Will Stetson Bennett return to UGA for a sixth year of college football next season? Or will Bennett come out on top as a legend, making Monday’s national championship game his last appearance as a quarterback for the Bulldogs?
Bennett, who turns 25 in October, remained cautious about his future plans when asked several times this week.
However, he may have quietly revealed his intentions during an interview with ABC TV’s “Good Morning, America” early on Tuesday morning.
The former walk-on was specifically asked about his future plans:
“I’m here to play football for the University of Georgia,” Bennett told GMA. “And then… once that’s over, whatever my interest will be — which is hard, when you play college football, because you don’t get internships, you don’t get all those things, you don’t get the time discount that other students But when that’s over – I’m studying economics, I’d like to go to law school.
“But for next year? I am going to play football. I have quite a few years. Hopefully I live to at least 80. So we say 60 years not to play football. I’m going to play football this year – we’ll see where. We’ll see if I can trust the staff’s decisions, and we’ll see where I’m going to play.”
It was the last part of that answer where Bennett dropped a few words and said “he was going to play football this year – we’ll see where”, then the part about staff confidence. The GMA host did not ask Bennett a follow-up question about the confidence comment.
Interestingly, Bennett’s GMA appearance was Tuesday morning, shortly before he joined coach Kirby Smart and teammate Lewis Cine to meet with reporters. And at that later press conference, Bennett wasn’t nearly as open about next season, saying, “We’ll just wait for that for me… I don’t want to throw my personal items on the table here. So we keep that between me and Coach Smart.”
Bennett’s options are (1) return to UGA next season, (2) transfer to another school to play a senior year, or (3) let his final college game be a legendary victory over Alabama for a national championship.
Confidence-wise, the UGA coaching staff showed unwavering confidence this season in Bennett, who took over the No. 1 job when JT Daniels was injured and never returned it. There were a few games, against Florida and Alabama in the SEC Championship, where Bennett could have easily been benched in favor of a healthy Daniels after poor play, but the coaches trusted Bennett.
In Monday’s National Championship, Bennett had a rocky start with a pair of offensive runs of three and more to open the game. He was also fired five times, committed two intentional ground penalties and coughed up two fumbles, including a surreal fourth quarter turnover that nearly betrayed the game. Fortunately for UGA, Bennett responded to the adversity with his best football of the season, throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the final eight minutes of the game to help the Bulldogs win the title for the first time since 1980. will be the reason we lost,” he said afterwards.
* FATHER OF STETSON BENNETT PRACTICES WITH DAWGNATION’S JEFF SENTELL
If Bennett decides to return next season, there is no guarantee he will start for the Bulldogs, however likely it may seem. UGA coach Kirby Smart is known for making players earn their jobs every year, even experienced players. If you recall, Jake Fromm led the Bulldogs to an appearance in the 2017 championship game as a freshman, but Fromm wasn’t officially the starter the following season until he took the field in the opener.
Last year, Smart Daniels named the off-season starter and even carried him to SEC Media Days as one of the team’s leaders. But the coach didn’t hesitate to bench Daniels and his 7-0 record to head in a different direction when he felt a change was needed. The ensuing debate over the QB situation has been the team’s most polarizing topic this season, although many in Daniels’ camp calmed it down — for now — after Bennett’s MVP appearance in the Orange Bowl.