's games no matter the sport, told his "favorite story of all time'' about his grandson.

When Aaron was a kid, Bob picked him up from elementary school and took him golfing. But no, that wasn't enough for Aaron. He wanted to play basketball afterward, too. Didn't get home until 5 p.m. Later told his mom, Lauren, that was the best day of his life, and word got back to Bob.

How was Bob supposed to feel when that "best day of my life" was replaced by Thursday's college announcement?

We cornered Aaron, who smiled to hide his discomfort.

"Well, that's still the best day of my life.''


"I bought him a picture frame about two weeks after that.''

Sure, but …

"It said 'My Best Friend' on it.''

Yeah, but …

"Has a picture of Aaron in it, and he's missing his front tooth,'' Bob said.


Well, that's just perfect.

John C. Cotey can be reached at (813) 909-4612, or


By the numbers

51 Touchdown passes by Aaron Murray as a junior, breaking teammate Robert Marve's state record of 48.

61.09 Completion percentage as a junior (201 for 329).

4,013 Passing yards as a junior, third highest in state history behind Marve (2006) and Tim Tebow (2005).

Is Plant QB Aaron Murray a paragon of virtue, or a devil in disguise? 04/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 28, 2008 4:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  5. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]