The University of Georgia’s junior quarterback Stetson Bennett may not be a high draft pick in the neighborhood kick ball game.
He’s not the guy you nudge your teammates or fellow coaches when you see him get off the bus before a game. He’s a dog, as the kids say. When the scrape is over, he’s probably kicked your tail and smiled on his way out.
America loves the position. The quarterback gets the cover of the magazines; the media hype, the pressure, the spoils of the wins and the finger pointing after a loss.
Defensive players hate quarterbacks. They’re protected like no other. You can’t hit them in practice. You can only tackle them perfectly in games. Fantasy football loving America needs the quarterbacks healthy, up right and putting points on the board.
As time has gone on, the way a quarterback should look has determined a lot at the higher levels of football.
The 6 feet 5 inch tall prototype with wide receiver mobility has become especially popular.
Then there’s Bennett. He’s 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs around 190 pounds. He finds a way to help his team win.
That’s all coaches want. Teammates respect effort to be one of the guys. Quarterbacks can be alienated from their team easily.
Every now and then, you get one that’s just one of the guys. It’s one of the criteria that Oconee County High School head coach Travis Noland looks for in his signal caller.
Noland, a former option quarterback in his own right, subscribes fully to the blue-collard quarterback program.
“They all (coaches) want to drive a Corvette and it looks really sexy and sharp,” Noland said. “In six months after they drive that Corvette, they wish they had bought an F-150. We’ve always looked for an F-150 in a quarterback. We want a guy that executes the offense and does the things that gives our team a chance to be successful.”
Prince Avenue Christian’s quarterback Brock Vandagriff has it all. He’s amassed big numbers throwing the ball for years now. He’s ranked highly on all the recruiting sites around the country. He has the size, the rocket arm strength and the obvious physical talent that draws the eye. Friday night, Vandagriff expressed one of his more underrated traits. He’s a dog. This summer, video surfaced of Vandagriff power cleaning 300 pounds and letting out a ferocious roar. The Wolverines rolled Wesleyan on Friday night and Vandagriff had every right to be chest pumping and wanting to throw the football 50 times for 500 yards. Last season, Vandagriff was injured against the Wolves.
PACS lost. The passing explosion didn’t happen. Vandagriff settled for four physical touchdown runs. He did what he had to do to help the team win and he did it with a grin on his face. That endears a quarterback to a team. That wins championships.
“It’s critical to leadership,” Noland said. “It’s easy to throw hitch, throw your arms up and say ‘look at what I did.’ It’s hard to pull that thing down and run it for 12 yards and put your face in there and do whatever it takes to make a play for your team... I think that’s priceless at that position.”
This is me nudging you and pointing to Vandagriff as he gets off the bus.
Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.