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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Nomadic QB Stetson Bennett doesn’t have a confidence problem or smartphone

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Stetson Bennett doesn’t regret getting rid of his iPhone last summer. Georgia’s quarterback figured he never did anything productive on a smartphone anyway. Too many distractions.

He opted for the old-fashioned flip phone, which wasn’t hard to find.

“I guess lots of old people still use them,” Bennett said during a virtual press conference Jan. 8 ahead of the College Football Playoff national championship game against Alabama (8 p.m. Jan. 10, ESPN).

He’s not ready to swear off smartphones forever, though.

“I’m not gonna be some nomad,” he said, “unless I decide to. I don’t know.”

It was an ironic use of the word nomad because it’s an apt description for Bennett’s career. He went to Georgia first in 2017 as a walk-on quarterback, playing on the scout team and taking a redshirt. Then he transferred to a junior college in Mississippi before returning to the Bulldogs in 2019.

Bennett, now in his fifth year of college football, has spent the last two seasons going back and forth with junior JT Daniels, who began his career at USC and started three games early this season before being hampered by injuries. Bennett has started 10 straight games.

“He’s that guy you want to be around,” Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis said of Bennett.

Offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer said Bennett is mostly quiet but can get loud sometimes, and he’s known to show up to the locker room blasting country music.

“Just a genuineness in who he is,” Salyer said.

Bennett has a sober way of analyzing the world and football. He doesn’t believe he has any other-worldly abilities, just a desire to work hard at a game. And even two days before going on the biggest stage of his career, Bennett sat in front of the camera and casually reminded everyone that it’s just football.

Bennett doesn’t think much of his playing journey, but he knows others do. The way Bennett sees it, his parents worked hard at real life when he was growing up, so he figures he can at least work hard at football.

Bennett’s grandfather has a fascinating story, hitchhiking 400 miles to South Carolina to play for the Gamecocks. Bennett has never had to hitchhike for the game.

For as much as he downplays it, there’s still a confidence Bennett has built for himself over the years. It doesn’t come from any one particular source, he said, but there’s not much in life he feels as secure in as he does football.

“It’s not an ignorant confidence, like I believe I can do anything,” Bennett said. “I believe I can play football really well.”

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853 or email at tylerf@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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