Former Georgia QB Bennett IV in Hot Water

University of Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV finished his college football career this year by leading the Georgia Bulldogs to their second straight national championship.

Statistically, Bennett ended the year as one of the best quarterbacks in the NCAA. He threw for 4,127 yards with 27 touchdowns, which afforded him a 87.8 QB rating from ESPN. His feats this year enabled him to make a run at the most prestigious award in college football, the Heisman Trophy. Bennett placed fourth in the Heisman race, which solidified the 25-year-old as a possible future star in the NFL.

Bennett’s David vs. Goliath story has made him an inspiring underdog heading into the 2023 draft, and his successful career with the Bulldogs as a walk-on has made him a legend in college football. Bennett’s accomplishments are perhaps more impressive when one considers his physical limitations as a 5’11’’, 190-pound quarterback.

Over the past two seasons in the NCAA, Bennett played in 29 games for Georgia, accumulating a 28-1 record and two national championships. Following the conclusion of his illustrious collegiate career, Bennett was initially projected as a possible middle-round draftee for a team looking for a high-ceiling quarterback.

However, Bennett’s draft stock took a hit following his arrest on Jan. 29. Reports of “banging on doors in the area” grabbed the attention of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) according to the Guardian, and law enforcement officers arrived on the scene to find the collegiate star visibly under the influence of a foreign substance. According to the DPD, “[t]he preliminary investigation found when officers arrived, [Bennett] was intoxicated.” Bennett was subsequently taken into custody, brought to the City Detention Center, and charged with public intoxication.

Football fans are now left wondering what the implications of Bennett’s arrest could be and whether this event could affect his draft stock. Only time will tell how much Bennett’s off-the-field decisions will affect his draft projection, but the initial backlash against him has many professional sports analysts worried.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, for example, previously described Bennett as a possible third-round pick, but may now have to rethink this initial evaluation. Following the increase in quarterback drama in the NFL, teams are less likely to use an early-round pick to draft a player like Bennett, who could pose a risk to the team’s image.

However, this is not to say that Bennett will go undrafted. Regardless of his actions, he will likely be selected in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. The question remains: how does this controversy affect his legacy, his NFL opportunity and his future as an athlete?