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Georgia’s Stetson Bennett’s path from walk-on to national championship quarterback

Stetson Bennett isn't your typical Georgia football player, but his mentality as a walk-on gives the Bulldogs exactly what they need.

When you think about the University of Georgia, you don’t think walk-on. You think four-star and five-star studs. Yet, Stetson Bennett does not fit that Georgia mold. In fact, as a walk-on, he’s the complete opposite. So, how does a former walk-on nicknamed “The Mailman” lead one of the most talented college football rosters in the country to a national championship? By embracing the fact that he’s not like the Georgia mold of player.

Stetson Bennett walks on at Georgia

The term walk-on automatically carries an underdog label with it, and Bennett embraces that fact. The fact that his nickname is the “Mailman” perfectly describes his attitude towards the game, and it’s a big reason why he’s perfect for Georgia.

How did Stetson Bennett get the nickname Mailman?

Nicknames come naturally. From there, it’s how a player embraces the nickname. Bennett got his nickname early in his football career, but he also took it to heart with how he worked.

Bennett got his “Mailman” nickname from his high school camp days, where he wore the iconic U.S. Postal Service hat while competing on the Elite 11 camp circuit. It was hard to miss that hat, but he’s turned a nickname into a way of life, and it’s the reason why he’s perfect for Georgia. To be a mailman, you have to embrace the grind. Doing the same thing over and over again can get repetitive and old quickly, but people are relying on you. For Bennett, being the “Mailman” for Georgia football got him to where he is today.

Kirby Smart brings in four and five-star recruits from all over the country. He’s done so at the quarterback position too. Guys like JT Daniels, Justin Fields, D’Wan Mathis, Jake Fromm, and Jacob Eason all started for the Bulldogs in part because they were a highly rated recruit. Bennett didn’t get that luxury.

In fact, Bennett walked on to Georgia twice. Once out of high school and another time as a JUCO recruit. He knew what he wanted and put in the work to get it. Even with that, people still had their doubts. But that fit perfectly into Bennett’s story.

How Bennett ties Georgia together

When a four or five-star kid starts, people assume they’ll be good. Starting for Georgia also brings higher expectations. Bennett didn’t have to worry about either of those. Lowered expectations for a walk-on took the pressure away from the quarterback position. Bennett never worried about that, and he certainly isn’t thinking about it heading into the national championship game.

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“Maybe I’m not capable of holding that weight on my shoulders, but no, I’m just treating it as a football game,” Bennett said Monday. “Do I know that means a lot to a lot of people? Yes. Am I trying to play some kind of savior by winning a national championship for millions of people? No. I don’t think that’s my job.”

Bennett knows his role

Bennett understands that he’s not the most talented player on his team, but he doesn’t care. “My job is to go out there and throw completions to very talented people we have on this team. And I think it’s as simple as that,” he told ESPN.

He understands that it’s not personal that people didn’t believe in him. It’s just what Smart and his staff need to do.

“Those guys are going to get every opportunity to fail before a walk-on gets an opportunity to succeed,” Bennett told Dawg Nation. “It’s just business. If you recruit all these five-stars and then you play walk-ons over every single one of them, who is to say the next five-star is not going to see that and not come here?”

Currently, Georgia has 19 former five-stars and 47 former four-stars on their roster. Yet, a walk-on plays the most important position on the team. The pressure of being highly recruited on top of playing for a title got to some players in the past, but Bennett won’t be that way. He’ll just put on his figurative “Mailman” hat and go to work. It’s all he’s ever done, and it’s exactly what Georgia needs to steady the ship to a national championship.

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