Friday May 24th, 2024 9:20AM

Stockton embracing QB2 role as he tries to emulate Beck's rise

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

ATHENS, Ga. — If imitation is the sheerest form of flattery, then Gunner Stockton is making no bones about the fact he wants to be the next Carson Beck.

The redshirt-sophomore quarterback from Rabun County currently is in his third season now at Georgia. By all expectations, he will be QB2 behind Beck, who had a breakout season under center for the Bulldogs in 2023.

And he said he is more than willing to follow in the footsteps of Beck, who first bided his time behind Stetson Bennett, and then got his shot last year after patiently waiting his turn on the deep chart.

“Carson is the perfect example,” Stockton said about waiting your turn and learning. “He's shown resilience; he's waited his turn. I mean he's worked hard. He's proven that he's one of the best quarterbacks, and it's just a privilege to kind of take from him and just get to learn from him. It's pretty awesome.”

Stockton did not seem to be interested in changing locales despite knowing he is most likely only going to be used in mop-up duty if Beck has another stellar season.

“You can go to a lot of different places, but there's a lot of things that Georgia has that they can't offer,” he said. “At Georgia, you're going to win, so that's the biggest part.”

Stockton has always been a part of winning and success. After his four years leading Rabun County at quarterback, he stood second all-time on the Georgia high school passing list with 13,652 yards (he’s now third) and his 177 career touchdown passes is still the standard to beat. The 2020 team averaged 50.7 points/game that season. In 2021 he threw for 55 touchdowns, tied for third-most in Georgia history for a season.

But most Georgia fans didn’t get their first real look at Stockton until last year’s Orange Bowl. He was a dual threat in high school and showed off his skills as part of a 63-3 demolition of Florida State. Stockton was 6-of-10 passing for 96 yards, 2 TDs, and no interceptions. He ran 7 times for 46 yards in not quite an entire half of work.

He credits that on-field experience for helping push him closer to his goal of one day starting for the Bulldogs -- in much the same manner that Beck has done.

“That was awesome. Leading up to (the Orange Bowl) I got a bunch of reps, and just like this spring I've gotten a couple ones reps, twos, and a bunch of threes,” he said. “I got a bunch of reps. And, I think it's valuable, like, I try to cherish it and just make the most of it."

Now, he said he’s going into his third G-Day game with more of a game plan and direction and what he wants to accomplish.

"I just want to show everybody that I can play. That's what I tried to do in the Orange Bowl, and I thought I did,” he said. “I’m going to take this opportunity just to go play a game, that's the way I look at it.

"Just be productive. But at the end of the day, I want my team to win no matter what side I'm on. Red or black, whatever I can attribute to that role of winning would probably make me happy."

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