Stetson Bennett shares his ‘Top Gun’ moment: ‘Those guys are the best’

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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett got a chance to fly with The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels (Via U.S. Navy Blue Angels Facebook page)

Winning a National Championship isn’t the coolest thing Stetson Bennett has done. He was one of the many Bulldogs who played a central role in doing accomplishing said mission.

The Georgia quarterback though did get a truly unique experience back in April when he got a chance to fly with The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels in Vidalia, Ga.

“You start off slow because they don’t want you to pass out and I was nervous,” Bennett said. “I didn’t want to pass out and throw up on myself. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. We flew for 45 minutes and towards the end he looked back and got on the intercom and said we’re going to hit as many gs as this plane can pull and get as close to the speed of sound as we can.

“So we hit it and go 7.4 gs. He’s in the back asking what I thought it was. He gave out a whoop. It was exciting, I was fired up.”

The physicality of being in the air took its toll on Bennett, noting it’s quite different than getting crunched by an SEC defensive lineman.

After completing his flight, Bennett knew what his next mission was.

“The next day I watched the original Top Gun. I was watching and I was like, ‘I was doing that yesterday,’” Bennett said. “And then the new one was incredible. I don’t like to brag about things but every time I’m watching it with my buddy, I’m nudging him going like ‘Hey, I did that!’ That was probably the coolest thing I’m ever going to do.”

The Georgia quarterback has taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded him at the University of Georgia. As fun as the experience was for Bennett, Mailman knows his day job is still pretty fun and crucial to the success of the Georgia football program.

“I try and focus on what’s important. Which is football. That stuff is cool and great,” Bennett said. “The reason why I’m here is to throw the football to people and make plays for them. That’s the end of the day. I can’t say which is more different but I’m more excited about playing football than I was this time last year when I wasn’t.”

Bennett returns as Georgia’s starting quarterback this season, making it the first time the sixth-year quarterback will enter the season as the starting quarterback. Just this time last year, Bennett found himself buried on the Georgia depth chart and the Bulldogs had JT Daniels representing them at SEC media days.

But Bennett made the most of his opportunity and won over teammates and coaches. He kept winning games and making plays, tossing 29 touchdown passes to just 7 interceptions while leading the Bulldogs to their first National Championship win since 1980, six years before the original Top Gun came out.

At SEC media days, head coach Kirby Smart made it clear Bennett could be his wingman any time.

“Stetson is one of the least respected good players there is in this country,” Smart said. “Guess what, we get to see it every day. The kid is a tremendous athlete, he’s got good arm strength. People keep doubting him, and that’s fine with me.”

Related: Stetson Bennett shrugs off critics, Kirby Smart ‘fine’ with people doubting Georgia quarterback

Nolan Smith, Georgia’s most vocal team leader, was even more effusive in his praise of Bennett. The two South Georgia natives will look to make the sequel of the 2021 season as good as Top Gun: Maverick.

“I look up to him every day, and I think as far as what he does day in and day out, he grinds, he shows grit and he wins,” Smith said. “He just doesn’t get enough credit for it.”

Bennett and the Bulldogs will take off to start the 2022 season on Sept. 3 when they take on the Oregon Ducks.

Stetson Bennett explains his ‘Top Gun’ moment

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