UGA celebrated one of its most stunning recruiting victories in years when 5-star quarterback Gunner Stockton committed to the Bulldogs on Thursday.
Perhaps most surprisingly — at least to the outside recruiting world — was that Stockton, who is a rising high school senior, pledged to Bulldogs in the recruiting class immediately after Brock Vandagriff, another 5-star quarterback who enrolled at UGA earlier this month.
The back-to-back haul of 5-star quarterbacks is rare, and it had some UGA fans reminiscing on the team’s highly-publicized woes in having Jake Fromm and Justin Fields join the Bulldogs in successive years.
I don’t think it’s fair to compare Stockton-Vandagriff to Fromm-Fields, and here’s why:
When Fields was the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect coming out of high school, he made the curious decision to join UGA the season after Jake Fromm was the quarterback for a Bulldogs team that reached the national championship game.
Georgia made it that far thanks to an all-star backfield of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, three future NFL first-rounders on the offensive line, and a veteran defense led by Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith.
Nevertheless, it was a curious recruiting decision by Fields, considering Fromm’s role as a freshman. As great as Fields is – and he’s truly a superstar talent – it was always going to be an uphill battle because Fromm had such a head start in game experience.
Fields has never spoken publicly about what was the exact moment during that fateful 2018 season when he knew was headed to the NCAA transfer portal (In fact, Fields has never said any ill words about in his time with the Bulldogs, in general – which must be pointed out to the Fields haters).
But I suspect that moment likely occurred in the second half of UGA’s blowout loss at LSU during the regular season. Fromm was struggling mightily, the team needed some type of spark, and Fields was glued to the sideline, per coach’s decision.
If Fields had been given that second half of the LSU game or a more vital role in other games, would he have eventually beat out Fromm? We’ll never know. But the fact that Fields was a Heisman finalist in his first year as a starter (at Ohio State) makes you think it was possible.
Back to Stockton-Vandagriff: Even though Vandagriff is a year ahead of Stockton at UGA, it is unlikely Vandagriff will see a significant role with the Bulldogs next season, barring an unforeseen injury to JT Daniels. And even if that happens, you have two other quarterbacks, Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett, standing in the way.
So unlike Fromm and Fields, Stockton and Vandagriff – along with Beck – will likely start off on equal footing for the No. 1 job heading into the 2022 season.
It should be a fun thing to watch.
This is one of the many things for UGA fans to be excited about, regarding the future of the Bulldogs.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Gunner Stockton: Assessing the seismic impact this commitment will have on the 2022 class
- Gunner Stockton: The must-read stories on the 5-star who will ‘unleash hell’ on the field
- Top 2022 recruits take notice of Gunner Stockton’s UGA commitment
- Brock Vandagriff: His QB trainer worked with Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence
- Brock Vandagriff: A pair of key “Building Brock” stories about the 5-star UGA signee
- Brock Vandagriff: How he overcame a serious knee injury to be a state champion
- Brock Vandagriff is officially a Georgia Bulldog
- 5-star quarterback Gunner Stockton decommits from South Carolina