It has been quite a while since Georgia had a true dual-threat quarterback at its disposal.
The last time the Bulldogs had one was in 2005, when D.J. Shockley was entering his final season. Shockley waited patiently behind David Greene, a pro-style passer, while seeing a series or two in many games. But in his fifth year on campus, the time finally came for Shockley to start.
It was a season to remember for the Bulldogs, with Shockley leading Georgia to an SEC Championship.
Since Shockley’s lone year as a starting quarterback, Georgia has not had a true dual-threat quarterback on its roster. Sure, Logan Gray
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Georgia’s coaching staff will hope that changes soon, considering the level of attention the Bulldogs have placed on Harrison quarterback Justin Fields. Fields is considered not only the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, but the No. 1 overall recruit by 247Sports.com and ESPN.
Shockley said landing Fields would be a major step for the program to take.
“I’ve seen the highlights on him and he’s a talented dude,” Shockley said. “In this day and age, where d-linemen are running 4.5s and 4.4s, you need to move. He has the arm strength and has the athleticism. I think he would fit perfectly in this system and in this league. He’s a talented kid. I hope he comes to Georgia.”
When Shockley was at Georgia, he ran former head coach Mark Richt’s pro-style scheme but had the ability to run if needed. In his lone season starting as a senior, Shockley totaled 322 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
While Shockley had the green light to take off running, he was a talented passer and accounted for 2,588 yards and 24 touchdowns through the air. He only tossed five picks in 2005.
With the advent of run-pass option plays, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and company would likely adjust the offense to suit Fields’ skill set, if he were to join the program. But from what Shockley has seen, Fields is the type of quarterback who can fit any scheme coaches throw his way.
“I think he’s talented enough to adapt to either system,” Shockley said. “Obviously, the RPOs are big. The spread is a big part of college football now. But also, I think he could get under center and do some play-action. When Eason first got here no one thought he could get under center either. Obviously he struggled a little bit at it but as the season went on, he got better and better.
“Justin is a kid who, right now, can adapt to any type of offense and be successful in it. He’s a smart kid, I’ve heard that. His athleticism is one that you look at it and say, ‘Wow, he can overcome a lot and do a lot of special things.’”
It remains to be seen when exactly Fields makes a final decision. A previous pledge to Penn State, Fields re-opened his recruitment with his four finalists all residing in the Southeast region of the country. Along with Georgia, Fields is considering Auburn, Florida and Florida State. Florida, however, picked up a commitment from five-star quarterback Matt Corral over the weekend, which would seemingly take Fields off of the board.
Fields has a lot to consider with Georgia, Auburn and Florida State. He reportedly has a strong connection with former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, with the Tigers’ offense being a statistical machine with the right quarterback. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is well-known for developing his quarterbacks.
Georgia can sell early playing time in a tailored package since Fields’ threat to run is something the other two five-star quarterbacks on the roster – Eason and Jake Fromm – don’t possess.
Shockley is among those who believe Fields will be the real deal at the next level and is certainly hopeful that his alma mater lands him by the end of his recruitment.
“Actually having a dual-threat kid that Georgia hasn’t had in a long time, I think it would bode well for the Dogs moving forward,” Shockley said.