2022 Heisman Profile: Stetson Bennett

stetson bennett

2022 Heisman Profile: Stetson Bennett

Stetson Bennett represents an unlikely Heisman candidate. Out of Pierce County High School in Blackshear, Georgia, Bennett earned a two-star composite ranking from 247Sports. Despite fielding scholarship offers from Georgia Southern and Columbia, among a few others, Bennett always saw himself as a Bulldog. As a result, he enrolled at the University of Georgia for the 2017 season as a walk-on. Bennett never earned a snap, and he decided to transfer to Jones County Community College. Turns out, he made the right move as he improved his stock to a mid-tier three-star good enough to earn a scholarship offer from Georgia his second time around.

Since returning to Georgia in 2019, Bennett beat out a litany of highly-recruiting quarterbacks. That list includes Jake Fromm (4-star, 44th-ranked prospect); D’Wan Mathis (4-star); JT Daniels (5-star, 16th-ranked prospect); Carson Beck (4-star); and Brock Vandagriff (5-star; 17th-ranked prospect). Bennett paved his path by being consistent, working hard, and demonstrating leadership intangibles that his competitors simply did not. Bennett embraces his role as a leader, and he offers a rare example of a player who operates at his best in the toughest positions.

Statistics Do Not Tell the Story

Among the 2022 Heisman candidates, Bennett’s statistics do not seem to measure up. He falls well behind the pack in terms of passing touchdowns (just 20 against 37 each by Caleb Williams and CJ Stroud and 30 by Max Duggan). His passer rating (154.2) also measures lower than any of his competitors. He also finished the season-worst among the four in adjusted yards per passing attempt.

Against the toughest competition, however, Bennett stepped up his game consistently. Indeed, among the top four, Bennett ranks highest in terms of passer rating, yards per attempt, and completion percentage in games against teams finishing the regular season in the Top 25 AP poll. In five such games, Bennett posted a ridiculous passer rating of 185.2, completed 72.4% of his passes, and threw for 294 yards per game (10.2 yards per attempt). He also tossed 13 touchdowns with just two interceptions. For good measure, he added four rushing touchdowns.

The former walk-on beat out five different blue-chip recruits to get here. Clearly, then, Bennett does not shy away from the toughest competition. His embrace of it, in fact, compels his place on stage. Even if he does not bring the Heisman back to Athens, his legacy has already been cemented. He and his teammates have a bigger focus: looking to be the first repeat champions in the playoff era.

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