ATHENS — Georgia freshman quarterback Brock Vandagriff answered the initial question that, yes, his athleticism absolutely translates to the SEC level.
Coach Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken already knew that, of course, or they wouldn’t have signed the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Vandagriff out of Georgia’s tiny Single-A private school ranks.
To be clear, Vandagriff’s school, Prince Avenue Christian, is considered among the powerhouse programs in Georgia. The Wolverines finished ranked 13th state-wide by MaxPreps after winning their classification’s respective state championship.
Vandagriff, himself, carried a 5-star ranking and was once committed to Oklahoma.
It would have been bigger news if Vandagriff didn’t look the part for the Bulldogs in Saturday’s G-Day Game.
But seeing a local standout like Vandagriff wearing the Georgia gear was still a rush for many, as he’s quickly become a fan favorite with well-documented wondrous weightlifting workout routines.
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Vandagriff entered the game on the Black Team’s third series and completed a 17-yard pass to Steven Peterson on his first play. Then it was a 5-yard pass to Kendall Milton, and then a 13-yard run by Vandagriff.
That run, it’s worth noting, was the longest from scrimmage for either team.
Vandagriff was making it look easy, and he completed two more passes before finally having the sort of freshman moment that’s to be expected in a first-ever public scrimmage — a snap going between his hands.
Vandagriff was unable to recover the fumble, and the Black Team lost possession at the Red Team’s 36-yard line, and veteran Stetson Bennett came off the bench to use that momentum to lead a game-tying TD drive.
Second-year quarterback Carson Beck took the vast majority of the snaps for the Black Team the rest of the afternoon, looking more fluid and aware running the offense than young Vandagriff.
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But that is also how it is supposed to be when a quarterback has a year’s worth of experience in the Pro-Style offense, versus the previous few months Vandagriff has had to take it all in.
Quarterback JT Daniels complimented Vandagriff along with Beck and Bennett for preparing like a starter and explained that learning Monken’s system is no easy task for any newcomer.
“When you’re coming from high school football to a real Coach Monken NFL system to college,” Daniels, said, “there’s a shock that hits you right away, because there’s so much to it.”
Vandagriff, while looking somewhat limited, did not appear shocked going 6-for-9 passing for 47 yards.
It’s too early to tell if or when Vandagriff will settle into this offense and how the quarterback room will play out moving forward.
It’s apparent Beck made significant progress in the past year and Bennett earned Smart’s trust in 2020.
But there’s a reason UGA signed Vandagriff, and while his beginning on Saturday was somewhat modest, it was nonetheless impressive for what it was.
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“Top to bottom, I certainly feel really good about all four of them,” Smart said, asked about the tremendous depth of talent in the Georgia QB room. “I do not know that I could ever say that I had four that I was confident about. These four, I feel really good about. I think they are good football players. I think they are bright, they are intelligent, they challenge themselves.
“It is hard to compare it to other years. We have certainly had a talented quarterback room before, but with four guys you feel good about, it is hard to have that in college football.”