The Walk On Beats the 5-Star: A Classic Underdog Story

The quarterback for Alabama is the classic 5-star recruit. Bryce Young was ranked the best quarterback in the country as a high school senior. He was on everybody’s dream team and he broke all the records. He was the quarterback selected to be placed on the Sports Illustrated All-American team. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he earned Offensive MVP honors. Bryce Young had his pick of colleges to attend. Like so many others in his position, he chose the University of Alabama. This season he won the Heisman Trophy.

The quarterback for Georgia is the classic walk-on story. Stetson Bennett was an accomplished quarterback out of small town, Pierce County High School in rural Georgia. He received 1 scholarship offer from an FBS school, which was Middle Tennessee State. At 5′ 11” and 185 lbs., he was considered too small to play major college football. “When you grow up in a little small town in Georgia, it’s hard to be seen,” his father said. “Even when you are, it’s easy to be discounted.” Stetson believed in himself and walked-on to the University of Georgia football team in 2017. He wowed as a “scout team” quarterback during his freshman year, but, of course, Georgia kept recruiting 4 and 5 star quarterbacks. Stetson could see the writing on the wall and transferred to Jones College in 2018. He played well, and after the season, he was set to transfer to Louisiana. However, one of the Georgia coaches asked Stetson if he would consider coming back. Stetson said he would, but it would have to be different this time. “I need to be given a chance this time to compete for the starting job,” Stetson said.

In 2019, he sat behind Eric Fromm, who is now in the NFL. In 2020, they brought in two high-profile transfers. Stetson was slated as the backup. However, the starter didn’t play so well. Stetson came in and played well as a starter all season. Even with all that success, he lost the starting job coming into this season. The five-star starter got injured twice before Stetson was allowed to take the reigns.” I can’t speak to the five-stars in the room. I wasn’t one,” Stetson said. “Those guys are going to get every opportunity to fail before a walk-on gets an opportunity to succeed.” Stetson Bennett wasn’t given an opportunity. He took it and never looked back.

And, last night, the walk-on led Georgia to a national championship over the 5-star Heisman Trophy winner and #1 ranked Alabama. In the 4th quarter, Bennett fumbled the ball, which led to Alabama taking the lead.  “We weren’t going to let a turnover like that from costing us a national championship,” Bennett said afterward. “I wasn’t going to let that happen. I wasn’t going to be the reason we lost tonight.” On the next possession, Georgia drove down the field and Bennett threw the go-ahead touchdown pass. A few short minutes later, the former walk-on was receiving the Offensive MVP Award and hoisting the National Championship Trophy.

Joe’s Perspective: Everyone should love this story. Counted out so many times, overlooked, benched, discounted… No one gave Bennett anything, he had to earn it. He worked hard, grinded, studied and won the starting job. Bennett is the quintessential underdog story. And, we are all underdogs. People will continually tell you what you can’t do. They will put up barriers and set up limits. Bennett shows us all, that at least sometimes, we can overcome the odds.

About 15 years ago, Randy Pausch, a man dying of cancer, wrote a book entitled, The Last Lecture. He provided a number of life lessons that he wanted to pass on to his kids. The one I remember is, “The Brick Walls are Put Up for Other People.” Those walls, those barriers, those regulations are put up to keep the other people out. He encourages us all to find ways to overcome the brick wall. My guess is Stetson Bennett read that book at some point in his life.

Your Turn: What are your thoughts on the underdog, Stetson Bennett, leading Georgia to a national championship last night?

 

Comments 82

  1. I think it is very inspiring that Bennett led Georgia to a national championship after starting out as a walk-on. His story shows that it’s important to continue to work hard and be prepared for opportunities that come your way so you can take advantage of them.

    1. I think it is very inspiring because he started as a walk and won a championship and it shows that even tho your not the best you can do anything

  2. I think it is very inspiring that Bennett and the Georgia team won the national championship after Bennett started out as a walk-on. His story shows that it’s important to continue to work hard and be prepared for opportunities that come your way so you can take advantage of them.

  3. What an awesome story.
    Never give u on your dream and this young man proved that you can make your dreams come true!!
    Congratulations!!

  4. I think that this shows you don’t necessarily have to be the star player to be the best and or to be know, Bennett is a good example, he never gave up and pushed all the way to the end, it may have started small but got bigger as time passed, it also shows to never give up on yourself. This story shows hard work, talent, dedication and inspiration.

  5. I think it’s very impactful that a walk on was able to achieve that much. It shows a true and good underdog story that everyone loves. It shows that being an underdog and winning is possible.

  6. i think Bennett leading georgia to the national championship is such an amazing thing, with all the benching, the negatives he was told he still put in the work to make himself better and to improve on himself. He’s an inspiration and definitely someone to look up to

  7. I think it’s a great story and very impressive for Stetson Bennett. It really shows that no matter who you are, you can make it.

  8. I think it is very inspiring that Bennett and the Georgia team won the national championship. This story shows it’s important to continue to work hard and be prepared for opportunities.

  9. I think what he did shows that you can do anything to set your mind too. Bennett shows that he had a dream and he went for it and didn’t give up when negativity was thrown toward him.

    1. think that it is very inspirational that he won the national championship as a walk-on. This shows that it doesn’t matter whether people think you are good or not. You can work hard and accomplish great things.

    1. I think that it is very inspirational that he won the national championship as a walk-on and it proves that it does not matter what other people think of you.

  10. I think it is very inspiring that Bennett led Georgia to a national championship after starting out as a walk-on. His story shows that it’s important to continue to work hard and be prepared for opportunities that come your way so you can take advantage of them, and that if you believe in something so much it can be done and it can happen just as it did for Bennett

  11. I think Stetson leading Georgia to a championship is very inspiring and it shows that if you work hard, you can complete with others at the highest level.

  12. I think it is amazing that no matter how hard things got, or even how everyone looked down on him. He only looked ahead and pushed himself as far as he could, giving him the reward of playing.

  13. I think it is amazing that no matter how hard things got, or even how everyone looked down on him. He only looked ahead and pushed himself as far as he could, giving him the reward thanks to his hard work.

  14. I think it’s very motivation and inspiration because it shows the true dedication he had to not ever give up towards the national championship

  15. I think that what we can learn from this story is that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like, if you want something you need to fight for it

  16. It is inspiring he is the under dog and brought them to the championship because it shows that if you keep on working hard you will achieve your goal

  17. This shows you should never give up. Even though he wanted a chance at the starter they didn’t give it to him. He kept training and he got the chance and ran with it. He waited witch many people these days don’t do

  18. One word. Inspiring. This just goes to show no matter what your title is, you can prove your self to others. Stenson, a walk on was able to beat a 5 star, Mvp, Gatorade player of the year etc as a walk-on. Incredible.

  19. I really admire how he said he had to confidence to say he believes he is the best while also having the humility to give the advice to work hard and keep your mouth shut when life gets hard

  20. I believed that what he did was amazing. He showed how even when your not the biggest, fastest, or the strongest that isn’t an excuse to stop working and stop believing in yourself.

  21. I believed that what he did was amazing. He showed how even when your not the biggest, fastest, or the strongest that isn’t an excuse to stop working and stop believing in yourself.

  22. I think Bennett is the perfect example of never giving up and always giving your all. The way he worked at achieving his goals all paid off in the end which shows to always be prepared for good things to come your way when you are working for something.

  23. I believe that Bennett showed that just because someone doesn’t have all the fancy titles or 5 stars doesn’t mean that they don’t have what it takes. A piece of the text read “the 5 stars have every opportunity to fail before I got a chance to succeed”. Even with this fact Bennett never stopped he would just keep grinding and grinding until the day came when he led his team to that national championship.

  24. I love the story of Bennett because he showed that you don’t have to be in a big city to be a good player. It also shows that D1 schools should look more into smaller high schools. His story is inspiring and he definitely deserves that championship. He proved everyone wrong and he even beat the #1 quarterback in the nation.

  25. I think if you just work hard and believe in yourself then you can make anything happen.You don’t have to be the best athlete physically but you just have to be strong minded and not give up.

  26. I think that Stetson deserves it. He conditionally worked for it and proved himself. It just shows how sometimes you just have to keep working to get better when there are others that are telling you that you don’t belong.

  27. Stetson I’m sure had at some points some really negative thoughts. But he overcame those by staying positive and just kept grinding, beating out quarterback after quarterback until he became the starter for Georgia. Now he is a National champion he never gave up.

  28. It’s crazy to see how a walk on at a big school like Georgia can put in the work and time to become the national champ over a 5 star quarterback.

  29. It’s crazy to see how a walk on at a big school like Georgia can put in the work and time to become the national champ over a 5 star quarterback.

  30. I love the line they are given all the chances to fail before the others get the chance to succeed it shows if you want something you will work for it

  31. I think it’s very inspirational that he ended up winning even after all the doubt that people had on his team. It shows that if you work hard and have grit you can get through anything.

  32. I think it is very inspiring because he started as a walk and won a championship and it shows that even tho your not the best you can do anything

  33. Very inspirational! Can’t lie I even doubted him at times throughout this season. Just shows that with hard work, self confidence, and a strong mental state you can accomplish all you work for and want.

  34. I think it just goes to show that the only person you need to win over is yourself. Stetson is a guy that bet all his cards on himself and that is why he received such a big reward.

  35. It is very inspirational how a walk-on didn’t stop grinding and it paid off he got his shot and showed everyone in college football what they missed out on and what he is capable of. He beat out a 5 star quarterback and led his team to a national championship.

  36. It sure is that if you were work hard and do anything your asked that you again opportunity and when you get that opportunity you’ll be ready to.

  37. He was always doubted and was able to overcome everything and show that he is the real deal. He betted on himself and that’s all he needed to win a national championship

  38. I think this is very inspiring for all the underdogs out there. This shows that if you put in the work and do the same right things it will pay off in the end.

  39. Stetson Bennett’s story is inspirational. He stayed determined through all of the odds that he faced and was able to persevere. Competition breeds excellence, and Stetson competed with himself in order to exceed the odds that he faced.

  40. Well, it’s a classic underdog story. He had every opportunity to quit, but he just didn’t. It made me think of a Tom Platz quote, “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. I don’t think that quote’s always true, but I think it is in this case.

  41. I think by blocking out the doubts and extra noise, he was able to go out and finish the game with a win. Bennett knew his potential and how good he really was and did not let anything else get to him. There is a quote I like: “To perform in front of thousands, you must outwork thousands in front of no one.” and it seems to be how Bennett overcame his challenges

  42. Despite them beating my Michigan Wolverines, Stetson Bennet is one of the most influential players in college football. To be benched and recruited above and to still stay and stick it out is amazing. I don’t know of many people who would do that.

  43. I think that Stetson Bennet has been a great example and story for young kids chasing a dream. This story is truly inspiring to many people. Stetson Bennet must be very hardworking and determined

  44. I think it is very inspiring because he started as a walk and won a championship and it shows that even tho your not the best you can do anything

  45. I think it is very inspiring because he started as a walk and won a championship and it shows that even tho your not the best you can do anything you want or put your mind to

  46. very inspiring because he started as a walk and won a championship and it shows that even tho your not the best you can do anything you want or put your mind to

  47. very inspiring because he started as a walk on and won a championship and it has shows that even tho your not the best you can do anything you want or put your mind to

  48. very inspiring because he started as a walk on and won a championship and it has shows that even tho your not not that good you can do anything you want or put your mind to

  49. very inspiring because he started as a walk on and won a championship and it has shows that even tho your not that good you can do anything you want or put your mind to

  50. very inspiring because he started as a walk on and won a championship and it has shows that even tho he is not as good as the 5 star he still can do anything you put your mind to

  51. The story is inspiring. It shows that no matter what the stats are, if you work hard enough you can accomplish anything.

  52. It’s very inspiring. It’s so hopeful because if you have a bad mindset from the beginning, you won’t have that attitude saying, I will win even if we are the underdogs. But Stetson didn’t have that losing mindset.

  53. It is awesome. I love it. Just goes to show you if you work hard and not give up, you may just get your chance. This story is just amazing. Very inspiring to other athletes.

  54. Inspiring. It goes to show how it is never too late to make a commitment to yourself and keep on working hard towards your goals.

  55. Perfect example that just because you are a 5 star dosent mean that you should have the starting spot the walk ons are good too

  56. I think it tells me to not wait for an opportunity but instead go and take it because you won’t always have time to wait.

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