Blackshear cements ‘saga’ of Stetson Bennett; Georgia QB indifferent to newfound fame

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett honored in Blackshear

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was back in his hometown of Blackshear on Sunday, the star attraction of Pierce County’s first-ever Champions Parade.

Bennett, the MVP of the Bulldogs’ 33-18 College Football Championship Game win over Alabama on Jan. 10, shared he’s still coming to grips with the magnitude of the program’s first national title in 41 years.

RELATED: Bennett says returning to Georgia before 2021 ‘one of the hardest decisions’ he made

But the Pierce County celebration on Sunday —which also honored local state championship teams from 10-and-under teams, to high school seniors — held a particularly significant place in Bennett’s heart.

“It’s special because I know that a lot of the fanfare that I receive from playing for Georgia and the national championship, a lot of it, a lot of people are looking for something,” Bennett said.

“But I know that everybody here from my hometown, they are just doing it because they are proud of me and proud of one of their own. And they’d do it for anybody that was from here.”

Bennett is rightfully proud of Blackshear, a town of 3,506 in Southeastern Georgia, where he was raised and learned his ways.

“I thank God was I was raised in a town like this, and a community like this, where the values don’t sway if you win a football game or not,” Bennett said. “So I try to be the same person day in and day out, and lead by example.”

Bennett made it clear, he’s not interested in front runners.

“If somebody comes out of the woodwork and wants to act like they are my best friend now,” Bennett said, I tell them ‘no.’ "

The focus is football, not fame, for the 24-year-old Bennett.

“Like I said, growing up, being raised the right way, you just don’t let that affect you,” Bennett said, asked about his newfound fame and seeing his face adorn magazine covers. “It doesn’t really matter. It’s cool, but if it all stops tomorrow, who I am doesn’t rise and fall with my magazine picture.

“It gets a little old sometimes, but that comes with it.”

Bennett said he was moved to tears after being named the collegiate player of the year by the Savannah Quarterback Club and presented with a Stetson hat at the Sunday ceremony.

“Y’all got my crying,” Bennett said.

Being from a small town, Bennett said, gives him an edge and provides added fuel.

“When you come from a place like this, where everyone knows your name, you learn that things aren’t given to you,” Bennett said, asked what he learned from his experiences in Pierce County. “You have to be stubborn, sometimes you have to be a little stupid.

“I think I learned the concept of a team, over the importance of an individual early on, and I think this place helped out with that,” he said. “When you know everybody, it adds extra incentive, because you want to make those folks feel proud.”

Accepting the key to the city of Blackshear on Sunday was evidence that Bennett has indeed done just that.

Other Stetson Bennett stories from Mike Griffith

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