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December 29, 2008SAN ANTONIO - Aaron Murray jumped back and forth over the 30-yard line during warm-ups Monday at U.S. Army All-American Bowl practice which is no particular feat unless you know the back story about what happened to Murray's left leg in mid-October.
In the second quarter against Tampa Hillsborough, Murray got tackled and his leg got lodged underneath the defender, breaking his left fibula and dislocated his left ankle. The pain was not severe but the shock was and Murray immediately knew something was wrong - by looking at his foot.
"Right away, the coach came out and I was like, 'It's broken, it's broken, it's broken,'" Murray said Sunday at Army game registration. "I could feel my foot pointing in a different direction. My leg was straight and I could feel my foot going another way.
"I knew it wasn't good. They snapped it back in place and I said, 'Oh man, I feel good right now.' It was a mess Once he popped it back in place it felt fine but we went in the training room and took off my shoe and my foot was the size of a basketball. They kept moving it and it was popping back and forth so we knew it was pretty bad."
Murray's Tampa (Fla.) Plant teammates - including four-star athlete Orson Charles who is also on the East squad - stepped up and kept Plant undefeated heading into the playoffs until Murray was healthy enough to return in the state semifinals.
Plant won the state championship and now Murray, the East's best quarterback at Monday's practice, is healthy enough to play in the Army game. When Murray leaves San Antonio, he's flying to Atlanta to meet his parents and then driving to Athens to start his college career.
"I'm very excited," said Murray, rated as the third-best pro-style quarterback in the 2009 class. "If (Matthew) Stafford leaves there is still (Joe) Cox and Logan Gray and I'm coming in with (Zach) Mettenberger but I can go in and learn that first year.
"If Stafford stays that would be great because I get to learn from Cox and I get to learn from Stafford. I think he's going to go to the (NFL) draft because I don't think anybody can pass up that kind of money. I'm going to go in with an open mind, work hard and see what goes on from there."
Murray, who threw for 4,013 yards with 51 touchdowns and seven interceptions and rushed for 932 yards and 12 scores in his junior season, picked the Bulldogs over Florida, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Tennessee, Boston College, Auburn and others.
Rivals.com rates him as the sixth-best player in the Florida top 100 and the No. 37 prospect in the 2009 class.