NEW YORK - Most people like to know where they were and what they were doing during special occasions. A person goes out of their way to make it special when proposing, so the moment can be remembered for ever. Parents and families bring out multiple devices to catch every single moment of their child's first birthday party. Fans of the national champion Georgia Bulldogs know exactly where they were and what they were doing on January 10th, 2022 when Stetson Bennett led the Georgia Bulldogs to their first national championship in 40 years with a 33-18 victory over Alabama.
On Friday in New York, Bennett recalled where he was when he found out that he was a Heisman Trophy finalist. He was actually getting ready to accept another award, the Burlsworth Trophy. According to their website the trophy is given to “College football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on”:
"The Burlsworth Trophy was first awarded in 2010 and is presented each year to “College football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on”. The trophy is presented to a young man who embodies the values that Brandon Burlsworth stood for. Brandon was a walk on football player at the University of Arkansas and completed his college career as an All-American and the 63rd overall pick in the NFL draft. He was the first razorback football player in history to complete his masters degree before playing his final college game. Tragically, he was killed in a auto accident just days after the draft. The Burlsworth Trophy is presented by the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation at the annual award show each December."
So what exactly does one do and say when finding out about one of the biggest moments of their life in the middle of a crowded auditorium, waiting to accept another award?
"Knox, my little brother, told me. He came up and grabbed my arm and I could see it in his face and I knew what it was,” Bennett recalled. “I knew of course when the nomination was coming out. Of course, I’d like to go because that would be pretty cool. So when he told me, it’s hard to have a thought. It was tough to take it in because I was in the middle of the Burlsworth and I don’t want to celebrate some other award while I’m there. But it’s the Heisman Trophy, right? A lot of emotion. I’ve had a little bit more time now to think about it and how special this is.”
Bennett was asked if he'd ever dreamed of winning the Heisman.
“I was telling these guys earlier, no I didn’t. I don’t know if that was because I’m from South Georgia, I went to a 3-A, I walked on at UGA, you know all these stories. I don’t know if I could grasp that I would be in a position to do so. Or I think it’s more a huge honor and it’s very important, but to me in the moment I was always, ‘I’m trying to keep my job. I’m trying to win this game on Saturday. I’ve got to do all this stuff.’ It’s tough to worry about more than just that because that’s tough to do. So probably a mixture.”
At least one member of the Bulldog coaching staff thought that there might be a chance for Bennett to make it this far.
“I don’t think I ever thought about it - I never really entertained the thought,” Bennett said. “I think Buster (Faulkner) told me preseason, “We’ve got faith in you, this might happen if we go.” I think I just heard it and went ‘Ah yeah,'" as if the offensive quality control staff member was just building him up before an important season.
Whether Bennett believed Faulkner at the time and whether or not anyone believed it was a possibility, Stetson Fleming Bennett IV is a Heisman Trophy finalist and nobody will ever be able to say any different.
photo from The Heisman Trophy Trust