Quarterback issues only add more intrigue around 5-star commit Brock Vandagriff
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Quarterbacks issues only add more intrigue to 5-star commit Brock Vandagriff
If Georgia fans were hoping to see a new look at quarterback after the Florida debacle, they won’t get it on Saturday, as Georgia’s game against Missouri was postponed due to COVID-19.
As of Tuesday evening, it looked like JT Daniels was in the driver’s seat to replace an injured Stetson Bennett. The Bulldogs will now wait another week before sorting out the quarterback position for 2020.
But if you’re one that is looking for something positive from the Georgia quarterback position, you did get some glimmer of hope of what a better future might look like as 5-star quarterback commit Brock Vandagriff dropped a bunch of his highlights and top plays from his senior season on his Hudl page.
Through eight games, Vandagriff has looked every bit like the 5-star quarterback he is, as the Bogart, Ga., native has thrown for 26 touchdowns while adding another 10 on the ground. He’s also led Prince Avenue Chrisitan Academy to a 7-1 record, with the lone defeat coming against 5-star quarterback Gunner Stockton.
And in case you’re wondering about his physical readiness, he also showed off what he can do in the weight room this week as well.
Been a long time comin!!! Thank you God! 5 lbs. from school record. 🌊 #315 pic.twitter.com/r7PLssq5eP
— brock 🌊 (@BrockVandagriff) November 13, 2020
At the moment, the No. 13 overall player in the 2021 recruiting cycle isn’t too focused on the Georgia quarterback battle. His attention is on leading his team to its first state championship in school history.
When Vandagriff committed to Georgia back in January, it brought a big sigh of relief as far as the future of the quarterback position. He had initially been committed to Oklahoma, handpicked by Lincoln Riley to be the Sooners’ quarterback of the future. That he was Riley’s first choice for quarterback in the 2021 recruiting cycle should say a lot about Vandagriff’s ability and potential.
And given the struggles Georgia has had at quarterback this season, there will likely be a strong desire for Vandagriff to display that talent early next season. One only has to see what Trevor Lawrence or Tua Tagovailoa did as freshmen — of the 5-star variety we might point out — to see the long-term value that comes with having a successful and dynamic young quarterback.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart hasn’t hesitated in the past to play a young quarterback. He started 5-star freshman Jacob Eason for 12 games in the 2016 season. When Eason got hurt and missed three games in the 2017 season, Smart went with freshman Jake Fromm. When Eason came back healthy, Smart kept starting Fromm.
Even this year, Georgia started redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis in the opening game of the season, though he was ultimately replaced by junior Stetson Bennett when Mathis struggled.
But the first potential test for Vandagriff or whoever starts for Georgia will be significantly harder than what past quarterbacks have had to start the season against. That’s because as of right now the Bulldogs are scheduled to open the 2021 slate against Clemson.
The Tigers in all likelihood will be without Trevor Lawrence, as he seems poised to be the first player taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. But Clemson is well stocked at the position. The last two weeks the Tigers started freshman DJ Uiagalelei, a 5-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle. His performance only fuels the demands of fans to play 5-star freshman quarterbacks, as he’s thrown for 781 yards and four touchdowns against Boston College and Notre Dame.
Whether or not Vandagriff is the guy for Georgia in 2021 will be played out over the next offseason in addition to final games of the 2020 season. How Daniels, Bennett, Mathis or Carson Beck look the rest of the year will factor into how much ground the young quarterback has to make up.
Even if Vandagriff doesn’t start right away, Georgia still needs him to be the future of the position. And really the entire program. That could come in 2021, but it certainly needs to be the case in 2022 and 2023 for Georgia.
One only has to look at the success of the last 5-star quarterback Georgia signed out of high school — Justin Fields — to see the value in that kind of talent developing and thriving.
Smart was asked this week about what his recruiting message was and whether or not that changes after losing to a rival like Florida. He made it clear that wins and losses do not change how he goes about selling the Georgia program.
“If you choose to come here, you’re going to do things the right way.’ We’re going to demand discipline, toughness,” Smart said. “We’re going to play really hard and hope they don’t bust coverages and hope they don’t make mistakes and turn the ball over, and we’re going to try to win big games.
“We believe in developing the total player, and that’s what we sell.”
That last line is perhaps the most important when it comes to Vandagriff. He’s clearly got talent as evidenced by his loft recruiting ranking, stellar high school stats and one-time Oklahoma commitment.
For Georgia to get back to where it wants to be — among the elite teams in the sport — it needs Vandagriff to develop into the best version of himself. And the sooner that happens, the better for Georgia.
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