Georgia needs to replace a number of key players, and the Bulldogs will use spring training to determine who is best equipped to do so.
After last week’s NFL combine, it’s very clear that Georgia will need to replace a number of elite players. Along with Nolan Smith and Darnell Washington are All-Americans Chris Smith and Jalen Carter.
But according to ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren, the toughest player to replace for Georgia will be quarterback Stetson Bennett.
“This could very well have been defensive tackle Jalen Carter or one of the departing defenders, but Bennett led Georgia’s offense to two national championships and was a Heisman finalist, throwing for 4,127 yards and 27 touchdowns — while running for 10 more — inside 2022,” wrote VanHaaren.
Bennett had a standout performance at the NFL Combine and helped his NFL draft stock greatly. As so often, he was at his best when he absolutely had to be. Bennett made clutch plays in Georgia’s biggest games against Ohio State, Tennessee and Oregon.
“I don’t know if Stetson knows this, but when I walked in, my 10-year-old son Andrew was crying. I think oh no someone hurt their feelings; Someone knocked him down or did something to him,” Smart said after the national championship game. “I said why are you crying? You’re gonna ruin my moment He said: “(crying) Stetson is leaving. He will go.’
“I said, ‘He’s 25 years old. He has to go. He has to go.” But he’s blustering about Stetson being gone, and most of our team, we’re going to have a lot of people coming back. We’re going to lose some really talented guys.”
Georgia is bringing back three quarterbacks in Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton. Neither has started a game in Georgia, but Smart feels confident in all three options. Beck is the most experienced of the group, but he’s only thrown 58 career passes.
Related: Carson Beck ready to show the importance of persevering with Georgia football: ‘I kept growing’
In addition to a new quarterback, Georgia is getting a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Mike Bobo takes over for Todd Monken, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.
Bennett spoke well of Bobo at the NFL Combine.
“I think he helped with some things upstairs, but I didn’t really interact,” Bennett said. “I love him as a person, but as far as coaching and stuff like that, I haven’t really spoken to him.”
Georgia will take to the practice field Tuesday for the first of 15 spring workouts. The Bulldogs will wrap things up with G-Day on April 15. Bennett will attend Georgia’s Pro Day on March 15 as he continues to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft. Mel Kiper Jr. sees Bennett as a fourth-round pick.
Stetson Bennett discusses Georgia football at the 2023 NFL Combine
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