Mathis transferred to Temple. Daniels, who could have exited for the NFL, opted to stay. He’s listed among the early favorites for the 2021 Heisman. But wait. In December, Georgia landed the heralded Brock Vandagriff of Prince Avenue Christian — that was Signing Day 1; Wednesday was Signing Day 2 — which means Daniels will face blue-chip competition. Now wait again. Last week, Gunner Stockton of Rabun County, among the top quarterbacks in the class of 2022, stated his intention to sign with Georgia.
So now we’re asking: Is the program that, not so long ago, seemed to have no quarterbacks about to have too many? And given the Fromm/Fields example, is there any assurance Smart will handle them, er, smartly? We can’t yet answer the latter question. As for the former: There’s no such thing as having too many quarterbacks, seeing as how QBs view a college career not as a four-year (or even a three-year) commitment. The only increment is one year, meaning this year.
Daniels, who’ll be a fourth-year junior, surely will leave Georgia after next season for the NFL. If Vandagriff doesn’t win the job this fall, he’ll have every expectation of becoming No. 1 in 2022. Stockton’s commitment is fascinating, but it’s not binding. He can’t yet sign a letter of intent, and he previously committed to South Carolina. Vandagriff, FYI, signed with Georgia after decommitting — that’s a word coined just for recruiting — from Oklahoma.
The point being: On the college football spectrum, 2022 is light years away. With the NCAA allowing almost every transfer to become immediately eligible elsewhere, the quarterback waiver wire crackles as never before. Burrow spent two years at Ohio State as Dwayne Haskins’ backup; two years later, he left LSU after authoring the greatest season by any collegiate quarterback ever. Food for thought: Had Burrow stayed in Columbus, there mightn’t have been room for Fields.
Kelly Bryant lost his starting job at Clemson to Trevor Lawrence; the next year, Bryant was starting for Missouri. Feleipe Franks was injured in 2019 and lost his starting job at Florida to Kyle Trask; last year, Franks started for Arkansas. Chase Brice of Grayson spent two years as the understudy for Lawrence at Clemson; last year, Brice started for Duke. Jake Coker was Jameis Winston’s backup on Florida State’s 2013 championship team; two years later, Coker was the starter on Alabama’s championship team.
Let’s not get hung up on hype. Hurts was a 4-star recruit who didn’t start Game 1 as an Alabama freshman. Blake Barnett, a 5-star, did. Hurts replaced him that day and would have one the most distinguished careers — making the playoffs four years running, three times as a starter — in college annals. (Barnett wound up at South Florida, with two stops in between.) Jones was a 3-star who committed first to Kentucky; he led Alabama to an undefeated season, something not even Hurts or Tagovailoa did. Trask was a 3-star who never started a high school game; he finished fourth in the 2020 Heisman voting.
As much fun as it is to juggle names — Daniels and Vandagriff and Stockton, oh my! — there’s no way to know how the landscape for college quarterbacks will look seven months from now, let alone in two or three years. Guys get hurt. Guys get their feelings hurt. Big names don’t always play big. Nobody in this world would have guessed the quarterback who would throw the most passes for Georgia last season would be — not Newman, not Mathis, not Daniels — but Stetson Bennett, once a walk-on. It happened, though. Life’s weird.
There’s no such thing as having too many quarterbacks, seeing as how QBs view a college career not as a four-year (or even a three-year) commitment. The only increment is one year, meaning this year.