ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has announced he will forego his senior season and enter his name into the 2020 NFL Draft.
Go Dawgs and God Bless pic.twitter.com/hz0qxJLumE
— JakefromStateFromm (@FrommJake) January 8, 2020
Fromm’s decision comes as somewhat of a surprise because he is not projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick, and the NFL combine is not likely to help him raise his stock.
Fromm enjoyed a decorated career with the Bulldogs, 35-7 as the starter after Jacob Eason was injured in the first game of the 2017 opener. Fromm leaves the college ranks as the most experienced quarterback in the nation with 42 consecutive starts.
Georgia is expected to look to the graduate transfer ranks for a quarterback with Fromm leaving.
The Bulldogs have only three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
Former walk-on Stetson Bennett is a tad undersized at 5-11, 190, and he played in just five games. Bennett was 20-of-27 passing for 260 yards, 2 TDs and an interception.
Redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis will go through spring drills and expects to have full clearance by next fall. Mathis had emergency brain surgery last May.
Carson Beck is an incoming freshman who will compete in spring drills.
Fromm, a Georgia team captain, finished the 2018 season with one of his best performances and a signature victory.
Fromm was 20-of-30 passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia’s 26-14 win over No. 7 Baylor in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Fromm ranks fourth on UGA’s all-time passing list with 8,224 yards. His 78 career touchdowns are second on the all-time list.
Fromm led the Bulldogs to a 12-2 mark this season and made history along the way.
Fromm became just the second quarterback in the ranks to start in three consecutive SEC Championship Games. Florida’s Danny Wuerffel also accomplished the feat at Florida from 1994-96, though Wuerffel split repetitions with Terry Dean during the 1994 season.
Fromm’s decision has been among the most-discussed topics in recent Georgia football history.
A homegrown Bulldog from Warner Robins, Fromm has a strong fan following, and many who hoped he’d return and lead another championship run.
Georgia had its share of challenges in the passing game last season, but Smart and coordinator James Coley explained Fromm was not as at fault as it might have appeared.
The Bulldogs were dealing with a depleted and injury-riddled receiving corps after losing their top five pass catchers from the season before. Four of those players — three underclassmen — departed for the 2019 NFL Draft, and another was dismissed following spring drills.
Georgia lost starting slot receiver Kearis Jackson to a broken hand in the opening game, and in Week Two, starter Tyler Simmons suffered a shoulder subluxation that required he wear a restrictive shoulder brace.
Demetris Robertson, another starter, battled a hamstring injury all season.
The breaking point was when Miami graduate transfer Lawrence Cager, who had been playing with a separated shoulder, was knocked out of the South Carolina game by halftime with injured ribs.
The Bulldogs fell 20-17 in overtime to the Gamecocks after Rodrigo Blankenship missed a second field goal attempt in overtime. It was UGA’s only loss to an unranked opponent in Fromm’s career.
Cager battled back from his shoulder and rib injuries to turn in a 7-catch, 132-yard performance as Fromm ran his record to 3-0 against Florida with a 24-17 win.
But Cager was unable to play a full game after that, and he was ultimately lost for the season to an injured ankle before the Georgia Tech game.
In the first quarter of the SEC Championship Game, freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a season-ending knee injury, and the Bulldogs fell to No. 1-ranked LSU.
Fromm, however, stayed positive throughout the bowl preparation. It led to a memorable performance against a tested Baylor defense.
Fromm connected with Sugar Bowl MVP George Pickens 12 times for 175 yards and a TD.
Former Bulldogs’ quarterback legend Eric Zeier said if Fromm returned, Georgia could have had a “prolific” offense in 2020.
But Fromm decided his best option would be in the NFL ranks.
Fromm is the fifth underclassmen on offense to declare for the NFL draft, joining offensive tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, offensive guard Solomon Kindley and tailback D’Andre Swift.
The defensive trend has been for players to stay.
Defensive backs Richard LeCounte and Eric Stokes both announced they will come back to compete for the Bulldogs, as did defensive lineman Malik Herring and middle linebacker Monty Rice.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 20 to declare themselves eligible for the NFL draft. A list of underclassmen approved for entry will be sent to NFL teams on Jan. 24.
The NFL draft evaluation process includes the East-West Shrine Game (select players Jan. 18, St. Petersburg, Fla.) and the Senior Bowl (select players, Jan. 25, Mobile, Ala.).
The NFL combine takes place Feb. 24-March 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The University of Georgia will also hold a “Pro Day” combine in March, typically the week leading up to the start of spring drills.