He's the defending National Champion quarterback, he's leading the #1 seed in this year's College Football Playoff, he's a former walk-on player...and in a weird way, he's a former UL-Lafayette Ragin Cajun. We're talking about Georgia starting quarterback Stetson Bennett.

Yeah, that Stetson Bennett, the guy who might win back-to-back National Championships was on the verge of becoming the Ragin Cajuns quarterback a couple years ago. So how did he go from almost being the starting quarterback in this year's Independence Bowl to Georgia's championship QB? Lets investigate.

Georgia Tech v Georgia
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Bennett grew up in Georgia and played high school football at Pierce County High School. He was 2nd-team All State as a senior, he threw for 3,700 yards and 40 touchdowns.

From there, he spent his freshman year of college as a walk-on at Georgia, where he was redshirted and played on the scout team. He performed so well on scout team, he was awarded Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. But without seeing a path to the starting job, he looked for other opportunities.

Bennett transferred to Jones County Junior College in 2018, and went to work as their starting QB. He led the team to a 10-2 record, a division championship, and the MACJC Championship game. He threw for 1,840 yards, 16 touchdowns, and rushed for 4 more touchdowns. His best game was in the MACJC semifinals against Northwest Mississippi where he threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

At the end of his season at Jones County Junior College is where the Ragin Cajuns entered the chat.

Louisiana v Texas
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Newly named Ragin Cajuns' Head Coach Billy Napier (yeah, he coaches Florida now) thought Bennett would be perfect to lead his first Cajuns team. But Napier wasn't alone, multiple FBS schools were inquiring about bringing Bennett into their program. On the eve of the December signing period, the Ragin Cajuns had the verbal agreement from Bennett. He was Napier's first quarterback for his tenure as the head guy in Lafayette.

Bennett remembers the moment, talking to Georgia's 247Sports outlet, he said:

“I think coach Napier is a really good coach and a great guy. I enjoyed all the time we had...I woke up on signing day and planned on signing there [UL-Lafayette]. And then Georgia called.”

In fact, 247Sports broke the news on that December night in 2018, even though other outlets called it into question after Bennett took the offer from Georgia. But when Bennett and Napier have been asked about the Ragin Cajuns agreement, both of them agree that it happened. Napier told 247Sports:

“I think with Stetson, it's pretty awesome to turn the TV on and see that guy playing quarterback for the Dawgs. He was committed to the University of Louisiana, got a chance to go back [to Georgia] and play.” 

Bennett was on his way to Lafayette, until Kirby Smart and Georgia invited him to return to their program. Which was obviously the right call for both the Bulldogs and Bennett, with one National Championship on their resume, and the inside track to another this year.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Southern Miss v Louisiana Lafayette
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

If Bennett were to have gone to Lafayette to join Napier, there's no telling if Napier would be at Florida now, or if Bennett would be playing in Shreveport this month for the Independence Bowl. What we do know, is that eventually the two of them did get to share the football field for a game.

In 2022, Napier's Florida team took on Bennett's Georgia Bulldogs. That game ended with Bennett throwing for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 42-20 win for Georgia. Proving to Napier that Bennett was the quarterback he believed he was.

Former Independence Bowl Players Drafted in 2022 NFL Draft

Pro Football Hall Of Fame Members From Louisiana


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