ATHENS — It was pretty clear from Carson Beck’s first interview at Georgia to see the early enrollee quarterback is confident and ready to lead.
The Bulldogs have four scholarship quarterbacks lined up looking to fill Jake Fromm’s shoes in a new offense and compensate for the noteworthy leadership void the three-time SEC East title-winning QB left behind.
Graduate transfer Jamie Newman is considered by most the favorite to win the job.
But Beck, redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, and redshirt junior Stetson Bennett have no intention of yielding.
That’s the way it should be. Quarterback and leadership roles are intertwined, no matter the offense, program, or level of football.
Georgia likes to refer to itself as a player-led team in each position group. While that’s true, the quarterback position remains the most pivotal in any championship drive and requires a true Alpha.
Here are three observations from Beck’s GeorgiaDogs.com interview session with D.J. Shockley and fellow early enrollees:
There are different levels of confidence, and it’s clear the hurdles Beck overcame in Florida’s highest high school classification level at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville left him battle-tested.
Winning the Class 8A state championship as a junior was one thing, but it was what came next that steeled Beck.
“From my junior to my senior season my whole style of game changed,” Beck said, explaining how a great amount of attrition after his junior season made him become more of a playmaker as a senior.
“Throughout the course of my senior season, I had to learn how to escape the pocket, go get yards, make people miss, all that type of stuff. So I feel like really anything that coach asks me to do I can go out there and accomplish it.”
James Coley was the Georgia OC when Beck was signed, but the change to Todd Monken has done nothing to shake Beck’s confidence and could actually be a better fit for him.
When Beck was asked about his quick transition from high school to the University of Georgia, his answer reflected a group mindset — the sort that comes natural to a leader who knows how to rally those around him.
“It’s definitely been easier with all of us coming in together earlier,” Beck said. “It would definitely be a lot different if I just came in early all by myself.
“But we’ve kind of helped each other out and helped find our way around, and kind of get used to the whole process of this.”
Beck, it seems, knows how to rally a room and understands the importance of his role.
“I feel like a lot of people look up to me and I don’t say that in a cocky way, but I’m the quarterback and people naturally gravitate towards the quarterback,” Beck said in a 1010XL Radio interview entering his senior year of high school at Mandarin.
“You’re the guy in the huddle calling the play and making the adjustment, so if I bring the energy myself, I feel like that will bring everybody else up and help the team be better.”
Part of Fromm’s success was the unmistakable air of poise he plays with, seemingly always under control, it came so natural for No. 11 all the way back to his Little League World Series days.
Georgia teammates fed off Fromm’s confidence throughout his first 2 1/2 seasons, having seen him come through time and time again in the clutch and lead the team to the brink of a national title.
Beck was a baseball star, too, once a Florida baseball commitment before deciding on football. And, like Fromm, Beck was also once an Alabama football commit.
Beck is obviously nowhere near as accomplished as Fromm on the football field, and he has only a couple of bowl practices with the scout team to his credit.
But he’s itching to show his teammates what he’s all about as an athlete, and he jokingly let them know that he’s ready to show them on the basketball court when they are ready.
“Y’all laughing at me, you don’t know I’m a hooper,” Beck, a former AAU basketball player, said during the Shockley interview. “They ain’t seen me yet, and they don’t want to see me … None of you all are shooting like me. None of you all.”
It was a playful but telling moment. The competition is going to be real this spring.
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