NEW YORK — The Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton” plays just around the corner from where the media events for the Heisman Trophy took place.
One of the final numbers in the widely successful musical features the titular Alexander Hamilton wondering about his legacy. What impact he left on the world, as he deals with his imminent demise as a bullet from the gun of Aaron Burr races towards him.
Bennett is no Hamilton when it comes to wondering about what mark he has left on college football. As the Georgia quarterback moves from his greatest individual recognition back to focusing on the team, he knows the final parts of his legacy are still undecided.
Only Bennett will face Ohio State defenders in the College Football Playoff, instead of live ammunition. Bennett can further shape how the wide world will see him.
“Yeah, I don’t know. I’ll let the authors and poets (decide that),” Bennett said. “I don’t know. I just hope to give them good material.”
Odds are Lin Manuel-Miranda could craft a pretty rich play based on what Bennett has already accomplished. He became Georgia’s third-national championship-winning quarterback in 2021, ending a 41-year title drought for a hungry Georgia fan base.
He was the first Georgia quarterback to ever be a Heisman Trophy finalist. Not Aaron Murray, not Matthew Stafford, not Jake Fromm, who Bennett backed up twice during his Georgia career.
Bennett did not win the Heisman Trophy, finishing fourth in voting behind Caleb Williams, CJ Stroud and Max Duggan. Bennett isn’t all that bothered by the results. He gets it was a massive honor for him to be in New York in the first place.
Related: Stetson Bennett finishes fourth in 2022 Heisman Trophy voting
He certainly feels a lot better than when he was the fourth-string quarterback at Georgia, which was the case during August of 2020. Just a month later, Bennett found himself starting for the program he grew up idolizing.
“This guy was Baker Mayfield for one game as the scout team quarterback, and he did a hell of a job at doing that,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said on Saturday night. “He won over his teammates by the way he performed on scout team, and he just kept getting better. We kept thinking he wasn’t good enough and he kept proving us wrong, over and over and over again.”
Bennett has been tested over and over again during his time at Georgia. A lesser person would’ve walked away. They would’ve been told they weren’t good enough — as Bennett heard multiple times in his Georgia career — and accepted it.
Bennett never did. That’s the stubbornness in him. He made sure to never throw away his shot, even if that meant learning throwing the ball away was better than trying to make a play.
“The biggest issue with that whole thing is, I was not good enough. That was the biggest problem with it,” Bennett said. “But then it was also a whole lot easier because I could just go get better. It was difficult, but at least I knew why.”
For all the doubters of Bennett, of which there are many, it’s worth highlighting those who helped him get to this point. His mother Denise, his father Stetson, his siblings Maverick, Knox, Luke and Olivia. Buster Faulkner was Bennett’s right-hand man on the coaching staff, with the Georgia quality control coach making the trip to New York along with the Bennett family, Smart and Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken.