Who is Stetson Bennett?
This two-time National Championship-winning quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs nicknamed “the Mailman”, has had less than a straight-forward journey that led him to a contender in the 2023 NFL Draft. Growing up in a football family, with both his Grandfather, Buddy, and his father, Stetson III, playing the QB position, you could say “Stet” – as his family calls him – was destined to follow in their footsteps. After attending Pierce County High School in Georgia and leading their football team for three seasons, Bennett was minimally drafted and ended up as a walk-on for UGA in 2017. After his initial red-shirt freshman year with the Bulldogs, and looking at being a 3rd-string behind Jake Fromm and Justin Fields, he chose to transfer to Junior College the following year.
R-Freshman Year (2018)
After deciding to transfer to Jones County Junior College, Bennett threw for 16 touchdowns and 1,810 yards throughout 12 games. He then again entered the transfer portal, this time as a 3-star recruit. Initially considering an offer from Louisiana, he returned to UGA after being offered a scholarship and the position of backup quarterback behind Jake Fromm.
R-Sophomore Year (2019)
Bennett played minimally while backing up Fromm, appearing on the field in only four games, scoring two touchdowns with one interception. His most notable appearance came in the SEC Championship game against LSU when Fromm went down injured in which Georgia lost 37-10.
R-Junior Year (2020)
Bennett started his Junior Year again as a backup, this time to D’Wan Mathis, ultimately taking the starting job after unproductive performances from Mathis. This was short-lived, and USC transfer JT Daniels swooped in and took the top spot. Through eight appearances, Bennett was responsible for ten touchdowns, eight passing and two rushing, 1,179 passing yards, with six interceptions.
R-Senior Year (2021)
Bennett’s fourth year is when he started gaining momentum. He started again as a backup for JT Daniels, but after an oblique injury took him out, Bennett stepped into the spotlight. In his first start of the season against the UAB Blazers, Bennett scored five touchdowns tying the record for most in a game by a Georgia QB, earning the starting spot for the rest of the season. He led UGA to a 12-0 record in the regular season, finishing with 29 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
He struggled in the SEC Championship game against Alabama, scoring only three touchdowns with two interceptions, losing the game 41-24. After speculation that Daniels should regain the starting role for the CFP Orange Bowl against Michigan, Bennett proved everyone wrong, sealing the win 34-11, bringing the Bulldogs to the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship.
In a rematch against Alabama, Bennett threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, giving Georgia their first National Championship since 1980, winning 33-18 and was named the offensive MVP for the game.
5th Year Senior (2022)
The reigning champion returned to Georgia for his final year after rumors of another transfer were put to bed. In the season opener against the University of Oregon, he threw for a then-career-high 368 yards, demolishing the Ducks in a 49-3 victory. This performance earned him both the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week and the Walter Camp National Player of the Week.
He continued this impressive performance through the rest of the regular season, again giving the Bulldogs an undefeated 13-0 record, winning the SEC Championship this time around and earning another spot in the CFP, as well as being named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
After surpassing CJ Stroud and the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Peach Bowl by just one point (42-41), Georgia went to the National Championship for the second consecutive year. This game was nowhere near as close, with Bennett sealing the victory again, this time against the TCU Horned Frogs 65-7. With a combined six total touchdowns, he was named the offensive MVP, tying Joe Burrow for the most total touchdowns in a National Championship, and becoming only the third team in college football history to finish a season 15-0.
Bennett finished the season with 4,127 passing yards, a combined 37 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, passing Aaron Murray’s record for most passing yards in a single season. He finished fourth in the poll for the Heisman Trophy.
Pros About His Game
In his NFL Scouting Report, one of Bennett’s biggest strengths that he has proven is how his confidence and focus seem to increase when he is playing his biggest games. He also shows no issue with moving off of his primary read if necessary while making good reads of play and route progressions and has good anticipation when throwing from the pocket. They also remarked on his athleticism and speed when becoming a runner.
Cons About His Game
One of Bennett’s biggest weaknesses that has been remarked on both in college and as an NFL prospect is his size, as he is listed as 5’11” and 192 pounds, which is considered small by quarterback standards. Another knock on him is his inconsistent performance from game to game, as well as placement on his throws and leading his targets into collisions on zone throws. An unnamed NFC executive says “He has some great moments to fall back on, but I still think there are too many things working against him to ever be a starter.”
Apart from the talk of his size and performance, the biggest headline about Bennett comes from his off-field issues. While training for the NFL Combine and Draft in Dallas, TX, he was arrested on January 29th for public intoxication. Police had received calls about a man banging on doors in a neighborhood around 6 A.M., and found Bennett hiding behind a brick wall, smelling strongly of alcohol. The QB prospect was taken into custody and charged. Typically finding yourself in legal issues prior to the Draft definitely negatively impacts the likelihood of being a top pick. For a player who was already projected to be taken mid-draft, the addition of his recent arrest could plummet his draft stock even lower.
Many local fans in Georgia would love to see the Atlanta Falcons – who have had a big question mark at who would be starting under Center – pick up the QB. While this is highly unlikely to occur with their first-round pick, the Falcons do have the Jaguars’ 5th round pick. Other potential landing spots for Bennett could be the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans both of which would be beneficial places for him to act as a backup and learn from quality coaches and players.
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