JT Daniels, a Southern-time transfer who was immediately allowed to play by the NCAA, is the most notable contender to take over for three-year starter Jake Sem.
But the Daniels are yet to be fully relieved of the season-end knee injury in 2019. Redshirt freshman D’One Mathis performed brilliantly with a team for the first time last weekend at Sanford Stadium, speculating that he had speculation. Upper hand for starting location.
“As far as I can tell, it’s probably a game-time decision,” Smart said.
The No. 4 Bulldogs opened season 26 in Arkansas.
SMART is used for this type of quandary. In his first season at Georgia in 2016, senior Grayson Lambert made his opener debut, but freshman Jacob Iston got his start early the following week, and also worked the rest of the season.
In 2017, Ezone debuted the opener, but was injured, clearing Frome’s way to handle the task. He led the Bulldogs to the national championship game, prompting the Ezone to move to Washington.
This quarterback debate did not end. Georgia landed another high-grade recruit, Justin Fields, who received some playing time in 2018, but never defeated Fromm. Fields moved to Ohio State, where he collected better numbers than Frome since leading the Bucks to the 2019 College Football Playoff.
Now, the Bulldogs have another QB fight in their hands – one that took an unexpected turn two weeks ago when JK Newman, who debuted at Wake Forest last year, pulled out of the season due to COVID-19.
“It’s not a problem for me,” Smart said. “It’s meant to be ideal for here. We have it before. It’s not a concern between the staff or the organization or the kids. We talk a lot about it with the kids to make sure they get where they are. Huh.”
Mathis went through a scary result after enrolling in Georgia, requiring brain surgery to remove the cyst. He returned to the scout team at the end of last season and recovered fully.
“I remember going to see him in the hospital. All his family members were there. It was a scary, scary moment,” Smart said. “But he pushed through that.”
The Daniels knelt in their Sommermore season opener with the Trojans, and Smart revealed that he needed follow-up surgery late in the year to clear up some additional issues. He is able to practice but cannot have any contact.
“The jetty is not completely cleaned yet,” Smart said. “If we don’t think he will be approved (for the opener), we won’t practice it.”
Daniels is by far the most experienced of the four quarterbacks on the roster. He was only the second quarterback in Southern Cal history to debut as an opener, and he went for 2,672 yards in 2018 with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Mathis has never played in a college game. Nor are the new Carson Beck.
Junior Stetson Bennett played the mop-up behind From Mop last season, but the early work seems to be down to a two-man race between Mathis and Daniels.