Gunner Stockton has not yet thrown a pass for Georgia. He did not travel to South Carolina last week, as the Bulldogs opted to only bring three quarterbacks with them to Columbia, S.C.
But the freshman quarterback is still finding a way to make an impact on this Georgia team. It happens to come on the scout team, where he’s getting reps and making things absolutely miserable for the Georgia defense.
“Gunner’s incredible,” safety Dan Jackson said. “He exposes us every day on defense. He can sling it and he can expose us with his feet. I think he gives one of the greatest looks I’ve seen on the scout team.”
Stockton’s time for him on scout team has slowed things down for the young quarterback. He’s not having to memorize verbiage and possesses a complete grasp of Todd Monken’s playbook.
Most of the time, it’s just looking at a play on a card and going out and executing it. He’s done a pretty good job of that according to Jackson and head coach Kirby Smart.
“There’s no thought process. There’s no, ‘I have to say this, I have to do this.’ You take the robot out and you play,” Smart said. “He’s played well on the scout team. A lot of the kids who came over there, there’s no pressure because you are not in trouble if you mess up.”
Smart also raved about Stockton’s arm talent. The quarterback from Tiger, Ga., is a true dual-threat quarterback, something Georgia valued greatly while recruiting him.
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Stetson Bennett is the clear No. 1 quarterback option for Georgia. He’s a Heisman Trophy candidate and has the Bulldogs sitting as the No. 1 ranked team in the country at this point in time.
But Stockton’s development is still worth keeping tabs on, even if he isn’t yet QB1. Bennett is in his final year of eligibility and will not be Georgia’s starting quarterback next season.
Stockton will compete with Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff to be Georgia’s starting quarterback next season. Beck is the clear No. 2 quarterback at this point, taking snaps in the third quarter of each game so far. He’s completed 15 of his 19 pass attempts for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He understands our system,” Smart said. “He’s got a lot of work. He’s intelligent. He understands what the defense is doing. He understands his protections. He knows where to go with the ball. He’s accurate. He’s done a nice job with the opportunity he’s been given.”
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Vandagriff is 0 for 2 on pass attempts so far but he has gotten far few in-game reps. All three quarterbacks have earned praise so from Smart as they’ve continued to make progress in both game and practice.