Another UGA backup quarterback announces transfer

Walk-on Matthew Downing is leaving UGA for TCU. He was the No. 3 QB for 2018

Justin Fields isn’t the only UGA quarterback transferring after the season.

Matthew Downing, a rising sophomore who was a walk-on (not on scholarship) and served as the third-string quarterback for the Bulldogs this past season, announced on Twitter on Wednesday night that he is transferring to TCU. It was unclear whether or not he would be on scholarship at TCU.

At UGA this past season, Downing served as the No. 3 quarterback behind both starter Jake Fromm and Fields. The 6-foot, 195-pounder from Alpharetta, Ga., saw mop-up duty in four games for the Bulldogs in 2018.

Despite Fields leaving for Ohio State last month, Downing was likely competing for the No. 4 or No. 5 QB job at UGA for the 2019 season.

In the early signing period, the Bulldogs flipped 4-star Dwan Mathis from Ohio State and signed junior-college transfer Stetson Bennett. Mathis is a 6-foot-6, 200-pounder who has outstanding potential but is very raw and will likely need a couple of years to develop on the collegiate level. Bennett is a 6-foot, 180-pounder and put up average stats at Jones County (Miss.) junior college this past season. However, Bennett got rave reviews from UGA players for running the scout team as a walk-on quarterback for the Bulldogs during the 2017 season.

Back to UGA’s quarterback situation for 2019: The Bulldogs also a have a commitment from John Rhys Plumlee, a 4-star from Hattiesburg, Miss. However, Plumlee told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell that he has been asked by the Bulldogs to delay his enrolled as a “blueshirt.” Plumlee also recently took an official visit to Mississippi State.

Opinion: I have no inside information and I have heard no rumors, but I just can’t see UGA going into 2019 with the key backups at QB being unproven freshmen and a former walk-on. The Bulldogs will likely be No. 3 or No. 4 in every preseason poll, and an easy favorite to contend for the national title. They are loaded. Jake Fromm is an outstanding college quarterback, and UGA will be very, very strong as long as Fromm stays healthy. But if Fromm gets hurt, the Bulldogs are obviously extremely vulnerable. For those reasons, it is my guess — and let me stress “guess” — that the Bulldogs will try to add a transfer quarterback before the season. Someone low profile, but a guy who has some level of collegiate experience and will fully understand that they will only play if Fromm is out. I don’t have any candidates off the top of my head. But I just feel like there’s just way too much as stake for UGA next season to not have some experienced depth at QB (Fromm goes down, season’s over). Maybe I’m wrong. Thoughts?

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