ATHENS — Senior Day is always special for college programs, but this year is different as some players have been granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA because of the COVID pandemic.
Georgia QB Stetson Bennett, a 2017 signee, is one such example. Bennett is eligible to come back for another season, but will he? Or could this be his last appearance in Sanford Stadium?
Bennett confessed earlier this season he nearly left the Georgia program after last spring.
RELATED: Why Stetson Bennett said he nearly left UGA
It’s hard to imagine anyone in the Bulldogs’ locker room giving much thought to anything beyond the team’s national championship vision. It’s a very focused and dialed-in group, and coach Kirby Smart has made it clear the team knows how to ignore outside “noise.”
Senior Day speculation
But Senior Day ceremonies are a time for special presentations and public goodbyes, so it’s only natural for there to be some speculation.
Junior Nakobe Dean is a rising star and projected first-round pick. Is it his last game suiting up at Sanford Stadium? Safety Lewis Cine? Tailback Zamir White?
The Bulldogs QB situation is such that it’s also fair to wonder if this could be JT Daniels’ last appearance in Sanford Stadium. Daniels could qualify as a graduate transfer in the spring.
Smart likely has a good idea of what to expect at every position. He manages his team closely, including the quarterback position where he oversees offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
There doesn’t appear to be any signs of an in-house controversy. Daniels and Bennett have mutual respect and support one another. Smart says the players don’t care who is under center, and that he has confidence in all of his quarterbacks.
The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs have rolled to a 10-0 season, recently completing their first unbeaten league campaign (8-0) since 1982.
Georgia plays Charleston Southern at noon on Saturday, a small private school of 2,720 students. It’s Georgia’s Senior Day, so many of the Bulldogs upperclassmen are expected to see action
Smart was asked on Monday if Daniels might play. He remained vague about the possibility of rotating the quarterbacks as he did earlier in the season when Daniels was the starter and Bennett the backup.
“Our goal is to go out there and get the best quarterback ready to play and go out and play with best guy,” Smart said. “If that presents itself, absolutely. Straight up, I hope everybody gets to play. I really do.
“I hope everybody gets to play, but I don’t control that.”
Actually, Smart does control who plays, it’s clear what he’s saying: The game circumstance determines who plays.
Smart talks QBs
Smart said Monday both Bennett and Daniels are looking good in practice and explained Daniels’ situation is different than last season when he was on the scout time while Bennett was starting.
“The biggest change is that he has been working with the twos,” Smart said of Daniels. “He goes out to practice and takes really quality reps. He takes ownership in those, and he watches Stetson (Bennett)’s reps and goes over what he saw on defense.
“A lot of times the plays are the same in terms of what the ones and twos get, so he anticipates the throws and does what he does in the games. It helps the other guy.”
Quarterbacks are always a popular topic of discussion among analysts and fans.
Georgia’s situation is more so, because the Bulldogs are ranked No. 1, and the idea of a former walk-on playing over a former 5-star who is 7-0 as the team’s starter is unique.