Jacob Eason

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Smart: Georgia’s starting QB likely a game-time decision

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ATLANTA — Georgia still hasn’t decided on a new starting quarterback, and coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday he Will Likely wait until the season opener to reveal who earned the job.

JT Daniels, a transfer from Southern Cal who was granted permission by the NCAA to play right away, is the most notable contender to take over for three-year starter Jake Fromm.

But Daniels has yet to be fully cleared from a season-ending knee injury sustained in 2019. Redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis put on an impressive showing with the first team during a scrimmage last weekend at Sanford Stadium, leading to speculation that he’s got the upper hand for the starting spot.

“As far as I can tell, it’s probably going to be a game-time decision,” Smart said.

The No. 4 Bulldogs open the season Sept. 26 at Arkansas.

Smart is used to this sort of quandary. In his first season at Georgia in 2016, senior Grayson Lambert started the opener but freshman Jacob Eason came in early, got the start the following week and held the job the rest of the season.

In 2017, Eason started the opener but was injured, clearing the way for Fromm to take over the job. He led the Bulldogs to the national championship game, prompting Eason to transfer to Washington.

That didn’t end the quarterback debate. Georgia landed another highly rated recruit, Justin Fields, who got some playing time in 2018 but never beat out Fromm. Fields moved on to Ohio State, where he put up much better numbers than Fromm while leading the Buckeyes to the 2019 College Football Playoff.

Now, the Bulldogs have another QB battle on their hands – one that took an unexpected twist two weeks ago when transfer Jamie Newman, who started last year at Wake Forest, opted out of the season because of COVID-19.

“It’s not a problem for me,” Smart said. “It’s getting to be the norm around here. We’ve had it before. It’s not a concern among the staff or the organization or the kids. We talk a lot with the kids about it to make sure they understand where we are.”

Mathis went through a scary ordeal after enrolling at Georgia, requiring brain surgery to remove a cyst. He returned to the scout team late last season and is fully recovered.

“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.”

Daniels tore up a knee in the opener of his sophomore season with the Trojans, and Smart revealed that he also needed follow-up surgery late in the year to clean up some additional issues. He is able to practice but can’t have any contact.

“JT is not completely cleared yet,” Smart said. “If we didn’t think he would be cleared (for the opener), we wouldn’t be practicing him.”

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 start the opener as a true freshman and went on to pass for 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2018.

Mathis has never played in a college game. Neither has freshman Carson Beck.

Junior Stetson Bennett played a handful of snaps last season in a mop-up role behind Fromm, but it looks like the starting job is down to a two-man race between Mathis and Daniels.

U.S. Army All-American Bowl 2016 Player Roster

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The U.S. Army Bowl, the premier high school All-American game, takes place Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Alamodome. Played in San Antonio, the game brings together 90 of the nation’s top high school football players in an East-versus-West rivalry.

The U.S. Army Bowl boasts an alumni class of Heisman Trophy winners and over 200 current NFL players, such as Andrew Luck, Jamaal Charles and DeMarco Murray. Take a look at this year’s roster.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be live on NBC and Live Extra at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Name Pos. High School Location
Devin Asiasi TE De La Salle High School Concord, CA
Josh Ball OL Stafford High School Fredericksburg, VA
Ross Blacklock DL Elkins High School Missouri City, TX
Breland Brandt DL Windward School Los Angeles, CA
Derrick Brown DL Lanier High School Buford, GA
Josh Brown LB Mallard Creek High School Charlotte, NC
Brian Burns DL American Heritage School Plantation, FL
Tyler Byrd DB Naples High School Naples, FL
Marquez Callaway DB Warner Robins High School Warner Robins, GA
Cameron Chambers WR Timber Creek High School Sicklerville, NJ
Drue Chrisman P LaSalle High School Cincinnati, OH
Ben Cleveland OL Stephens County High School Toccoa, GA
Jamel Cook DB Miami Central High School Miami, FL
Jonathon Cooper DL Lincoln High School Gahanna, OH
Donnie Corley WR Martin Luther King High School Detroit, MI
K.J. Costello QB Santa Margarita Catholic High School Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Carter Coughlin LB Eden Prairie High School Eden Prairie, MN
Dylan Crawford WR Santa Margarita Catholic High School Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Kash Daniel LB Paintsville High School Paintsville, KY
Raekwon Davis DL Meridian High School Meridian, MS
Johnny Den Bleyker LS Moreau Catholic High School Hayward, CA
Tren’Davian Dickson WR Navasota High School Navasota, TX
Jacob Eason QB Lake Stevens High School Lake Stevens, WA
Bryan Edwards WR Conway High School Conway, SC
Camilo Eifler LB Bishop O’Dowd High School Oakland, CA
Jordan Elliott DL Westside High School Houston, TX
Matt Farniok OL Washington High School Sioux Falls, SD
Tavien Feaster RB Spartanburg High School Spartanburg, SC
Simi Fehoko WR Brighton High School Cottonwood Heights, UT
Brendan Ferns LB Saint Clairsville High School St. Clairsville, OH
Erick Fowler LB Manor High School Manor, TX
Feleipe Franks QB Wakulla High School Crawfordville, FL
Jordan Fuller DB Northern Valley High School Old Tappan, NJ
Mecole Hardman DB Elbert County High School Elberton, GA
Jake Hausmann TE Archbishop Moeller High School Cincinnati, OH
Daelin Hayes LB Skyline High School Ann Arbor, MI
Lavert Hill DB Martin Luther King High School Detroit, MI
Antwuan Jackson DL Cedar Grove High School Ellenwood, GA
Drake Jackson OL Woodford County High School Versailles, KY
Mark Jackson Jr. DL Byron P. Steele II High School Cibolo, TX
Jack Jones DB Long Beach Poly High School Long Beach, CA
Tony Jones Jr. RB IMG Academy Bradenton, FL
Michael Jordan OL Plymouth High School Canton, MI
Mique Juarez LB North High School Torrance, CA
Caleb Kelly LB Clovis West High School Fresno, CA
Xavier Kelly DL Wichita East High School Wichita, KS
Josh King DL Hinsdale South High School Darien, IL
Javon Kinlaw DL Goose Creek High School Goose Creek, SC
Tommy Kraemer OL Elder High School Cincinnati, OH
Jaleel Laguins LB Oconee County High School Watkinsville, GA
Dexter Lawrence DL Wake Forest High School Wake Forest, NC
David Long DB Loyola High School Los Angeles, CA
Marshall Long P South Rowan High School China Grove, NC
Chase Lucas ATH Chandler High School Chandler, AZ
Austin Mack WR Bishop Luers High School Fort Wayne, IN
Justin Madubuike DL McKinney North High School McKinney, TX
Vavae Malepeai RB Mililani High School Mililani, HI
Frank Martin II OL Mater Dei High School Santa Ana, CA
DeMario McCall RB North Ridgeville High School North Ridgeville, OH
Connor McGovern OL Lake-Lehman High School Lehman, PA
Javon McKinley WR Centennial High School Corona, CA
DeKaylin Metcalf WR Oxford High School Oxford, MS
JJ Molson K Selwyn House School Westmont, Quebec
Tramonda Moore OL John Marshall High School Oklahoma City, OK
Trayvon Mullen DB Coconut Creek High School Coconut Creek, FL
Byron Murphy DB Saguaro High School Scottsdale, AZ
Isaac Nauta TE IMG Academy Bradenton, FL
Charles Oliver DB Fairfield High School Fairfield, TX
Sewo Olonilua DB Kingwood High School Kingwood, TX
Michael Onwenu OL Cass Technical High School Detroit, MI
Jawon Pass QB Carver High School Columbus, GA
Shea Patterson QB IMG Academy Bradenton, FL
Brandon Peters QB Avon High School Avon, IN
Michael Pittman WR Oaks Christian School Westlake, CA
Kyle Porter RB Katy High School Katy, TX
Shaquille Quarterman LB Oakleaf High School Orange Park, FL
Garrett Rand DL Hamilton High School Chandler, AZ
Brandon Randle LB Battle Creek High School Battle Creek, MI
John Raridon OL Valley High School West Des Moines, IA
Ahmmon Richards WR Wellington High School West Palm Beach, FL
Demetris Robertson WR Savannah Christian Prepatory School Savannah, GA
Curtis Robinson LB Mater Dei High School Santa Ana, CA
Janarius Robinson DL Bay High School Panama City, FL
Julian Rochester DL McEachern High School Powder Springs, GA
John Shannon LS Loyola Academy Wilmette, IL
Trevon Sidney WR Bishop Amat High School La Puente, CA
Jeffery Simmons DL Noxubee High School Macon, MS
John Simpson OL Fort Dorchester High School North Charleston, SC
Skyler Southam K Wasatch High School Heber City, UT
Melquise Stovall RB Paraclete High School Lancaster, CA
Chanse Sylvie DB Calvary Baptist Academy Shreveport, LA
Cole Van Lanen OL Bay Port High School Green Bay, WI
Demetric Vance DB Cass Technical High School Detroit, MI
Tyler Vaughns WR Bishop Amat High School La Puente, CA
Binjimen Victor WR Coconut Creek High School Coconut Creek, FL
Nigel Warrior DB Peachtree Ridge High School Suwanee, GA
Luke Wattenberg OL Jserra Catholic High School San Juan Capistrano, CA
Clark Yarbrough OL Woodberry Forest School Woodberry Forest, VA
Landon Young OL Lafayette High School Lexington, KY
Malek Young DB Coconut Creek High School Coconut Creek, FL