Sports

ATHENS, Ga. — The day before quarterback Stetson Bennett was scheduled to work out in front of NFL scouts and coaches at Georgia’s pro day on Wednesday, the Bulldogs started the process of trying to replace the quarterback who led them to back-to-back College Football Playoff national championships.

As Georgia opened spring practice Tuesday, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said junior Carson Beck and sophomore Brock Vandagriff would share snaps with the No. 1 offense, while freshman Gunner Stockton is also in the mix.

The Bulldogs will also be working under new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who replaced Todd Monken, who left to become the Ravens’ offensive coordinator. Bobo, a former Georgia quarterback, ran the UGA offense under former coach Mark Richt.

“We think we have three really good quarterbacks, and I’m really excited about all three of those guys to grow and get better,” Smart said. “I do look forward to seeing Carson and Brock getting a lot of that action. They’ll both rep with the ones. As far as how much, that’ll play itself out over the course of the spring. Gunner’s come a long way. I’m excited to see what those guys can do. They’ve been excited about meeting and doing things with Coach Bobo and the offensive staff. I’m excited to see those guys at practice.”

Beck, from Jacksonville, Florida, was Bennett’s backup last season. He has attempted 58 passes in the past three seasons. Beck was the No. 14 quarterback and No. 234 prospect overall in the 2020 ESPN 300.

Vandagriff, who played at Prince Avenue Christian School in Athens, attempted three passes the past two seasons. He was the No. 6 pocket passer and No. 38 prospect overall in the 2021 ESPN 300.

Stockton redshirted last season and ran Georgia’s scout team. He set Georgia state records in career passing touchdowns (177), passing yards (13,652) and rushing touchdowns (77) during four years at Rabun County High School.

The general consensus among Georgia football followers is that Beck has the strongest arm, while Vandagriff is the best athlete. Smart wasn’t ready to make that assumption.

“I think it’s hard to say who has a stronger arm,” Smart said. “I think those guys would argue about who has a stronger arm. I don’t honestly know who has a stronger arm just from what we’ve seen in the past. You’ve got to see those guys play in game action. I think they’ve both got really good pocket presence.”

Smart said Vandagriff gained about 15 pounds in the offseason, while Beck lost weight to get more mobile.

“I don’t think people give Carson enough credit for being a good athlete,” Smart said. “He was a really good baseball player. He has good movement skills. He’s not going to run faster than Stetson. I think Brock is a good athlete. He can see the field. Carson has probably played a little more, but both of those guys are good. Look, I wouldn’t count Gunner dropping out of this thing. This kid is smart and talented.”

Smart said five players would miss spring practice because of injuries: safety Dan Jackson (foot), offensive lineman Josh Miller (shoulder), running back Andrew Paul (knee) and linebackers Jalon Walker (shoulder) and Marvin Jones Jr. (shoulder).

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