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The decision was made at about 9:30 p.m. on National Signing Day. Stetson “The Mail Man” Bennett will become a preferred walk-on quarterback at Georgia.
Bennett, in my eyes, was the best high school player in Georgia that didn’t sign a full-ride scholarship on National Signing Day.
The state of Georgia produced quarterbacks that signed with Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma State and Stanford on Wednesday.
Bennett, who holds a 2-star rating, belongs in that group. With or without a scholarship. He showed that at 4-5 different Nike “The Opening” regional tryout camps last year.
If he’s that good, why didn’t he have a big scholarship offer?
Well, Bennett decided this week between a full-ride at Southern Miss and the walk-on slot at Georgia.
He chose Georgia. Middle Tennessee and its well-respected offensive coordinator Tony Franklin also offered Bennett, and other offers included Mercer and a host of Ivy League schools.
The big offers never came because “Stet” is 6 feet tall and weighs 172 pounds, give or take the gravy with that biscuit at breakfast. But he also scored a 30 on his ACT and can run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
The big offers never came because of his height. What do Kirby Smart and Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney think about that?
“They love my quick release and speed,” Bennett told DawgNation. “Their main concern is obviously height but like I’ve told them I’ve been this height for two years. I’m pretty comfortable (playing football) with it.”
Jacob Eason started 12 games for Georgia last fall after coming in as a 5-star freshman. Jake Fromm, another U.S. Army All-American, also enrolled early to play QB and is progressing well.
Pierce County coach Sean Pender has been told that Bennett could come in and win the No. 3 quarterback job. At least.
That’s an interesting window into the future of backup quarterback Brice Ramsey with the team.
Oh, if he was only taller. If Pender had a dollar for every time he’s heard that, then maybe that program could build an indoor practice facility.
Yet watch his film. See how he spins it. That height gets lost in the mix. Bennett made his high school career on causing knowledgeable football folks to wonder if his height would be an issue.
He’s walking on and betting on himself to see what he can do at Georgia.
A little boy’s dream meets decent odds
It came down to a lot of things.
“Stet” had a glowing referral from 5-star signee Richard LeCounte III to Georgia coach Kirby Smart.
Those two sat down and determined back in late November that Bennett needed to be Georgia’s preferred walk-on quarterback in 2017.
The Bennett family visited Georgia on the last official visit weekend last month. They asked coach Kirby Smart if the quarterback job was going to be open this fall and the answer that came back was “wide open.”
Bennett’s dream was to play quarterback at Georgia. His family has held season tickets at Sanford Stadium since 1996.
Yet there are a million boys growing up every year that want to be the next quarterback at UGA.
Those are pretty long odds. But that opportunity to walk-on at Georgia narrowed those odds considerably.
That 1,000,000-to-1 shrunk to 5-to-1 odds. Bennett most likely will be one of five or maybe six quarterbacks on the depth chart Georgia this fall.
That fast kid with the 30 on the ACT liked those odds. And there was this other thing.
“The opportunity to start in front of 92,000 fans on a Saturday in Athens,” he said, nothing that little boy’s dream.
Another important recommendation
Bennett hung 369 yards on Liberty County and Georgia 5-star recruit Richard LeCounte III last season.
“In my mind, he can definitely play in the SEC,” LeCounte said. “No doubt about that.”
LeCounte is a believer in what Bennett can do. He shared his opinion freely with Smart.
They discussed it and the conclusion was this: Stetson Bennett needed to be the preferred walk-on quarterback at Georgia for 2017.
“If I had one of those scholarships to give out, I’d give one to him,” LeCounte said. “The numbers don’t lie. The numbers that he put up throughout his high school career are unexplainable. You can’t overlook them. That would be huge for us to get him at Georgia. Huge. You know why? Because I wouldn’t want to play against him if he was the quarterback on the other team coming in to face Georgia.”
Bennett completed 248 of his 399 passes this fall for 3,724 yards. He threw 40 touchdown passes against just 7 interceptions. He did on a team that had maybe 1-2 other future college players.
The future walk-on also ran for 490 yards and 6 touchdowns. But that’s not his game.
There’s that 30 on the ACT kicking in.
“We asked Kirby Smart this on our visit,” his father Stetson Bennett III said. “Do you want to play defense on a quarterback and cover guys for 3.5 seconds or 5.5 seconds? That’s what Stet can do. He realizes that he’s not going to make a living running around against those defenses in the SEC.”
Running the scout team at Georgia will look like he’s been blessed with 3 and 4-star receivers all around. He’ll get the chance to make his mark at Georgia.
That worked out. The next stop for “The Mail Man” will be at Georgia.