Georgia Bulldogs: Stetson Bennett wins the Manning Award

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The Georgia Bulldogs are no strangers to hardware. The reigning back-to-back National Champions have collected enough trophies over the last two seasons to fill entire trophy cases at most universities. Stetson Bennett is the latest Bulldog to add to that, as it was announced today that he is the recipient of the Manning Award, which is the only quarterback award to take postseason performance into consideration.

“We started the Manning Award 19 years ago as a way to recognize the country’s top quarterback for the full season, including the postseason,” said Archie Manning. “I’m not sure we’ve ever had an honoree who showcased his ability and proved his worth all the way through the postseason like Stetson did this year. We’re thrilled to recognize him as this year’s Manning Award winner.

Bennett was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which was given to USC’s Caleb Williams. However, if the Heisman had considered postseason performance, the results likely would have been different.

In two College Football Playoff games, Bennett was nearly flawless. He led the Bulldogs back from down double digits against the Buckeyes in the semifinal, throwing for nearly 400 yards and accounting for four total touchdowns. With everything on the line, Bennett was the best player on the field, and he capped it off with a six touchdown performance in the Bulldogs’ blowout win over the Horned Frogs in the championship.

A movie could be made about Bennett’s rise through the college football quarterback ranks. He originally came to the University of Georgia as a walk-on before transferring to a junior college and then returning to Georgia on scholarship, where he would win the starting job only to be benched again.

Most players would have stopped trying, but Bennett eventually won the job back and the rest is history. He will go down as the most decorated collegiate athlete from the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back National Championships. Receiving the Manning Award in his final season is simply the icing on the cake. Bennett likely deserves a statue outside of Sanford Stadium, and perhaps one day that will happen, something nobody could have predicted when he agreed to join the team as a walk-on his freshman year.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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