ATHENS — Georgia has won back-to-back national championships. And it could have back-to-back Heisman Trophy finalists if ESPN’s Mark Schlabach’s prediction ends up holding true.
Schlabach predicted that Georgia quarterback Carson Beck will be in New York, a year after Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett made the trip.
“Beck attempted only 35 passes as a backup last season, and he has the unenviable task of replacing Stetson Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to consecutive national championships,” Schlabach wrote. “While Beck lacks Bennett’s mobility, he does have a stronger arm. He’s also going to benefit from something Bennett didn’t have: a deep and talented receiver corps.”
Beck was named Georgia’s starting quarterback on Saturday by head coach Kirby Smart. He beat out Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton to win the job.
Smart explained why Beck was able to win the job for the Bulldogs.
“When you get down to a game plan week and say well, we’re going take this 65 percent of our offense and our defense only really does so much, you’re not asking the quarterback to make as many decisions,” Smart said. “But Carson is very knowledgeable, very intelligent, one of the smartest quarterbacks I’ve been around when it comes to handling the volume of offense we want him to do.”
Beck is in his fourth year at Georgia, and his next start will be his first at Georgia. He served as Georgia’s backup quarterback last season behind Bennett, who led Georgia to another national championship.
Bennett was Georgia’s first Heisman Trophy finalist since Garrison Hearst in 1992. The Georgia quarterback finished in Heisman voting last season, behind Caleb Williams of USC, Max Duggan of TCU and CJ Stroud of Ohio State.
Bennett set the single-season Georgia passing record a season ago while throwing for 27 touchdown passes and rushing for 10 touchdowns. Beck won’t post the same rushing numbers, but with Brock Bowers, Ladd McConkey, Dominic Lovett and others to throw to, Georgia should have one of the most potent passing offenses in the sport.
Beck completed 26 of his 35 pass attempts last season for 310 yards and 4 touchdowns. He followed that up by completing 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 210 yards and a touchdown in Georgia’s spring game. Those performances gave Beck a leg up over Vandagriff and Stockton, who have not yet completed a pass in a game yet.
Vandagriff and Stockton are still battling it out to back-up Beck. The Bulldogs will have a handful of practices this week before shifting into game-week mode as they prepare for the 2023 season opener. Georgia takes on UT-Martin on Sept. 2.