ATHENS — Brett Thorson doesn’t get to go home for Christmas. Being from Australia and having to ship off to a bowl or College Football Playoff game shortly after means he usually spends the holidays with someone else.

This past Christmas, he went home with his now roommate, Gunner Stockton.

“The Stocktons are awesome and Gunner himself is funny. He comes across pretty quiet, very very humble as a person,” Thorson said. “Anyone on the team would say, if they are going to let their sister date someone, they would probably choose Gunner.”

Stockton’s humility is far from his only positive attribute. The redshirt sophomore quarterback saw his first extended action in Georgia’s 63-3 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. He completed 6 of his 10 pass attempts for 96 yards, throwing for 2 touchdowns as well. He added 46 rushing yards, flashing his mobility and athleticism.

The opportunity to play came after Brock Vandagriff transferred to Kentucky. Stockton is expected to be Georgia’s backup quarterback for the 2024 season, a role previously held by Vandagriff.

“It has been good seeing him get the reps with Brock transferring out,” Thorson said. “So his reps go up, which is good to see. He’s been out there slinging it. He’s a good dude.”

Head coach Kirby Smart gave a more eloquent update on Stockton’s progress this spring. Carson Beck is entrenched as the starter for Georgia but freshman Ryan Puglisi has been dealing with a knee injury that has limited his availability.

The Georgia quarterback got a chance to show what he could do in front of NFL scouts as he threw to Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint. Spring practice has given Smart and the Georgia offensive staff an even longer look at what Stockton’s abilities and talents.

“Gunner has done a good job. I’ve seen growth in Gunner,” Smart said. “I thought he had a couple of mistakes in the scrimmage but he also played with much more consistency. I’ve seen this progression with Gunner that like, he’s getting better each and every practice. The bowl practices were great for him. The ability to play in that bowl game was awesome for him.”

Stockton isn’t expected to unseat Beck, just as Beck was never going to take the starting job away from Stetson Bennett during Beck’s third season in the Georgia program.

Beck unquestionably got better while functioning as Georgia’s backup quarterback. The hope is that Stockton can grow in a similar manner so that perhaps this time next year, he’s the quarterback taking first-team reps for the Bulldogs.

“He’s gotten better. He’s getting a feel for our system. He’s a really good athlete,” Smart said. “He has, every now and then, a mistake you can’t have at that position. The good thing is, you can ask him after the play, and I always ask him what did you see, what was the coverage? He gives the right answer.

“So he’s seeing the right things. But he’s got to continue to develop and grow. That’s a hard position to play. He’s still trying to master that position.”

Brett Thorson tells great story about Gunner Stockton