Despite being the lone early enrollee in Georgia's 2014 signing class, quarterback Jacob Park knows there is a high likelihood of a redshirt season.
He can live with that.
"Everybody comes in to play, but I'm just going to come in and do what I have to do to get better," Park said this week in his first meeting with reporters in Athens. "If I redshirt, that's great. If I get the No. 2 spot, that's great, but redshirting doesn't seem like a bad idea."
Georgia's tradition of redshirting quarterbacks under coach Mark Richt began with D.J. Shockley in 2001 and continued with Joe Tereshinski ('02), Blake Barnes ('04) and Joe Cox ('05). The streak was snapped in 2006, when heralded prospect Matthew Stafford enrolled early and won the starting job midway through his freshman year.
Redshirting resumed with Logan Gray in 2007 and Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger two years later.
The only other quarterback under Richt who didn't redshirt his first year was Hutson Mason, who signed in 2010 and was quickly thrust into the backup role behind Murray when Gray chose to transfer and Mettenberger was dismissed from the program. Mason eventually redshirted in 2012 and is the clear-cut starter this year, with Christian LeMay ('11), Faton Bauta ('12) and Brice Ramsey ('13) having redshirted in their first seasons since.
"It's more time to get to know everybody and to get some chemistry with the guys," Park said.
Park threw for 3,665 yards and 33 touchdowns this past season in leading Stratford High to South Carolina's Class AAAA Division II state title. The 6-foot-3, 202-pounder is from the same town -- Goose Creek -- as Bulldogs defensive back Tramel Terry, an early enrollee last year who redshirted.
Rivals.com and 247Sports.com rated Park as the No. 4 quarterback nationally in this year's class.
"I'm not sure you would design an entire offense around a lot of QB runs for him and making that the mainstay, but he can do it," Richt said. "He's a pretty athletic guy, and he will definitely keep people honest with some of the QB runs. He can also create by making people miss.
"He's got some strength about him, but he'll get stronger, obviously. He's got a lot of great habits, and we think he's going to be good."
Park considers his arm strength average right now for a college quarterback and said his running ability improved greatly this past year. Stratford apparently lost a lot of starters up front after Park's junior season, so he didn't have much time in the pocket during his final go-round.
Georgia's only scholarship player to wear jersey No. 7 since Stafford was former tight end Orson Charles, but it's Park's number now.
"I'm no Stafford," he said.
Georgia's home game with Georgia Southern for the 2016 season has been moved up to 2015. The Bulldogs hosted the Eagles, who are moving this year to the Bowl Subdivision, in 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, winning every matchup by at least 20 points.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...