IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING UGA FOOTBALL’S SPRING PRACTICE:
Friday, March 13, 2020, 4:00 p.m. ET: The SEC announced that all organized team activities, including competitions, team, and individual practices, meetings, and other organized gatherings, will be suspended through April 15th. This includes spring football practices, scrimmages, and games.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 3:00 p.m. ET: The SEC has announced all regular-season conference and non-conference competitions are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic year This includes all spring football games and remaining SEC championship events, due to continuing developments related to the coronavirus.
Despite spring practice and even the G-Day game looking like it is going to be on hold and even possibly cancelled, Bulldawg Illustrated is going to get you ready for the Georgia football team’s 2020 season by taking a look at each of the position groups. There are changes each season when it comes to any college football team’s roster as student-athletes graduate, declare early for the NFL to ply their talents in the pros, transfer to other programs to seek more playing time, etc., and to say the 2020 Bulldogs will have some new faces on the field, especially on offense, is an understatement. And it will start at quarterback.
Since the 6:06 mark of the first quarter of the Appalachian State game on September 2, 2017, the starting quarterback for Georgia has been sure and steady Jake Fromm when the Warner Robins High School product came in for an injured Jacob Eason, but after announcing his decision to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft after the Bulldogs’ 26-14 win over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, the talk among Dawg fans has been who will be taking snaps in 2020?
Would it be rising redshirt junior Stetson Bennet, who was UGA’s backup during the 2019 season?
Would redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis be cleared medically to have a shot at competing for a start after recovering from emergency surgery to remove a cyst on his brain for most of 2019?
Could it be a 6-foot-4 and 225 lbs incoming freshman quarterback, 2020 signee and early enrollee Carson Beck out of Mandarin High School Jacksonville, FL?
Or perhaps the Georgia coaching staff might look to the NCAA Transfer Portal…
Of course, as with all positions, who starts and plays at quarterback is an open race, and Beck and Bennett will all be competing along with Mathis who Kirby Smart announced back on February 15 to a group of supporters in Charlotte, NC had been cleared for spring practice, but we will have to wait till Fall now to see the redshirt freshman. But the Georgia coaching staff did look to the NCAA transfer portal.
Enter Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman.
The 6-foot-4 and 230 lbs Newman announced his decision to transfer from the Demon Deacons to the Bulldogs back on December 31st, enrolling in January at UGA, and he was the odds on favorite entering spring practice to win the start at quarterback. Whether or not the lack of spring practices will affect his opportunity to win the start, I don’t think so. If anything, it increases his chances.
Newman signed with Wake Forest as part of their 2016 recruiting class out of Graham High School in Graham, NC. He redshirted that same year. In 2018, Newman took over as starting quarterback after Sam Hartman suffered a broken leg in the game versus Syracuse on November 3rd. Newman would go on to start Wake Forest’s final four games helping to lead the Deacons to a 3-1 record over that stretch, including a 40-22 win in the Birmingham Bowl Game versus Memphis where he threw for 328 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 91 yards and three scores.
He beat out Harman to be named the starter last season in 2019 as a redshirt junior and led the Deacons to an 8-4 regular-season record and a berth in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York versus Michigan State where they lost to the Spartans 27-12. On the year, Newman threw for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns to 11 interceptions on 220 of 361 passing. He also ran the ball 180 times for 574 yards and 6 additional touchdowns.
Other faces and arms fans will be seeing at practice competing at quarterback will be preferred walk-on Austin Kirksey, who transferred from Nevada to UGA and is from Walton High School. And I would be amiss if I did not mention redshirt freshman Nathan Priestley, who walked-on at UGA last season out of Loyola High School, Los Angeles, CA and was the Dawgs third QB on the depth chart behind Fromm and Bennett. In addition to Beck, Bennett, Kirksey, and Priestly, there is also rising redshirt junior John Seter, who walked-on at UGA in 2017.
Update as of March 11, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. ET: John Seter has placed his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal per The Athletic’s Seth Emerson.
UGA QUARTERBACK DEPTH CHART SPRING 2020
Carson Beck | 6-foot-4 | 225 lbs | freshman out of Mandarin HS, FL
Stetson Bennett (13) | 5-foot-11 | 190 lbs | RS sophomore out of Pierce County HS, GA
D’Wan Mathis (2) | 6-foot-6 | 205 lbs | redshirt freshman out of Oak Park HS, MI
Jamie Newman | 6-foot-4 | 230 lbs | graduate transfer out of Wake Forest
Preferred Walk-on and Walk-on
Austin Kirksey | 6-foot-3 | 205 lbs | PWO transfer from Nevada
John Seter (16) | 6-foot-3 | 180 lbs | RS junior out of Athens, GA
Nathan Priestley (9) | 6-foot-4 | 205 lbs freshman out of Los Angles, CA
And it won’t just be a new quarterback at the helm for the Dawgs in 2020. There will be a new name at offensive coordinator as Todd Monken replaces James Coley who left to take an assistant coach position at Texas A&M coaching tight ends.
Up next, we take a look at the “hog mollies” in the trenches who will be protecting the Georgia quarterbacks.