7 things to know about Rams rookie QB Stetson Bennett
With their fourth pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Rams added one of the most polarizing prospects in the class: Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett. He was a two-time national champion with the Bulldogs and had a successful career in college after initially being a walk-on, but he’s also undersized for the position and comes with character concerns following a public intoxication arrest in January.
Despite those few red flags, Bennett wound up going to the Rams in Round 4, earlier than most people expected. He joins fellow Georgia alum Matthew Stafford in the quarterback room and will get to learn from Sean McVay, making this a perfect landing spot for Bennett.
Get to know the Rams’ new quarterback with these seven facts about him.
He won a championship at SoFi Stadium like Matthew Stafford
Not only did Bennett and Stafford both attend the University of Georgia, but they both won championships at SoFi Stadium, the Rams’ home building. Stafford won Super Bowl LVI with the Rams in 2022, leading them to a title in his first season with his new team. Less than a year later, Bennett won his second straight national championship with Georgia, also at SoFi Stadium. He threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns with another two scores on the ground in that 65-7 win over TCU.
He left Georgia in 2018 when Justin Fields was there, re-enrolled in 2019
Bennett originally enrolled at Georgia in 2017 but he was redshirted as a freshman. In 2018, Justin Fields and Jake Fromm were both on the team and ahead of him on the depth chart, so he opted to leave the program and transfer to Jones County Junior College for a season. In 2019, he returned to Georgia and served as Fromm’s backup, but he finally got a chance to start in 2020 – though only initially.
He emerged in 2021 and won back-to-back national titles with the Bulldogs, throwing 56 touchdown passes and only 14 interceptions in those two seasons.
He ranked 25th in the country in deep passing yards last season
Bennett may be undersized and lack arm strength, but he can still complete deep passes. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished the 2022 season with 998 deep yards, which ranked him 25th in the country among qualified quarterbacks. His adjusted completion percentage of 76.3 was also 28th in the nation, with the 28th-fewest turnover-worthy plays, too.
Deep passes aren’t all about arm strength, but also placement and timing.
He was named MVP of all 4 CFP games he played
Amazingly, Bennett played four College Football Playoff games in his two seasons as a starter. What’s even more impressive is that he was named the MVP of all four games: the 2022 Orange Bowl, the 2023 Peach Bowl and two national championships.
In those games, he threw 12 touchdown passes with only one interception and 1,239 yards passing. He also scored three rushing touchdowns and completed at least 65% of his passes in all four wins.
He’ll turn 26 this season
Because his path to the NFL was longer than most prospects, he’s also one of the older players from this draft class. He’s already 25 years old and will turn 26 in October, which makes him older than Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Justin Fields. He’s also the same age as Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Lamar Jackson, for reference.
The Rams didn’t seem bothered by his advanced age for a rookie, but it will limit his overall ceiling as a quarterback prospect if he does get the chance to start down the road.
His grandfather played QB at South Carolina
Bennett has football in his blood. His dad was a walk-on quarterback at Georgia Southern and his grandfather played quarterback at South Carolina. His grandfather went on to become a coach at the college level, too, coaching the DBs at Tennessee and becoming the defensive coordinator at Arkansas. Needless to say, Bennett has been around the game of football for a long time, even beginning to train when he was just 3 years old, according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic.
He won an award as the best player who started as a walk-on
Bennett didn’t begin his career at Georgia as a scholarship player. He made the team as a preferred walk-on in 2017. He was offered a scholarship in 2019 when he did return to the Bulldogs, but his college career began as a walk-on.
He obviously outplayed his 2-star status as a recruit, winning two national titles at Georgia. He went on to win the Burlsworth Trophy in 2022 as the nation’s best player who began his career as a walk-on.