Stetson Bennett told reporters after his performance against Oregon that it was probably the best game he had played as a Georgia Bulldog. He threw for a career-best 368 passing yards and added three touchdowns. Every drive he led ended in a touchdown for Georgia as the Bulldogs rolled to a 49-3 victory.
And the performance has people in both NFL and college football circles re-thinking how Bennett should be seen.
While appearing on the Ryen Russillo Podcast, Trent Dilfer went as far to say that Bennett has legitimate NFL prospects, comparing him to a pair of NFL quarterbacks in terms of skillset
“He’s awesome. Stetson Bennett is Chase Daniel,” Dilfer said. “Stetson is twitchier. I think he’ll be drafted as a backup. Now he might be able to earn it. He’s got some (Tony) Romo in him. Romo again, thicker, a little bit taller. But who is to say Stetson can’t get bigger?”
Dilfer knows a thing or two about quarterbacks, given he won a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. He also helps run the Elite 11, giving him first-hand access to pretty much every talented prep quarterback over the past decade.
Russillo noted a change and improvement in Bennett’s play in the win over Oregon. In Bennett’s last three games against Michigan, Oregon and Alabama, he’s accounted for eight touchdowns and just one turnover. Most importantly, Georgia won all three of those contests and all were against teams with multiple NFL-level defenders.
While some might bristle at the notion of Bennett playing in the NFL, Dilfer made an interesting comparison to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
“I don’t think Stetson really gets affected by anything I do, you do or anybody does,” Smart said following Saturday’s game. “Stetson lives in his own world, and he does a really good job of blocking out all the noise. The guy had a flip phone, okay, in 2021. He doesn’t really get into all that. I think that’s what his kind of edge is, and he made some plays that he didn’t make the right decisions on today, and he knows those. He knows his mistakes.”
It’s a positive for the Bulldogs that Bennett doesn’t get rattled or nervous by the additional praise, as his recent change in the Heisman Trophy odds suggest he has a very credible shot of winning college football’s highest individual honor.
Prior to the start of the season, some sportsbooks had Bennett as a 100-to-1 long shot to win the award. After the Oregon win, Bennett now sits with 19-to-1 odds to win the award according to MyBookie. That puts him ahead of names such as Will Anderson and Bijan Robinson. Only Young, CJ Stroud and Caleb Williams have better odds.
Bennett isn’t likely to care too much about the individual accolades or attention he receives. He’s had a lot of practice in blocking it out, given all the criticism he faced in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
For now, Bennett is looking to take things one play at a time and continue to play both within the Georgia offense and smart as well.
“I came, I performed whenever it was my turn, and now like hey, you sit behind me for a year and then next year it’s going to be your turn,” Bennett said. That’s kind of the program that Coach Smart is building. It’s about the program. I think we understand that.