I may have used this space before to discuss my dislike for the recruiting aspect of college football.
Not so much its practice, but the coverage of it. There are entire websites and publications devoted to recruiting, and I personally just don’t enjoy that side of things. Give me a kid’s name, position, and where he played high school ball, and I’m good to go. I’ll let the coaches and scouts handle evaluations, not some recruiting service that rates kids based on how many camps they’ve attended.
As you might can guess, I love it when a relatively unknown player rises to the occasion and makes these evaluators who aren’t attached to colleges scratch their heads and say, “Where’d this guy come from?” As you might can guess further, I am a fan of University of Georgia junior quarterback Stetson Bennett. It’s hard not to be when you hear the stories of him growing up in Pierce County wanting to be the starting QB for the Bulldogs. It’s even harder when you learn that a couple years ago he played an integral, largely unseen role in UGA getting its biggest victory in years. I’m talking about the 2018 Rose Bowl against Oklahoma. In the lead-up to that game, Bennett did his best Baker Mayfield impression on the scout team offense so Georgia’s starting defense could better prepare for the Heisman-winning QB. Guys who would go on to the NFL praised Bennett’s work mimicking Mayfield. The Blackshear, Ga. product may not have seen any playing time the night of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, but he undoubtedly deserves some credit for helping the Bulldogs win that College Football Playoff semifinal.
Now after a stint at a Mississippi JUCO he’s possibly moving into the unofficial position left by former Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship as cult hero. Bennett is completing nearly 65 percent of his passes, helping the team convert on third downs and is not throwing the football to the opposing team. There’s not much more you could ask of a quarterback stepping into the situation UGA football was faced with this offseason. As a reminder, Jake Fromm left early, so did transfer Jamie Newman, D’Wan Mathis struggled mightily and JT Daniels likely isn’t healthy enough to be out there yet. That basically makes Bennett the fifth quarterback option, and I can’t immediately think of a time where a team had to reach that far back on its depth chart for a QB.
While Georgia’s offensive improvement from week 1 to week 2 was easily noticeable, there are still many more tests that need to be passed. One or two more wins though and you’ll likely see sorority girls walking around Athens with “You Can Bet on Stet” buttons pinned to their gameday dresses. Heck, I’ll even take a couple myself.