What we learned about Georgia’s current and future quarterbacks this weekend
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What we learned about Georgia’s quarterbacks with less than two weeks until season-opener
While the SEC didn’t play this weekend, most of the sport did. Clemson looked like Clemson against Wake Forest. Iowa State got upset by Louisiana-Lafayette. Georgia Tech somehow managed to beat Florida State. This was a real college football weekend and hopefully the first of many.
For Georgia, it has less than two weeks until it takes the field against Arkansas on Sept. 26. There is only one Saturday left between Georgia and the start of the college football season.
The biggest question for Georgia still exists at the quarterback position. But after this past weekend, where the Bulldogs had a closed-door scrimmage, we’ve learned quite a few things about the quarterbacks on this team. With DawgNation also on hand to watch Brock Vandagriff take on Gunner Stockton, it was a very busy weekend for the Georgia quarterback room for the 2020 season and beyond.
We’ll start with Mathis, as it looks more and more like he’s going to be Georgia’s starting quarterback. According to those who got a chance to watch the scrimmage, Mathis got the majority of reps with the first team, including the start of the scrimmage.
Per DawgNation’s Mike Griffith, Mathis continued to build off a strong week of practice, with this performance being the best of his three in the scrimmages this month.
Aaron Murray, the record-setting former Georgia quarterback, was also on hand to watch the scrimmage and shared some of his thoughts on Mathis in a video that has since been deleted.
“I thought he looked really comfortable in the system,” Murray said. “He’s a kid with a lot of upside: big arm, athletic, he showed that both inside the pocket, outside the pocket and had some great runs in the first half as well.”
The potential with Mathis has always been there, with his cannon arm and track speed. Now with more reps, it seems he’s beginning to show the consistency needed to lead the position for Georgia. Mathis hooked up with freshman wide receiver Jermaine Burton which was the highlight of the scrimmage and something Georgia is going to need a lot more of this season.
Earlier this fall, offensive coordinator Todd Monken said the three most important traits to him were accuracy, mental toughness and athleticism. Of Georgia’s quarterbacks, he’s easily the best athlete. Given he missed the 2019 season due to brain surgery, we can say he’s got the mental toughness aspect taken care of. If he continues to show improved accuracy, Mathis will check all the boxes that Monken is looking for in a quarterback.
Daniels was a little more limited in this scrimmage, with his role mostly confined to situational work.
The most pressing question to this point about Daniels seems to be his health. Per Kirby Smart’s last update, the USC transfer has still not been cleared to play in-game action, which is a higher threshold than practicing with the team. Daniels tore his ACL in USC’s first game of the 2019 season, which took place more than a year ago at this point.
While Smart has expected Daniels to be cleared, with it being so close to the start of the season it does make sense to limit Daniels’ role in the offense at this point. Things likely would’ve been different if Daniels had been cleared. But Georgia needs to have other quarterbacks prepared in the event Daniels isn’t ready to go.
Perhaps the most head-turning performance came from Beck, who Murray said had the best day of any quarterback.
“Big, strong arm, he, just like D’Wan, made plays inside and outside the pocket,” Murray said. “So he’s someone I’m interested in watching these next couple of years, how his development takes off within the system”
Beck reportedly worked mostly with the two’s, as has been the case for most of camp. Much like Mathis, it seems like Beck is benefitting from a less crowded quarterback room. At this point, it doesn’t like Beck will be the guy to start this season but as Murray alludes to, he figures to be a significant factor in the quarterback discussion in years to come. Beck has flashed throughout the scrimmages, which is what you want to see for a player learning the rigors of the college game for the first time.
Beck signed with Georgia as a member of the 2020 class as a 4-star recruit. At one point during the recruiting cycle, he was ranked as top-100 prospect but slid to the No. 250 in the final 247Sports Composite rankings after a less than stellar senior season. But his junior year saw him lead his high school to a state championship in Florida’s highest classification. If he can look more like that player, it won’t be long until he’s running with the first team and pushing for the starting quarterback job
Vandagriff got to play in front of a national audience on Friday night as his team took on Gunner Stockton and Rabun County on ESPNU. There was some good from Vandagriff, such as leading his team back from a 31-7 deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
But it wasn’t a perfect outing. Vandagriff threw three interceptions to cancel out the three touchdowns he threw. The first of his three picks was the worst, as it led to a short field and field goal from Rabun County just before halftime. He threw for 198 yards on the night and did make a handful of impressive plays to get his team back in the game.
Vandagriff is a very fluid athlete and looked comfortable throwing on the move. Prince Avenue Chrisitan plays in a smaller classification and it was evident that Rabun County had a slightly more talented team.
So it’s a credit to Vandagriff and his team that they were able to claw back into a game against Stockton and company. The 2022 5-star quarterback had the better statistical night as he scored 5 touchdowns and threw just one interception. Most of that work though came on the ground as he ran for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
Stockton was the better football player, but Vandagriff looked like the better quarterback on Friday. Stockton is committed to South Carolina and should he and Vandagriff continue to honor those commitments, there’s a strong chance that this was the first of many matchups between the two quarterbacks.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- DN90: Amid SEC transfer drama, former UGA safety Otis Reese asks for chance to play
- Aaron Murray: Freshman Carson Beck ‘looked the best of all the quarterbacks’
- Georgia jumped by Oklahoma in Week 1 Coaches, AP Polls
- NFL opens 2020 with 51 former Georgia football players on rosters
- WATCH: UGA could be on the verge of historic defense in 2020
- Jeremy Pruitt says Tennessee transfer plea ‘not just about Cade (Mays)’
- James Cook excited to play in new Todd Monken offense after impressive offseason
- Ben Cleveland: Georgia football quarterback competition ‘creates a good vibe on the team’
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