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Post Always improving

Monday June 1, 2020

The January commitment of 5* quarterback Brock Vandagriff seemed to solidify the Georgia QB room for the next several years. Todd Monken had an upperclassman starter with P5 experience (Newman), younger talent to develop (Beck and Mathis), and now adds a blue chip prospect waiting in the wings.

We know Kirby Smart is never done recruiting, and he’s not going to pass up the opportunity to improve even a deep position like quarterback. Adding J.T. Daniels might seem like gilding the lily, but we know that you never want to be without options at quarterback. In terms of fitting into the room Daniels falls between the experienced Newman and the underclassmen. He has starting experience at Southern Cal, but his progress has been put on hold with a knee injury. He has a couple of years of eligibility remaining, so he can be developed with a longer-term outlook.

It’s important to continue to improve the position because there are reasons to have reservations about all of the available quarterbacks:

  • Daniels: He’s less than a year from an ACL injury. We’ve seen players return from ACL injuries in a year, but we’ve also seen how it can take some time to rebuild the confidence that allows someone to perform at a peak level. Chubb had a decent 2016 after his 2015 injury but wasn’t his explosive self until 2017. Zamir White was only just beginning to round into form at the end of 2019. Daniels can’t redshirt, but would he benefit from a year as the backup? There’s also a risk his transfer waiver could be denied in which case he’d have that extra year of recovery regardless.
  • Newman: He’s a favorite of the analysts, but it’s tough to make a splash at a place like Wake Forest unless you’re putting up Heisman-like numbers. His stats dropped off as the competition became tougher and key receivers were injured. Is his success dependent on a strong surrounding cast, or will he be able to elevate an unproven group of skill players?
  • Mathis: Mathis hasn’t played in a college game, but he has spent some time on the practice field. At this point only Bennett has more time as a member of the team. He’s been cleared to resume activities with the team, but brain surgery is nothing to mess around with. The program has, and will continue to be, appropriately cautious with Mathis’s well-being.
  • Beck: Inexperience is the obvious knock. Georgia struck true freshman gold with Fromm, but that’s rare. The depth and experience at the position means that Georgia won’t have to rush Beck along.
  • Bennett: He’s been a career reserve and has yet to break through. Coaches might have confidence in his experience and ability if their hand were forced, but there haven’t been any indications of Bennett moving past that reserve role.

Newman will likely start the season, but the depth chart could go any direction after that. A lot of it will depend on the fitness of Daniels and Mathis especially early in the season. Setbacks to either could reshuffle the order or even force Beck into action, but you’d hope that Georgia can find the kind of production and stability they need from among those five.

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