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I'm Going to Miss Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett - I Bet You Will, Too

March 24, 2023
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ATHENS - Most college football fans are focused on two things right now: where their favorite players may be drafted in the upcoming NFL Draft and spring practice. 

Georgia Bulldog fans cannot wait to see who comes out as the No. 1 quarterback from Kirby Smart’s spring practice, thus taking the lead for the competition that will certainly spill into fall practice. Message boards across Dawg Nation outlets will be flooded with “insider” information from program insiders, media pundits and gas station attendants who think they know someone. We’ll all turn our eyes to the upcoming season and dream about what potential exists for back-to-back-to-back championships.

But, some of us (ok, me) are having a hard time moving on from the group of Dawgs who are leaving the program after an unprecedented run of success. We all have our favorites – Nolan Smith, Jalen Carter and Darnell Washington appear to have the inside track to becoming first round selections.

My favorite, though, is none other than Stetson Bennett. He didn’t start off that way. Watching him during the COVID-19 shortened season drove me nuts. I wanted JT Daniels, like most of us. However, as the 2021 season played out I found myself pulling for him not just because he was the UGA quarterback, but because his personal story was inspiring. The more we learned about his story the more we wanted him to succeed. A short, scrappy kid (ok, by now a grown ass man) from Blackshear was captivating the nation as a former walk-on leading the #1 team. We all know the story, so I won’t rehash it. But as we dreamed of a championship, many felt Stetson wasn’t the guy. 

Georgia’s back-to-back national championship quarterback has +6500 odds to be selected in the 1st round of next month’s 2023 NFL Draft according to FanDuel.



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All Stetson did was perform. He was 29-3 as a starter. He saved his best work when his best work was required. His College Football Playoff stats are stunning – 78/115 for 1,239 yards, 12 touchdown passes along with 3 rushing touchdowns. He was the offensive MVP for all 4 playoff games. A Heisman candidate. He set program records for season passing yards (4,127), season completion percentage (68.3%) and career completion percentage (65.1%). With those numbers, you’d think EVERYONE would love him….would name their next born child, regardless of sex, Stetson. And while there are many who appear to be glad that Stetson is moving on to the NFL, I’m not one of them.

I recently saw a quote that stuck with me – “I started to be free when I discovered the cage was made of the thoughts of others”. To me, this quote sums up Stetson. All of the media and fanbase bashing of his height, arm strength, and anything else seemed to stop affecting him, or he at least found a way to mute it. The clamps that he appeared to play with seemingly fell away toward the end of the 2021 season and into the 2022 season. He was a team leader and his fellow players rallied around him. They followed him. They loved him. That love of each other made the Dawgs unbeatable. But it doesn’t happen without Stetson.



 

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He played with an attitude borne of years of being told that he couldn’t do what he was doing. That attitude translated to confidence, and that spilled over to his teammates. His brashness rubbed some folks the wrong way. I guess folks don’t like a college player swilling Pappy after the 2021 championship nor do they like the shade he threw on the UT fanbase with the “call me” hand signal last November. Maybe they didn’t appreciate his raw honesty in interviews or his brashness during this season’s championship parade. I know they didn’t like his arrest in Dallas earlier this year. Maybe they didn’t like him sporting a lipper during UGA’s pro day. After all of the negativity sent his way by so many, I can understand his attitude. The word underappreciated comes to mind.

All of this to say that Stetson isn’t perfect. Never was. And still many held him to that unattainable standard. He didn’t fit the perfect quarterback mold. But Stetson was the guy that always found a way to come out on top. He ran an NFL-style offense that brought his school two championships. His work ethic, intellect, and sheer determination is the stuff they write movies about. Stetson wasn’t the perfect quarterback, nor the perfect human. But he was perfect for this team. He was perfect for this fanbase. Stetson Bennett was the hero we never knew we needed. And we’re gonna miss him. 


 
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