The morning of January 2nd 2019 was a grim one for Dawg fans. Not only did they have the 28-21 Sugar Bowl loss to Texas to deal with but the departure of 5 star, all world quarterback prospect Justin Fields seemed inevitable at that point. Fields had been used sparingly during the 2018 season and his lack of play as well as how he was utilized caused some concern pertaining to his return to Georgia for the 2019 season. Sure enough, two days later Justin announced his intentions via Twitter to transfer to Ohio State. The hope of having a dual threat, generational talent under center faded away and the future of the quarterback position post Jake Fromm was an uncertain one, or was it?
A couple of weeks earlier Georgia landed an unexpected commit at the quarterback position that pretty much solidified rumors of Fields not only transferring but Ohio State being his destination. Dwan Mathis, a 4 star quarterback out of Michigan flipped his commitment from Ohio State to Georgia on December 19th 2018 all but assuring Justin Fields was heading to the horseshoe. So with the recruiting prowess we have been accustomed to with this Georgia coaching staff, a bad situation seemed like it could be somewhat salvaged. Dwan was not as heralded as Justin Fields as a recruit but between his long frame, big arm, and speed he was definitely a prospect with a wealth of potential.
Just a month after Dwan Mathis committed to play at the University of Georgia he moved to Athens as an early enrollee. Every interview that was conducted with Dwan after his flip showed that he was eager to get to the classic city. You could tell this was a young man who believed in his ability as a quarterback and also saw opportunity due to the fact the quarterback depth chart was slim behind Jake Fromm. Georgia fans were able to see a glimpse of what Dwan could bring to the table in the 2019 Georgia spring game. Mathis finished the scrimmage going 15-28 for 113 yards and also hauled in a 39 yard touchdown reception from wide receiver Matt Landers. The throwing ability and tremendous athleticism were both on display giving Dawg fans optimism for what the Michigan native could bring to the table when given the opportunity. No one expected Dwan to beat out Jake but after seeing the athleticism he brought to the table it wasn’t crazy to think he could be used in a situational role for the 2019 season.
Just a month after his showing at the 2019 G-Day game, Dwan Mathis would experience the scariest curve ball of his life. After complaining of sinus pain to the Georgia football medical staff Mathis was rushed to the hospital where fluid build up was discovered around his brain, developing a cyst that could have potentially burst and been fatal. In a piece written by USA today, Dwan’s father credited the medical and coaching staff at Georgia for saving his son’s life and giving them assurance of his safety while they were over 700 miles away from the situation. Dwan Mathis was lucky to be alive, much less take another snap on the football field. The likelihood of playing another down for UGA was not great. However, as was displayed in his eagerness to come to Georgia and compete, one could have assumed that Dwan was not going to let this circumstance be anything but a minor set back.
It would have been easy for Dwan to pack it in, consider himself lucky to be alive and leave football in his rear view. Mathis knew returning to football was not a certainty and if there was a path to doing so it could be a long one. That didn’t stop him from continuing on his pursuit to play quarterback at UGA. With the uncertainty at quarterback due to Jake Fromm declaring and Mathis’s medical delimna, Kirby was forced to out source for quarterbacks over the last several months. Georgia picked up former Wake Forest signal caller Jamie Newman and most recently acquiring JT Daniels, the former 5 star recruit from USC. Both of these quarterbacks are players that many predict to play on Sundays and their move to Athens didn’t exactly construct a clear path for Dwan to become QB1. Combine that with the signing of 4 star recruit Carson Beck and the odds began to stack even higher for Dwan.
The rumors began to swirl. Many people began to speculate on the fate of Mathis assuming that his name could be in the transfer portal any minute. The QB room was loaded and Dwan was still in limbo medically. This past February Dwan was cleared to participate in practice and as of May he has been cleared for contact rendering him fully eligible for the 2020 QB race. Last Wednesday shock waves were sent through the Georgia fan base after the announcement of Jamie Newman’s decision to opt out. Newman was projected to be the starter and a huge piece of the puzzle for Georgia’s 2020 offense.
Since last weeks news it seems like the quarterback position may not have been as solidified as originally predicted. More and more credible reports are coming out depicting a QB battle that had both Dwan Mathis and JT Daniels right in the mix for the starting role. Every report I have read from the last week and a half has Dwan at the forefront of the competition and as of this past Saturday it was Mathis who was taking the bulk of the snaps with the first team offense in Georgia’s third pre season scrimmage. Nothing can be for certain as we know the tide can change in a quarterback battle in an instant but it currently appears that Dwan Mathis is slowly taking command of this team. It should come as no surprise. Between the tweets from teammates in the last few months singing his praises, his overall skill set, and the erratic departure of Newman it shouldn’t shock us that Mathis is making strides.
Dwan’s story has been nothing short of amazing thus far. Even if he never takes the reigns of Georgia’s offense you have to look at his resilience through all of this and be impressed. But if the reports we are hearing are accurate and in two weeks we see Dwan not only take the first snap against the Hogs in Fayetteville but go on to have an impressive season leading this new look Georgia offense, there may need to be a movie made about it.