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Freshman Faces: Gunner Stockton

Quarterback Gunner Stockton became a Georgia high school football legend during his time at Rabun County High School; he has similar aspirations with the Bulldogs.

Quarterback Gunner Stockton became synonymous with Georgia high school football history this past season when he set the record for touchdowns in a career.

Stockton has made headlines since he became a freshman at Rabun Country High School in Northeast, Georgia. Head coach Kirby Smart took his helicopter to Rabun to visit Stockton at fourteen, demonstrating how highly Smart thinks of Stockton.

His recruitment process was highly unorthodox: Stockton initially committed to South Carolina to play for head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo — whose father actually taught Gunner Stockton how to throw a football. South Carolina parted ways with Muschamp during the 2020 season and eventually with Mike Bobo, which caused Stockton to re-open his recruitment.

Two weeks later, Stockton committed to Georgia and effectively shut his recruitment down. There were never any rumblings of him flipping to another school, and it seemed that he was planning to be a Georgia Bulldog no matter what.

Stockton played in the Adidas All-American Bowl before packing up his things and moving into his dorm room in Athens. Reports indicate that Stockton has moved in and is with the team for good, meaning he is officially a member of the red and black.

He is walking into one of the most crowded quarterback rooms in the nation. The room features quarterbacks such as Stetson Bennett, Brock Vandagriff, and Carson Beck, all of which talented individuals this staff believes in.

That never appeared to factor into Stockton's decision. He loves to compete and wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog, so he would join the program no matter what.

Former Rabun County head coach Jaybo Shaw praised Stockton many times publicly, commending him for his presence and positive attitude. After Stockton's sophomore season, Shaw spoke to Dawgs Daily and had strong things to say about him.

"Gunner is just one of those special players that doesn't come around very often. I'm very fortunate that I get to be around him every day and that I get to coach him. As good of a player that he is, he's an even better teammate and a better person. He makes everybody around him better, including me. Just a very rare, rare talent, especially at the age he is. He's got such a bright future ahead of him."

His game has shades of Cleveland Browns' quarterback Baker Mayfield. Both have strong arms and can fit balls into tight windows while being plus athletes. However, what sets them apart is their ability to command a room and rally teammates around them.

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No one can say enough positive things about Stockton, whether it be his coaching staff, teammates, or school faculty. Many confirmed that players at the ADidas All-American Bowl gravitated towards Stockton and appeared to be everyone's quarterback.

He may push others in the room with recent departures and also may have to ride the bench for several seasons. However, Stockton will be a starting quarterback in college and will be a good one at that.

Here is what Smart had to say about his prized recruit that he has been chasing for the better part of four years.

"The recruitment of Gunner was really interesting. I’ve known Gunner since he was a kid. I’ve known his dad for a long time when his dad hosted me on a visit to Georgia Southern. Tremendous character. I don’t know if you could raise a finer young man. Of the attention-seeking people, he’s never done."

Here's what SI All-American Recruiting Analyst and Dawgs Daily lead editor Brooks Austin had to say about Stockton: 

Feet set, pocket clean, vision clear, I don't think there's a more accurate quarterback in the 2022 recruiting cycle. He throws with touch, has an immense amount of horsepower from all angles, and having seen him throughout high school, his best setting is an actual game setting. Not routes on air. Though there's been a constant theme around Stockton at events like this one that stands out most about Stockton. Just watching how much other players gravitate towards him. Seems as if he's everyone's quarterback, not just Georgia's quarterback. 

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