Last year, Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason got some late-season playing time after Aaron Murray tore his ACL in a November win over Kentucky. Mason, who had played sparingly throughout his time in Athens, was sad to see his teammate get injured, but he was grateful for the opportunity to play.
Mason started Georgia’s final two games last season, throwing for 619 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He now enters his senior season as the starting quarterback for the No. 12 Bulldogs.
“It’s exciting,” Mason said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s a dream come true obviously. Being an in-state kid from (Marietta), knowing what the ‘G’ means, so to speak, and knowing how much people love it – (it’s a dream come true). I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for five years. Some days, I thought this day would never come, but it’s here and I’m excited. I’m really just eager and ready to continue to put in (the) final touches of preparation and hard work to hopefully see the wait and the process pay off.”
It almost didn’t. Mason considered transferring numerous times over the years.
“I did,” he said. “Many nights I did. I contemplated (leaving), thinking I had made the wrong decision. When I got here, I quickly realized that I was going to play second fiddle here behind Aaron. And so you start wondering, What about me? What about me? I contemplated and met with Coach (Mark) Richt twice about transferring. And the first time I met with him, I was pretty much set in stone that I appreciate Georgia and the opportunity, but I was never going to be one of those guys who sat around for one year to play because (you don’t know what’s gong to happen). What if you get hurt? Then it’s all kind of down the drain.”
“It was a big leap of faith for me to stay at the University of Georgia,” Mason continued. “I haven’t regretted it one bit. It’s exciting to see the team we have coming back. There’s a lot of players coming back on both sides of the ball. Going through those tough times here and those tough decisions – not only do I think it helped me grow spiritually as a man and helped me mature, but it also (taught) me how to handle adversity and how to handle trials and tribulations in your life and handle it like a man.”
The Bulldogs will be tested early and often this season; they open against No. 16 Clemson on Aug. 30 and play at No. 9 South Carolina on Sept. 13. They also host No. 6 Auburn on Nov. 15.
“I have high expectations for myself and this team just because I know what we’re capable of doing,” Mason said. “The only thing you can really ask for being in my position is having a lot of guys come back and a lot of talent around you – and we clearly have that.”
And it starts with tailback Todd Gurley, who accounted for 1,400+ yards and 16 touchdowns (10 rush, six receiving) last year.
“We feel like we can be pretty dangerous,” Mason said. “We want to stay healthy and avoid that injury plague like we did last year. For me, it’s just about operating the system, operating the offense and getting the ball in guys’ hands. I feel like if I do that, we should have every chance in the world to . . . win games.”
Oh, and if you’re curious, Mason – unlike Murray’s older brother, Josh – has no intention of being on The Bachelorette. Josh was this season’s winner and is now engaged to Andi Dorfman.
“I know Josh pretty well,” Mason said, chuckling. “I think no matter who you are, if you’re on The Bachelorette, you’re going to get your chops busted a little bit.”