“We’re somewhere between 28 and 30,” Smart said Wednesday during a SEC conference call. “It’s narrowed to the point of talking about guys who have decided to walk or not. And yes, Stetson is one of them.
“But there are probably 16 or 17 out of 28-30, with more than half remaining eligible, and they’re considering eligibility.”
Elder Bennett said he and his son spoke on the phone for about 45 minutes on Tuesday night, like most every week. It wasn’t just about the Senior Day ceremonies, but the topic came up.
“At first, he said he didn’t know if he was going to walk or not,” Bennett’s father said. “I said, ‘I think you should; I think you deserve it. You’re graduating, and the graduates are doing it. They’re walking.’ So that’s what he’s going to do. “
Bennett will graduate in December with a degree in economics from UGA’s Terry College of Business. What he will do after this season is another question. But Bennett has said repeatedly throughout the year that he simply loves football and wants to play “for as long as I can.”
“He has to make the decision for an adult man,” Bennett’s father said.
Bennett’s decision will have implications for Georgia’s position as a quarterback in the future. He moved into the Bulldogs ’starting game builder after junior JT Daniels went out due to a back injury in the fourth week of the season. Bennett has been the middle man ever since, and the undefeated Georgia has won seven of his matches as he started.
In the home final, Bennett ranks 8th in the quarterback rankings and is fifth (and 1st in the SEC) in yards per pass (9.8 yards). He has also brought more quarterback driving dynamics to Georgia’s attack. He plays an average of 206.4 yards and 10.1 yards per game.
Meanwhile, Daniels has only played three offensive games for the Bulldogs since he was cleared of his lat muscle tension on October 17th. All series were born after Georgia led Missouri 33-3 in the third quarter on November 6th. Daniels did not play the Bulldogs won last week in Tennessee 41-17.
Georgia has two quarterbacks besides Bennett and Daniels. Second-year student Carson Beck has played in two games this season and freshman Brock Vandagriff took a few clicks in one race. In addition to the three walks, the Bulldogs also have Runner County High quarterback Gunner Stockton. Now a state record holder in career entry yards, Stockton has received 5-star quarterback ratings.
In the era of the transfer portal, some other quarter builders may decide to try their luck elsewhere if they know Bennett is back for the sixth season.
Nevertheless, Bennett’s story has served as an inspiration to many. A former Blackshear walker, this is the second time in his career that he has worked in a starting role in Georgia. Last season, Bennett defeated D’Wan Mathis to start five games before a shoulder injury opened the door for Daniels, who moved from USC.
Daniels won 4-0 against Mississippi State, South Carolina, Missouri and Cincinnati and opened the 2021 season not only as a designated starter, but also according to Las Vegas odds as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Now Bennett, who started the 2021 season as the Bulldogs ’3rd quarterback, is the country’s number one quarterback. And his story serves as an inspiration to many.
This week, Bennett was named one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy. This is an award given annually to the most prominent FBS player who began his career as a walk-on player.
“I am very proud of Stetson; what a great honor, ”Smart said Wednesday. And walk-ons are special because they do it for free. ”When they get that award, they’re on scholarships and have shown everyone is wrong.”
Bennett has certainly done it. A few minutes before Saturday’s game, he has a chance to get recognition for his accomplishments.
“I hope they encourage him when they shout his name,” Bennett’s father said.