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Depth chart breakdown: Quarterback
I won’t presume to speak for everyone, but I was not expecting a quarterback controversy at Georgia last season. In my mind, Jacob Eason cemented himself as the starter with his play as a freshman. I knew Jake Fromm was good — though I still didn’t know how good — I just thought Eason’s physical gifts, natural talent and an extra year with the playbook made him the better player. All things being equal, I thought it was Eason’s job to lose. Kirby Smart agreed.
Of course, all things were not equal. All it took was one play to change everything.
On his third drive of the season opener against Appalachian State, Eason scrambled to his right and landed awkwardly out of bounds, suffering a knee sprain that kept him out for three weeks. Fromm had never played a snap of college football, but as the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster, he got the job by default. And despite endless chatter about whether Eason could or would take the starting job back from Fromm for much of the season, no one ever found a good reason why he should. Fromm kept the offense humming and won games. There’s nothing more you can ask of your quarterback.
In the grand scheme of the cosmos, there is a chance I was right about the quarterback situation. Maybe Eason was/is better than Fromm. But Fromm’s excellent play in Eason’s absence made it a moot point. That’s why a QB controversy is always potentially around the corner when you only have two on scholarship, and both are All-Everything-type talents.
This is the situation we find Georgia in again this season. Eason transferred to Washington, and Fromm stepped into his former role as the incumbent starter coming off a stellar freshman year. (Though, to be fair, Fromm’s freshman season was better than Eason’s.) Meanwhile, 5-star freshman Justin Fields steps into Fromm’s shoes as the upstart rookie. Once again, I’m not expecting a QB controversy. But I’m no longer naive enough to ignore the possibility. If Fromm were to get injured, like Eason, Fields is good enough to step in and never give it up, like Fromm. Time is a flat circle. And all it takes is one play to change everything … again.
This is part of an ongoing series breaking down Georgia’s post-spring depth chart position-by-position. For links to the other posts in this series, check the bottom of this section.
- Jake Fromm (So.) — Although he didn’t put up eye-popping numbers (2,173 yards passing, 21 TDs), Fromm was poised beyond his years, perhaps his greatest quality. He was among the most accurate and efficient passers in the SEC. With running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel gone, Fromm becomes the centerpiece of the offense. He’s a year older, a season wiser and will be throwing to a receiving corps that’s growing up, too. More will be asked of Fromm this season, but you’d be foolish to doubt he can rise to the occasion after watching how he played last season.
- Justin Fields (Fr.) — Of the three 5-star quarterbacks Georgia has landed the last three years, Fields might be the most talented. He has the size, arm and skill you dream of in a QB, but Smart has also been complimentary of Fields’ intelligence and demeanor. In the short term, his mobility may be his greatest asset for the team. It’s been ages since Georgia had a truly mobile quarterback. Bringing in Fields to run some RPOs could be a dangerous wrinkle for the offense.
- Stetson Bennett (R-Fr.) — Coming in at a way distant third is Bennett. Listed at 6-foot, 172 pounds and wearing No. 22, Bennett looks nothing like a quarterback when he lines up in the backfield. Coaches have consistently been complimentary of the work Bennett does on the scout team, but if he sees any meaningful game action this season, something has gone terribly wrong.
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Kirby Smart inks 7-year extension
“As a young boy, I grew up in this great state dreaming of being a Bulldog,” Smart said in a statement released by Georgia. “To have been able to do that — first as a player and now as the head football coach — is beyond anything I ever dreamed. I do not take lightly the awesome responsibility of leading this program, and while I’m pleased with where we are as a program, I couldn’t be more excited about where we’re going in the future. You can rest assured that we will continue to work tirelessly to make Georgia football the best it can possibly be. Last, but not least, I want to express my gratitude and love for all our fans and thank them and the wonderful people of the state of Georgia for their tremendous support.”
Smart’s extension and raise come a few months after raises were secured for most of his staff, which will be paid $1.86 million more than it was in 2017. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Adam Sasser smacks 3 homers for Diamond Dogs
Adam Sasser, have yourself a night.
In Georgia baseball’s (31-14, 13-9 SEC) 10-6 win over Missouri on Thursday night in Columbia, Mo., the junior first baseman went 4 for 5 with 3 (THREE!) home runs — including a grand slam — and 6 RBI. Click this link for video of each of Sasser’s dingers.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 4, 2018
Chris Barnes to transfer
In the latest bit of attrition news, offensive/defensive lineman Chris Barnes announced plans to transfer out of the program.
“You have been with me on my journey and I’m grateful to you for everything,” Barnes wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for your support but after careful consideration and many conversations with my family and coaches I’ve made the decision to transfer from the University of Georgia. I’m grateful for the many lifetime memories I’ve created with my teammates, fans and the Athens community. I haven’t made a decision on where to continue my football career, but I am eager to explore all options.”
Barnes is the third Bulldogs player electing to transfer this spring, joining offensive lineman Pat Allen and linebacker Jaleel Laguins.
Check out this post from Jeff Sentell of DawgNation for an updated count on Georgia’s scholarship total.
Odds & Ends
- With setup as it is, Kirby Smart, other coaches the big winners in college athletics
- Georgia’s all-time best NFL draft class? The bar is not so high
- 5-star commit Jadon Haselwood recaps his wild Rose Bowl memory
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) May 3, 2018
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) May 3, 2018
“I don’t think they saw me.”
When your dog doesn't want to come inside😄 pic.twitter.com/WbUooRF7cw
— Gaml .y (@m_yosry2012) May 3, 2018
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