KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Desmond Howard has been impressed with Georgia football so far, but he says ‘pump the breaks’ on Heisman Hype surrounding Stetson Bennett.
Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and one of the stars of ESPN’s College GameDay, was one of many who predicted the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs would take a “step back” after losing 15 NFL Draft picks, and correctly assumed more pressure would be on Bennett.
Bennett has responded with a 3-0 start and is currently fourth among the Heisman Trophy favorites according to Las Vegas odds.
Howard, in full transparency, wants to see more from the former walk-on quarterback.
“I’m just not a guy to prop people up to join my fraternity because they have a couple of good games,” Howard said during an appearance in Knoxville the day before Tennessee plays host to Florida with the ESPN College GameDay cast present.
“To me, is he a Davey O’Brien Trophy winner right now?” Howard said. “It’s amazing how people prop these players up and they may not even be the best at their position, but yet they always want to usher them into the fraternity I’m a member of. So I’m like, pump your brakes, hold on.”
Rece Davis, who hosts ESPN College GameDay, raved about Bennett during his interview in Knoxville on Friday.
“He’s not some fancy little cute story, he’s a baller, and people might as well get used to it,” Davis said, pointing out that Bennett has already joined Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel as the only SEC players in history to pass for 250 yards and rush for a TD in three straight games.
“You can not like him because he was a zero star, you can not like him because he went to community college, you can not like him because the offensive coordinator and the head coach didn’t want him to be the quarterback for a while, (but) the dude is good, he can play.”
As for Georgia’s national championship hopes, Howard left the door open.
“I think we have a lot of football left to be played, they’ve looked really great against subpar competition, but I give teams credit for doing what they’re supposed to do,” Howard said.
“Because we’ve also seen teams that have been called so-called juggernauts, but when playing against a lesser opponent, they play down to the opponent’s level and win the game, but not impressively.
“So I give Georgia all the credit in the world for doing what they are supposed to do against the opponents that they’ve played.”
Davis said he sees the Bulldogs among the top three teams in the country.
“It’s only three weeks now so things can change, but there’s a big gap in my judgment from the top three and the rest of the country,” Davis said. “But there’s also a gap, a smaller one, from the way they play between Georgia and Ohio State and Alabama.
“It’s not a big one, but there is a gap there.”