ATHENS – Like most football teams, Georgia practices certain situations, and one of them is the two-minute drill. When Jake Fromm is running the offense in that drill, defensive back J.R. Reed has noticed something.
“He always seems to find a way to win it,” Reed said. “I just think he’s got it in him. That’s what I think. It’s just that ‘it’ factor.”
Fromm may not be as tall as Jacob Eason, and wasn’t as heralded a recruit. But with Eason’s knee injury in Georgia’s season opener, Fromm is now the starter for at least a few weeks. That means a starting debut at Notre Dame, at night, on national television.
There are few around the team who seem to think Fromm can’t handle it.
“If you guys knew how well this guy prepares, as a student of the game, even in the summertime in seven-on-seven,” senior linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “The guy is the real deal.”
Ever since Fromm’s impressive debut Saturday against Appalachian State, when he sparked the offense to 31 points off the bench, more than a few Georgia fans have opined that their team will actually be better off with Fromm at the helm. Cooler heads will counter that it’s way too early to say that.
Fromm’s own teammates, while not discounting Eason, sure sound confident in the new guy, who they praise for his intangibles, including his very vocal leadership.
“He’s very talkative, but it’s all meaningful words out there,” Wims said. “He’s a field general. A true field general. At first I was shocked how fast he picked it up as a freshman, but now that he’s been doing it so long I’m not shocked at all.”
Wims caught Fromm’s lone touchdown pass last Saturday, a 34-yarder in the second quarter. It looked like an error by Fromm, heaving a ball downfield into double coverage, Wims saving him by making a spectacular play. But Wims called it a “perfect throw,” because the quarterback gave the receiver a chance to make a play.
“His locker is right next to mine, and I talk to him all the time. I think he just trusted and believed in me, just like I trust and believe in him,” Wims said.
All of this isn’t to say that Fromm will be the next great Georgia quarterback, or even keep his job when Eason’s ready to return. The things being said about him Monday, those intangibles, were the same type of things Faton Bauta’s teammates said prior to his lone college start, against Florida in 2015.
Still, there was no doubt the praise for Fromm, as it was for Bauta, was genuine.
“He has a large grasp of the offense,” Wims said. “He understands it conceptually inside and out.”
Fromm, not available to the media because he’s a freshman, was actually committed for a time to Alabama when Kirby Smart was the defensive coordinator there. When Smart was hired as Georgia’s head coach, he quickly turned his attention to flipping that commitment.
At the Macon Touchdown Club in the spring of 2016, Fromm was announced as an award-winner, and as an Alabama commitment. Many in the crowd booed, but Smart, sitting on the dais, grinned slightly, as if he knew something.
Eighteen months later, Fromm is Smart’s quarterback entering one of the most anticipated games in recent memory.
“Jake is a gamer,” Smart said Monday. “He is a kid that grew up around the game. I look at him and compare him to a coach’s son, a football junkie. He likes it. He loves being around it. He’s always cheering and fired up out there. Every time he makes a good throw or a good play in practice he’s jacked and excited for the kid who made the play as he is for himself.
“As a defensive coach you may see him cheering and think that he’s rubbing it in, but that’s just who he is.”