Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett doesn’t need anyone to name him the 2022 starter to assume an offseason leadership mindset.
Bennett, the CFP Championship Game Offensive MVP, is a man among boys, a sixth-year senior who turns 25 in October, per his father.
It was clear during Bennett’s press conference in his hometown of Blackshear on Sunday that he’s eager to foster growth in the young Bulldogs’ offense.
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“Just throwing routes when all these cameras are gone” Bennett said at his hometown ceremony, “and these boys will learn how to get better at football.”
First things first, Bennett had to decide he was returning to Georgia himself.
Bennett said the day after the CFP title game that his decision to return would come down to his ability to “trust the decisions that are made by the staff.”
The Bulldogs have a deep quarterback room, and Smart has not been shy about juggling the depth chart right up until kickoff.
It’s hard to know what assurances, if any, Bennett was given that led him to return for another season.
But Smart has typically not named a starting quarterback in the spring, and the seventh-year head coach hasn’t tipped his hand as to how things will play out this spring.
In addition to Bennett, UGA has third-year quarterback Carson Beck, redshirt freshman Brock Vandagriff and incoming freshman Gunner Stockton.
Conventional suggests Beck or Vandagriff could look to transfer after spring drills, depending on the direction of the offense.
For now, the QB room appears set. The Bulldogs were unsuccessful in their hot — but brief — pursuit of Oklahoma transfer Caleb Williams.
Bennett said on Sunday that playing quarterback for the Bulldogs is “the best job in the world.”
It’s why he chose to stay last summer, making what he said was one of the hardest decisions of his life, exited the 2021 spring drills No. 3 on the depth chart.
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Bennett was vague when asked about the timing of his most recent decision to return.
“I don’t know, I don’t have an exact date, but I always had a general idea,” Bennett said on the WTOC video.
“I didn’t have an offseason last year with the guys, and this year I will, so it’s exciting.”
JT Daniels, who entered the NCAA transfer portal earlier this month, shared time with receivers in Southern California after the players finished spring drills last May.
Now it’s Bennett’s time to be an offseason leader and tutor the other quarterbacks, in addition to spending off-field time with the receivers and linemen.
Bennett, no doubt, sounds ready.
“I’m excited for AD (Adonai Mitchell), who caught the, we’ll call it the game-winning touchdown, going into his second year,” Bennett said. “I’m excited to see Brock (Bowers), I”m excited to see Ladd (McConkey), and I’m excited to see our O-Line.
“Everybody, just coming together and being more cohesive as a unit, we’ll have more time the whole offseason,” Bennett said. “I’m excited strictly for the football aspect, I love to play it, I love what it teaches us and it’s a challenge.
“We play in the toughest conference in the United States, and I feel we’re all ready for it.”
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