Gunner Stockton is going to make a lot of folks happy today. Marquis Groves-Killebrew, the lockdown defensive back commit in the 2022 class, will be smiling big. So will former Rabun County alum Charlie Woerner.
It goes without saying that Buster Faulkner, Todd Monken and Kirby Smart are happy today, too.
But the thought here is that his grandmother Kay Duvall Darnell might have them all beat. Stockton is the youngest of her four grandchildren.
They are all pretty unique young people in their own special ways, but the Rabun County gunslinger can sure tote and sling a football. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB and the No. 27 overall prospect for the 2022 cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
His grandmother didn’t know the secret yet, but she has shared in the past how she might react to his eventual college decision.
“I am a ‘Dawg and would like nothing more than to see him wear red and black but I support him in whatever decision he makes,” Kay Duvall Darnell told DawgNation.
Well, she gets to see that wish go full bloom today. Stockton released his decision on Twitter that he has made what should be seen as his final college decision. He’s the type of old school recruit that would fit better in 1985 or 1995 than 2020.
The choice was hard. Likely the hardest decision he has ever had to make. But he chose to play for Georgia rather than perceived favorite Auburn.
“He has been on Zooms and talking with those two staffs I mean it has been crazy for the last three or four weeks,” his father Rob Stockton said. “It has been a whirlwind for him to say the least.”
What did it all come down to? Conversations. Praying. Always trying to treat people right. There was also the natural instinct still find a way to be no-nonsense about all of it.
“Comfort and stability and relationships with the staff and just the University of Georgia as a whole,” his father Rob Stockton said of the major reasons why his son chose the Bulldogs.
That still didn’t make it easy. When he told Auburn offensive coordinator Mike Bobo about his decision this week, he went to the indoor facility at Rabun County.
Stockton just threw the ball into a net for about 45 minutes. He didn’t want to talk about his commitment when he got home after that. He just went home.
The entire Bobo family is “family” to the Stocktons. That relationship was a large piece in his past commitment to South Carolina. That was before that staff unraveled with the departure of Will Muschamp.
Bobo’s father, George, was the longtime well-respected coach in Georgia high school football. During his retirement, he was the one who really taught Gunner how to spin a football.
“The stress level at our house has been very high,” Rob Stockton said. “We have the utmost respect for the entire Bobo family. The relationship that has grown over the past year with Mike and Gunner is a hard relationship to walk away from. Mike is the ultimate gentleman, competitor and person. We have the utmost respect for him as a family. Those pressures to say no and go in a different direction are not easy. Especially when it is more than just respect but that is love for a big group of people like family.”
“I know Gunner feels like he has turned his back on that group and that’s not the case. But he does love him and he knows what is best for himself and he feels like the University of Georgia and becoming a Bulldog is what is best for him. We’re super excited as a family that he’s got this pressure off of him.”
RELATED: The definitive Gunner Stockton story on DawgNation you have to read today
Gunner Stockton now continues an unrivaled stretch of recruiting the QB position since Kirby Smart took over the program in December of 2015. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
What Georgia is getting in Gunner Stockton
With this decision, the Bulldogs now have seven commitments and a pair of 5-star recruits (Deyon Bouie and Stockton) for the 2022 recruiting cycle. This commitment should be seen as a transformative building block for UGA in the new recruiting class.
It also needs to be viewed as the final Stockton commitment. He wanted to put this burden and tough decision behind him and focus on winning a state championship for Rabun County.
“Gunner wanted to make the right decision here and be done with it,” Rob Stockton said. “He feels confident that he has done that. He’s super excited about it. This is awesome now. Just awesome.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior has already had a brilliant prep career. If he didn’t log another snap, then he’s already etched his name into the roll call of the most prolific and productive passers in Georgia high school football history.
He completed 213 of his 317 attempts last year for 3,128 yards in 14 games. That 67-percent completion rate was good for 45 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The remarkable dual-threat can clock a 4.7 laser in the 40 on grass. Stockton rolled those wheels for 1,581 yards on 191 carries and another 26 touchdowns.
The three-year starter has thrown for 9,518 yards and 122 touchdowns in 40 varsity games. Now add another 3,416 rushing yards and 62 rushing scores to that total. That’s a total touchdown responsibility of 184 times making the band play at Rabun County.
The Wildcats have gone 35-5 over those three years with him under center.
Check out where he already falls in the all-time record books maintained by the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.
- Career passing yards: 8th (4,384 yards away from Trevor Lawrence at No. 1; 3,559 yards away from Deshaun Watson at No. 2.)
- Career passing touchdowns: 3rd (45 away from Lawrence at No. 1; 33 away from Watson at No. 2)
- Career rushing touchdowns: (14 away from being No. 20 all-time)
Duvall saw all of that was on the way. Stockton comes from a family of athletes and achievers. Her son, Rob, was a playmaking safety at Georgia Southern. He’s enshrined in that program’s Hall of Fame and is now the defensive coordinator at Rabun County.
His mother, Sherrie, was a great high school and small college basketball player.
Georgia Stockton, his older sister, is a sophomore leader and sharpshooter on the Presbyterian College women’s basketball team.
“When he was about four years old he attended his cousin’s soccer game with me,” Duvall shared the story with DawgNation. “As he sat watching one of the players on the sidelines goofing off he turned to me and said ‘Grammie that player is not paying attention to his coach and the game.’ I knew then that we were in for some interesting times watching him play sports. And we certainly have and pray to watch him for many years to come.”
Gunner Stockton continues some epic QB recruiting for UGA
Stockton just wants to put his head down now and compete and get better. That’s the same way he will be at UGA. If he’s not playing, then he knows what he needs to do in order to earn playing time in the future.
He’ll look internally. Not to the transfer portal to an easier path to a starting nod at QB. That’s what being the son of competitors and a football coach has instilled in him.
“He just felt he was a priority to his class and was going to be given a proper chance to go compete and play for the University of Georgia,” Rob Stockton said.
That said, the decision here continues what should be an unrivaled streak when it comes to Georgia earning the commitment of one of the nation’s top high school QBs under Kirby Smart. Mark Richt and Bobo, ironically, earn a lot of credit for the first name on this listing, too.
Elite QB recruiting under Kirby Smart
(All rankings from the 247Sports Composite)
- 2016: 5-star Jacob Eason (No. 5 overall)
- 2017: 4-star Jake Fromm (No. 44 overall)
- 2018: 5-star Justin Fields (No. 2 overall)
- 2019: 4-star D’Wan Mathis (No. 311 overall)
- 2020: 4-star Carson Beck (No. 250 overall)
- 2020: 4-star grad transfer Jamie Newman
- 2020: 5-star transfer JT Daniels (No. 16 overall)
- 2021: 5-star Brock Vandagriff (No. 16 overall)
- 2022: 5-star Gunner Stockton (No. 27 overall)
Check out Stockton’s 2020 season highlight reel below. DawgNation will have PLENTY more stories today on this big breaking news from Stockton.
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)