ATHENS — Jake Fromm is entering his third season as Georgia’s quarterback. He’s started 28 games for Georgia and won 23 of those starts. He threw for 30 touchdowns a season ago and has become regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in college football.
But despite all he’s accomplished for Georgia, the junior quarterback is somehow going to have to top all of that in the 2019 season, as the expectation is to win a national championship. And he’ll have to do that with a much higher degree of difficulty in this season compared to last year.
The Bulldogs must replace their top five receiving leaders from a season ago. Fromm will also be learning a new offense, as James Coley takes over as the offensive coordinator. And the Bulldogs’ schedule figures to be much more difficult as Georgia hosts Notre Dame and Texas A&M while also traveling to Auburn.
And he’ll also be breaking in four new wide receivers this August, as freshmen George Pickens, Dominick Blaylock and Makiya Tongue all joined the program over the summer, along with graduate transfer Lawrence Cager.
Sounds like a stroll through North Campus for Fromm, right?
While the challenges around the junior quarterback might be tougher this season, he seems more at ease with what he’s trying to do for this football team.
“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Fromm said. “There is a smoother transition going into things of what to expect, what not to expect, how practice is going to run, and the offense. There is a lot of things to be comfortable with and a lot of things that I have to push myself to do great and be a leader in.”
Part of the reason for Fromm’s comfort comes from his intense levels of preparation. Whether it be watching film or setting up throwing sessions with Georgia’s wide receivers over the summer, Fromm puts in a lot of work on the front end, so that he’s prepared for what is to come on the back end.
“He’s a constant grinder,” Coley said. “So, it’s always inspiring to go in there when it really matters to that person. Being with really great quarterbacks and really good quarterbacks- the good ones do have that they have that passion for the game. And he’s passionate. The constant strive for him is to bring it every day, which he does, and to get better every day so that one day become great.”
Senior wide receiver Tyler Simmons added that no one spends more time in the football complex than Fromm. Junior offensive lineman Ben Cleveland even said that Fromm takes the same studious approach to hunting, an activity the two like to do when they can.
And for those young wide receivers, it looks like that attitude has rubbed off on them already.
“They’ve come a long way compared to me, I didn’t learn the offensive much my freshman year, but they’ve taken it in full on,” Simmons said. “They’ve met more with Jake, they’ve met more with coaches they’ve taken that time to get the timing down with the quarterbacks and bought into the program.”
Simmons is Georgia’s leading returning wide receiver from the 2018 season, where he had a total of nine catches. But he’s also probably the safest bet to be a regular contributor at the position this season, given his experience to go along with his skills as a blocker.
When Simmons met with the media on Tuesday night he made it clear that the group has heard what people have had to say about the shortcomings in the room. Kirby Smart mentioned that even he has let the room know about the outside of the perception of it.
But Simmons also reiterated what a lot of people have said about the wide receiver room as well; that there is a lot of talent in it.
Pickens was a 5-star prospect in the 2019 recruiting cycle, and Blaylock narrowly missed out on being one as well. Demetris Robertson had 50 catches in his freshman season at Cal, while Cager had 6 touchdowns catches for Miami a season ago.
So Fromm does have some pieces to work with. Smart has echoed that sentiment as well.
The issue isn’t the lack of talent when it comes to the position. It’s the lack of real experience.
“We need to get those guys touches as much as possible so they get some confidence,” Smart said during his press conference on Friday. “Because the biggest thing they’re missing is experiencing.”
This will be Fromm’s third fall camp. It will be his second as the starting quarterback. He’s fully aware of the talent he has surrounding him. And he knows that at the end of the day — despite the lack of experience at wide receiver — how great the Georgia offense will ultimately be will fall on his shoulders.
“I want to get better on offense,” Fromm said. “I want to make this team the best team that I can make and that starts during camp.”
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