In 2008, they were just college prospects at Florida prep power Plant (Tampa, Fla.)
, blue chippers to be sure. But now Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray
and Cincinnati Bengals H-back Orson Charles
have much bigger fish to fry.
Murray, a Heisman Trophy candidate who ranks fourth nationally in passing rating (201.8), leads the Bulldogs into a huge SCC showdown with visiting LSU 3:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday on CBS.
Charles, who was a tight end in high school and college, prepares for Sunday's 1 p.m. (ET) AFC Central showdown at Cleveland, also on CBS.
When the duo talked to MaxPreps then reporter and now Executive Editor Steve Montoya in 2008, their sights naturally were on the next step.
Murray, who has thrown for 11,131 yards and 102 touchdowns in his collegiate career, had just picked Georgia over more than 50 schools.
"The coaching staff is down to earth," he told Montoya on why he selected Georgia. "They said, if you like us, ‘c'mon down, but if you don't, we'll cheer you on anyway.' "
Charles had just transferred to Plant from Ridgeview (Orange Park, Fla.) and said he was happy to be playing with one of the best quarterbacks and receiving coaches in the country.
It wasn't hyperbole.
Murray, despite missing seven games with an injury, threw for 2,285 yards and a remarkable 33 touchdowns while leading Plant to a 14-1 record and state 6A title.
Charles, meanwhile, needed little time to adjust to Plant's system, hauling in a team best 75 balls for 1,421 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Plant coach Richard Weiner has built a perennial national power with three state crowns since 2006, including 15-0 squads in 2006 and 2011. Since 2005, Weiner has led the Panthers to a 103-11-1 mark, including 3-0-1 this season. They are ranked 19th in the state