Georgia’s Carson Beck attending SEC Media Days bodes well for Bulldogs

041324 Athens: Head coach Kirby Smart confers with Carson Beck between plays during the G-Day game on Saturday, April 13, 2024.  Curtis Compton for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

041324 Athens: Head coach Kirby Smart confers with Carson Beck between plays during the G-Day game on Saturday, April 13, 2024. Curtis Compton for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

ATHENS — Quarterback Carson Beck will be in the Georgia entourage when the Bulldogs visit Dallas next week for the 2024 SEC Football Media Days. No surprise there.

Coming off a record-breaking season throwing the football, Beck enters his final season at Georgia as a Heisman Trophy favorite and currently projects to be the first quarterback selected in the 2025 NFL draft. As the undisputed starter at the marquee position for a team expected open the season ranked the No. 1 team, Beck not attending would have been a shock.

The fifth-year senior seems to have warmed to the limelight. Regarding “all the noise and extra stuff” surrounding him, Beck told reporters covering the Manning Passing Academy camp last week that he “loves pressure.”

“Coach (Kirby) Smart says … ‘we don’t get hunted; we do the hunting,’” Beck said. “No matter what, if we’re at 1 or we’re at 10, no matter where the ranking is, we are always doing the hunting.”

Joining Smart and Beck on the chartered jet to Dallas are junior safety Malaki Starks and junior defensive end/outside linebacker Mykel Williams. No real surprises there either as Starks twice has been deemed an All-American, and Williams has a good shot to be named one this year.

Beck’s presence, though, is a particularly good omen for Georgia. Historically, when the Bulldogs bring a quarterback to SEC Media Days, they’re generally in for a good season.

Not always, mind you. A good season for a long time was a relative concept for the Bulldogs. But under Smart specifically, things tend to go well when he brings his QB with him to the SEC’s annual talkfest. The past three times, Georgia played in the SEC Championship game. Twice, they won national titles.

There are caveats, of course. Players have been invited to the event only since 1989. For a long while, there were only two reps per team. The SEC expanded to three players in 2010 (though only two per team came in 2021 in observance of COVID-19 precautions). Media Days were not held in 2020, so there has been a total of 34 years in which players attended the annual preseason football meeting.

In its rawest form, the data says the Bulldogs are 110-40 (.755) when they bring their QB to SEC Media Days and 205-78 (.724) when they do not. But asterisks are needed here.

In Birmingham in 2021, the starter the Bulldogs brought, JT Daniels, didn’t finish. Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took over for an injured Daniels early in the season and went on to lead Georgia to its first national title in 41 years. Bennett repped for the Bulldogs the next year in Atlanta and they went 15-0, winning another title.

It stands to reason that having a quarterback good enough to parade in front of the press would bode well for a team’s prospects, given the importance of the position in the game of football. Yet, that’s has not always been the case.

Under former coach Mark Richt, it seemed to work out better when he didn’t bring his quarterback. He didn’t do so when Georgia won the 2002 and 2005 SEC titles, nor when they played for it in 2012. Oddly, Aaron Murray didn’t make the trip to Birmingham in 2012 when the Bulldogs narrowly lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship game and barely missed out on a BCS bid. But Murray did represent Georgia in 2011 and ‘13. The first time the Bulldogs ended up in the SEC title game and the second saw his final season cut short by injury.

Interestingly, No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Matthew Stafford never made it to an SEC Media Day. Yet his successor – Joe Cox – represented Georgia in 2009. The Dogs went 8-5 that season.

David Greene finally made an appearance in Birmingham in 2004, only to miss the SEC Championship game for the first time in three years. D.J. Shockley wasn’t invited in 2005 and went on to lead the Bulldogs to another SEC title.

Former Georgia coach Ray Goff had an odd experience with quarterbacks and SEC Media Days. In 1991 he took senior Greg Talley, who was beaten out by freshman Eric Zeier early in the season. Zeier didn’t make the trip his highly anticipated sophomore year in 1992, and the Bulldogs made a run at the SEC East, won 10 of 12 games and beat Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl. But, he did go in 1993 and ‘94, when Georgia won a combined 11 games those two seasons. Similarly, quarterback Quincy Carter joined coach Jim Donnan at the 1999 and 2000 SEC Media Days, but Georgia would win only eight games each year.

Some great quarterbacks on very good teams never made it to Media Days. Mike Bobo didn’t go in 1997, the year he led the Bulldogs to a win over Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators and went 10-2. Instead, Hall of Fame wide receiver Hines Ward went that year. He did, however, play some quarterback in previous seasons.

Some other observations: Georgia has tended to do well when it has sent less high-profile players. That would include Boss Bailey and Jon Stinchcomb in 2002, and Gerald Anderson and Max Jean-Gilles in 2005.

One never knows, though. The Bulldogs sent a linebacker and two running backs in Roquan Smith, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in 2017. Things went especially well that season.

As for the quarterback quotient this year, it’s high as usual. Among the newly expanded league of 16 teams, 12 are bringing a quarterback with them. That includes South Carolina, which insists on labeling its quarterback, Luke Doty, as “ATH” (as in athlete). Only Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt are leaving their signal-callers at home.

There are some really good QBs coming, though, including Alabama’s Jalen Milroe, Ole Miss’s Jaxson Dart, Missouri’s Brady Cook and Texas’ Quinn Ewers, among others. But the latest odds in Las Vegas say Beck is the best.

That tends to bode well for the Bulldogs.


July 15

  • LSU: Brian Kelly with QB Garrett Nussmeier, LB Harold Perkins, TE Mason Taylor
  • S. Carolina: Shane Beamer with ATH Luke Doty, DT Alex Huntly, LB Debo Williams
  • Ole Miss: Lane Kiffin with QB Jaxson Dart, WR Tre Harris, DE Jared Ivey
  • Vanderbilt: Clark Lea with OL Gunnar Hansen, LB Langston Patterson, DB CJ Taylor

July 16

  • Georgia: Kirby Smart with QB Carson Beck, DE Mykel Williams, DB Malaki Starks
  • Tennessee: Josh Heupel with C Cooper Mays, LB Keenan Pili, DL Omari Thomas
  • Oklahoma: Brent Venables with QB Jackson Arnold, DB Billy Bowman, LB Danny Stutsman
  • Missouri: Eli Drinkwitz with WR Luther Burden, QB Brady Cook, DL Kristian Williams

July 17

  • Alabama: Kalen DeBoer with OL Tyler Booker, QB Jalen Milroe, DB Malachi Moore
  • Miss. State: Jeff Lebby with LB John Lewis, OL Albert Reese IV, QB Blake Shapen
  • Florida: Billy Napier with LB Shemar James, RB Montrell Johnson, QB Graham Mertz
  • Texas: Steve Sarkisian with OL Kelvin Banks, DB Jahdae Barron, QB Quinn Ewers

July 18

  • Arkansas: Sam Pittman with WR Andrew Armstrong, QB Taylen Green, DE Landon Jackson
  • Texas A&M: Mike Elko with DL Shemar Turner, LB Taurean York, OL Trey Zuhn
  • Auburn: Hugh Freeze with LB Eugene Asante, DE Keldric Faulk, QB Payton Thorne
  • Kentucky: Mark Stoops with OL Marques Cox, LB D’Eryk Jackson, DL Deone Walker