Think about it, Georgia has two players on the team who threw a pass in a game last season, and only one is a quarterback.
Running back D’Andre Swift attempted one pass which fell incomplete. Wide receiver Terry Godwin attempted three passes during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The Dawgs have only two scholarship signal callers on the roster, but luckily they are former 5-star recruits Jake Fromm and freshman Justin Fields.
Fromm is the presumptive starter for Saturday’s game and Fields should see some game action as well. However, as we witnessed on the second series of the opening game last year, the backup is a heartbeat away from entering the game.
So who is waiting in the wings if the unimaginable happens? As of this moment, that would be 6-foot, 190 pound, freshman preferred walk-on, Matthew Downing.
Downing chose to walk on for UGA over scholarship offers from Southern Illinois and Montana State. During his high school career he played in 35 games at Alpharetta where he completed over 61 percent of his passes for 6,266 yards, 67 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He also rushed for 481 yards.
During his senior season for the Raiders, Downing threw for 2,569 yards and 24 touchdowns. He had a completion rate of 58.3 percent and threw just five interceptions. He also rushed 100 times for 386 yards and three touchdowns. With Downing under center, Alpharetta went 11-2 in 2017.
“I thought that Georgia was the best place for me,” Downing told the Gaiter SportsWire. “It provides a great family atmosphere with the best coaches in the country. We will be competing for a national championship every year. I couldn’t ask for more.”
So why does a young man with talent and a love of the game walk-on at Georgia, knowing playing time would be limited? Downing is an exceptional student and the academic reputation of Georgia certainly played a role in his decision. But the kid has confidence and expects to contribute on the field.
“I feel like I can bring great leadership, hard work, a will to do anything to win, and elite level of play. I think I can bring a lot to the UGA football program,” he said.
Behind Downing on the depth chart is redshirt freshman walk-on John Seter. The most likely emergency quarterbacks are wideout Terry Godwin, receiver Mecole Hardman and cornerback Tyrique McGhee, all who played some quarterback in high school. Defensive back Tray Bishop, who originally committed to Auburn as a quarterback, could potentially be an option as well.
For now, hopefully Georgia’s offensive line will keep both Fromm and Fields upright and Downing will have a chance to learn from two of the best.