untung99.biz: Stetson Bennett college timeline Sony Michels retirement puts old Rams rookies age in perspective

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Stetson Bennett IV is finally getting ready to play in the NFL after what seemed like one of the longest college football careers of all time.

The Rams selected the Georgia quarterback in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft in the hopes that he can develop into a quality backup behind Matthew Stafford. And if he makes strides in that area, the team could ultimately trust him as the successor to another Georgia great.

That Bennett is already in his rookie season will surprise very few. After all, he spent six years in college, exhausting his five years of NCAA eligibility and even playing at a junior college for a year to hone his craft.

Now, he will debut in the NFL at age 25. That makes him just 10 months younger than Lamar Jackson, who has already played five seasons, won an MVP award and signed a contract that will make him one of the highest-paid players in NFL history.

While the Bennett vs. Jackson comparison is a fun one, there remains an even better one between Bennett and former first-round pick Sony Michel. The two were actually together for one year at Georgia and were set to be Rams teammates in 2023.

However, Michel decided to retire this offseason at age 28. That put an end to his five-year NFL career, which transpired in its entirety before Bennett, 25, ever played an NFL snap.

MORE: Best NFL comparisons for Stetson Bennett, from Matt Moore to Johnny Manziel

Here’s what to know about Bennett and Michel’s journeys, which crossed paths a couple of times during their respective careers.

Stetson Bennett college timeline vs. Sony Michel’s career timeline

2017 — Georgia beginnings and ends

Stetson Bennett IV walks onto the team at Georgia after being a two-star recruit coming out of high school. He had one FBS scholarship on the table — from Middle Tennessee State — but opted to play for the Bulldogs instead. He does not take a snap during his freshman season.

Meanwhile, Sony Michel is in the process of starring during his senior season at Georgia. He co-leads the team’s backfield alongside Nick Chubb, generating 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns on just 156 carries. Michel’s strong performance helps Georgia achieve a 13-2 record and propels him up big boards in advance of the 2018 NFL Draft.

2018 — Jones College and a Super Bowl champion

Bennett famously leaves Georgia after one season after being completely buried on the quarterback depth chart behind Jake Fromm and Justin Fields. He needs playing time and finds it at Jones College — a junior college in Ellisville, Miss. — where he throws for 1,840 yards and 16 touchdowns in one season.

As for Michel, he is selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft and immediately becomes a big part of their backfield rotation. He handles 209 carries for 931 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie before adding 336 yards and six more touchdowns in the postseason. The Patriots win Super Bowl 53 over the Rams giving Michel his a title in his first NFL season.

MORE: Why Stetson Bennett is called ‘The Mailman’

2019 — Return to Georgia and a 1,000-yard back

Bennett considers joining Louisiana’s program but ultimately transfers back to Georgia, which is in need of quarterback depth after Fields transfers to Ohio State. He spends the season as the backup to Fromm and completes 20 of 27 passes for 260 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in limited action.

Still with the Patriots, Michel enjoys the most productive regular season of his NFL career. He totals 1,006 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns, numbers that both represent career-best marks, but the Patriots’ offense fizzles as the season goes on. They are eliminated in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL playoffs at the hands of the Titans; that defeat sparks the end of the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick pairing, but Michel remains as a key backfield weapon for the team.

2020 — First Georgia starts and an injury-plagued campaign

Touted transfer Jamie Newman opts out of the 2020 college season at Georgia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which indirectly opens up playing time for Bennett. He begins the year as the backup to D’Wan Mathis, but he is inserted into the lineup after Mathis struggles. Ultimately, USC transfer JT Daniels — a sought-after recruit — takes over for Bennett, who makes five starts. The former walk-on finishes the season completing 55.5 percent of his passes for 1,179 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

Michel endures his worst professional season to date, struggling with various injuries, including one that keeps him on the PUP list until Aug. 26. He later deals with an in-season quadriceps injury that lands him on IR for all of October. During that time, he is also placed on the reserve/COVID list. As a result of Michel’s absence, Damien Harris takes over as the team’s running back and Michel makes just six starts. He runs for 449 yards and a touchdown on just 79 carries across nine total games played.

MORE: How Stetson Bennett played college football through his age-25 season

2021 — Breakout season and a trade to the Rams

As a fifth-year senior, Bennett finally breaks through. He begins the season as Daniels’ backup but quickly earns the right to play ahead of him. As a result, he throws for 2,862 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while showing off good mobility (259 yards and a touchdown on 59 runs). He helps guide Georgia to a national championship victory over Alabama to complete a 14-1 season and one of the best in Bulldogs history.

Michel gets a fresh start after fading in New England. He is traded to the Rams for fifth- and sixth-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft and puts together a solid, bounce-back season. He records 845 yards and four touchdowns on the ground while setting career-high marks as a receiver (21 catches, 128 yards and one touchdown). Michel runs for just 80 yards on 26 carries during the Rams’ Super Bowl run, but he earns his second Super Bowl ring after Los Angeles beats the Bengals 24-21 in Super Bowl 56.

2022 — Second national championship and a career-worst year

Bennett is granted a sixth year of eligibility as part of the NCAA’s COVID policy that granted impacted players an extra year of eligibility. He improves upon his success as a first-year starter, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,128 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushes for 10 scores while leading the Bulldogs to a 15-0 record. He finishes fourth in the Heisman Trophy race, too.

Georgia destroys TCU in the national championship 65-7 with Bennett accounting for six total touchdowns. Bennett is taken off the field to a standing ovation, having led Georgia to new heights all while establishing himself as a legitimate developmental quarterback prospect for the NFL.

Michel decides to play for the cross-town Chargers after becoming a free agent but hardly plays for them. He totals just 159 scrimmage yards on 45 total touches in 10 games. He also fails to record a touchdown despite averaging five per year in his first four NFL seasons and the Chargers miss the playoffs.

MORE: How Stetson Bennett’s speed, athleticism helped him in 2023 NFL Draft process

2023 — Rams draft pick and NFL retirement

The Rams make Bennett the 128th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and the seventh quarterback selected overall. He joins the roster as the only backup to fellow Bulldog Matthew Stafford and will get a chance to work alongside quarterback guru Sean McVay. This creates optimism about his NFL future.

Originally, Michel also was expected to be a part of the Rams after signing with them as a free agent. However, he instead decides to retire. That brings his career to an end after five years, 779 carries, 3,243 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns and two Super Bowl victories.

The two unfortunately missed an opportunity to team up again. Even so, the whole situation is a good reminder that Bennett had one of the longest college football careers of all time.