Stetson Bennett Named Heisman Trophy Finalist, Georgia Quarterback Invited To 2022 Ceremony

Stetson Bennett Named Heisman Trophy Finalist, Georgia Quarterback Invited To 2022 Ceremony

Stetson Bennett accumulated many different nicknames during his time in Athens. Walk-on, back-up, starting quarterback, SEC champion and national champion to name a few.

Now you can add the Heisman Trophy finalist to the list, as Bennett was one of four finalists for college football’s most prestigious individual award.

Joining Bennett will be USC quarterback Caleb Williams, TCU quarterback Max Duggan and Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud.

Georgia hasn’t had a finalist in New York for the Heisman Trophy since Garrison Hearst did so in 1992. Twice in program history, Georgia has had a player who won the Heisman Trophy, with Herschel Walker in 1982 and Frank Sinkwich in 1942.

Bennett led Georgia to a 13-0 record this season, throwing for 20 touchdowns and 3,425 yards. He also rushed for seven touchdowns, while leading Georgia to its first SEC championship since 2017 and No. 1 overall.

After Saturday’s 50-30 victory over LSU, Georgia coach Kirby Smart explained why Bennett deserves such recognition.

“I think it’s one of those things, this guy is 23 of 29 in the second half, I mean he couldn’t do much in the second half, so I don’t know what that he was in the first half,” Smart said. “He played very well.

“A number of people came up to me and said they thought he played the best game of his career tonight. He played really well.”

Related: Heisman runner-up or not, Stetson Bennett celebrates leading Georgia football to the SEC Championship

Bennett was more modest in his comments when discussing the game.

“I knew the plays. We rehearsed them a lot during the week, during the season,” Bennett said. “We had executed them during the week. When it’s the SEC Championship, you have to play with confidence. If you don’t, they will beat you.

“I have good players around me. Damn, I’m not that bad at football either. We have a good team. »

Bennett first came to Georgia as an extra in 2017, first gaining notice for his role in replicating Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield as Georgia prepared for the Rose Bowl. He transferred to Jones College in Mississippi to get a scholarship offer.

The last Heisman Trophy finalist who was a walk-on was Mayfield.

Justin Fields walked into the transfer portal, Bennett had that opportunity and joined the team as a member of the 2019 signing class after nearly going to Louisiana-Lafayette. He backed Jake Fromm for the 2019 season and started preseason training for the 2020 season as the No. 4 quarterback on Georgia’s depth chart.

But Bennett kept working and came on in the first half of Georgia’s season opener against Arkansas to lead the Bulldogs to a win. He would start for the next five games for Georgia, but was eventually benched after suffering an injury in a loss to Florida.

Bennett wouldn’t start again until Game 2 of the 2021 season, when he replaced an injured JT Daniels. He threw for five touchdowns against UAB in a winning effort. After Daniels was injured against Vanderbilt, Bennett returned to his starting duties and did not give them up.

Bennett then led Georgia to a national championship last season, the school’s first since 1980. He returned to Georgia using his sixth year of eligibility thanks to the NCAA’s COVID-19 policy.

Although Bennett’s numbers don’t match those of some of his fellow finalists in touchdowns, the Bulldogs rank third in the nation in rushing touchdowns.

Bennett has also been at his best against high profile competition. Against teams ranked in the college football playoff standings, Bennett threw 13 touchdowns to two interceptions in wins over Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. He also rushed for four touchdowns in those wins while throwing for an average of 294 yards and completing 73% of his passes.

As a starting quarterback, Bennett is 27-3 as a starter for the Bulldogs. He is also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Burlsworth Trophy, which recognizes the best player in the country who began his career as an extra.

Bennett is from Blackshear, Georgia, and played at Pierce County High School. Bennett’s younger brother, Luke, is a first-year wide receiver on the team.

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