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Gunner Stockton unfazed by potential addition to Georgia quarterback room

Kirby Smart has not been shy about wanting Georgia to get to four scholarship quarterbacks for the 2024 season. Another addition might mean heightened competition for backup Gunner Stockton, but to hear the redshirt sophomore tell it, such a move wouldn't bother him at all.

Stockton addressed a potential addition on Tuesday and his approach when it comes to being a quarterback at Georgia. While Stockton clearly wants his opportunity to run the Bulldogs' offense, he made it clear that he understood if the program added another quarterback to the fold.

"Coach Smart has always said he wants four quarterbacks. Four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, and that's probably what it should be at the University of Georgia," Stockton said. "As a quarterback, why [wouldn't you] want to come here? It should be a battle, a competition. It's awesome."

The Bulldogs have swung and missed a few times in recent months in hopes of pushing their scholarship QB number to four. 

Georgia was in line to sign two quarterbacks in the 2024 class until five-star Dylan Raiolaflipped his commitment from the Bulldogs to Nebraska in December. The Bulldogs tried unsuccessfully to flip eventual Florida Statesignee Luke Kromenhoek before turning their attention to the transfer portal, where they landed former UNLV starter Jayden Maiava.

Maiava's tenure as a Bulldog didn't last long. After committing to Georgia on Jan. 10, Maiava changed his mind and pledged to USC instead. His flip-flop left Georgia with three scholarship quarterbacks this spring: Stockton, starter Carson Beck, and true freshman Ryan Puglisi.

While those unsuccessful attempts to add another quarterback were disappointing for the Bulldogs, it meant a lot of reps for Stockton this spring.

Stockton explained that he started spring practice without throwing a single incompletion in the first padded practice and has tried to build off that performance through the rest of the spring. He said he's been focused on improving his play in the pocket and trying to develop across the board, a task he said is made easier by offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's help.

Smart said last week that Stockton's growth this spring has been evident.

"I've seen this progression with Gunner that like, he's getting better each and every practice," Smart said. "He has, every now and then, a mistake you can't have at that position. The good thing is, you can ask him after the play, and I always ask him, What did you see? What was the coverage?' He gives the right answer, so he's seeing the right things. But he's got to continue to develop and grow. That's a hard position to play. He's still trying to master that position."

Stockton stepped up as Georgia's backup for last year's Orange Bowl and is now in position to be the backup to Beck throughout the upcoming season. Stockton said Beck's patience while at Georgia serves as the perfect example for him, and Stockton added it was a privilege to get to learn behind him.

Stockton said his goal for this season is to continue learning behind Beck and to prove he's up for the challenge if something were to happen to Beck. Stockton is yet another Georgia quarterback who could've left in search of greener pastures, but he made it clear such a move doesn't make much sense to him.

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

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