There are few Georgia players that have attained any kind of status without taking a snap, and then there’s quarterback Stetson Bennett.
Bennett spent the 2017 season – and earned a fair amount of praise – as the Bulldogs’ scout-team quarterback and then transferred to Jones County (Miss.) Junior College for the 2018 campaign, where he led the team to a 10-2 mark and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges' league championship game.
Lured back to Athens with a scholarship, Bennett is now in competition with another early-enrollee, D’Wan Mathis, for the No. 2 spot behind rising junior quarterback Jake Fromm.
“Yeah, the two quarterbacks are going to get the reps behind (Fromm),” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said earlier this week. “D’Wan Mathis and Stetson Bennett are both going to get a ton of reps. To say most, I don't know that we could say most. They'll get the same amount behind him. But those two guys will be working, as well as John Seter, who is one of our walk-ons. He'll get reps as well.”
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Blackshear native is taking in stride the increasing amount of interest that’s been generated about him and said Saturday he’s approaching this coming season much differently than he did as a redshirt in 2017.
“I didn’t go about my business in my first year like I should have, working every day,” said Bennett, who earned raves from coaches and teammates in late 2017 for assuming the role of Oklahoma quarterback (and Heisman Trophy winner) Baker Mayfield for Georgia’s pre-Rose Bowl practices.
“I didn’t learn the playbook well enough. After I left, and looking back on that process, I saw that first of all I thought I was good enough, talent-wise, to play here. But I didn’t put myself in the best position. I didn’t do enough myself to be as good as I could be. I realized that, and being on scholarship, and this is home.”
Bennett’s teammates remain effusive with kudos, especially offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, who spent time on that same scout team in 2017.
“Stetson has always been special,” Wilson said. “My freshman year, I used to watch him all the time. He’ll throw, run – he can do it all, really. I was on scout team with him, and he was a special player back then. He knows what he’s doing back there. He’s a playmaker. He can use his legs to extend plays.”
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