MACON — Jake Fromm grew up and played high school ball 19 miles from the famous Hargray Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon where Kirby Smart was Monday. Fromm’s mother, Lee, works as a nurse in the Coliseum Medical Center, just a mile away across the Ocmulgee River. The Fromm’s family hunting lease is just 19 miles the other side of the hospital over in Plum Creek.
So Jake Fromm is a big deal around. Then again, Fromm is a big deal pretty much everywhere these days.
Here to speak at a small gathering of Georgia fans and Georgia Bulldogs Club members, Smart dutifully acknowledged his star quarterback — and the many other Central Georgia players who dot the Bulldogs’ roster.
“We’ve gotten a lot good players from here,” Smart said at the opening of his brief remarks before a crowd of a few hundred. “The guy who takes a snap from center and the guy who snaps it.”
Fromm, obviously, is the player who takes the snaps. Trey Hill, who was Fromm’s teammate at Houston County High in Warner Robins, is the center snapping the ball to him.
Hill played left tackle most of the time in high school, but did have occasion to snap to Fromm every once in a while. But now he’s the one replacement on Georgia’s heralded offensive line. He must replace graduated senior and NFL draft pick Lamont Gaillard.
About that, there’s some question. About Fromm, there is none.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior is considered an All-America candidate and Heisman Trophy hopeful as the Bulldogs head into their fourth season under Smart, once again as a Top 5 team. Fromm’s experience is part of the reason for such optimism. He has played in every game in his career, starting all but one and leading Georgia to a 24-5 record in the process.
This year, Fromm will be operating under a new offensive coordinator. James Coley succeeded Jim Chaney in the role after taking over as quarterbacks coach last year.
Smart thinks that is a good thing.
“I think we’ve got some more quarterback guys around (Fromm) with Coley working with him and he’s excited about that,” Smart said. “For him, it’s been a transition through the coordinator position where he’s kind of a sponge, he’s got more of an opinion now. He understands what we’re trying to do offensively.”
Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards with 54 touchdowns and 13 interceptions at this point. The thought is the Bulldogs will throw the ball more under Coley, who did that as coordinator at Miami and Florida State.
Smart believes Fromm can handle whatever Coley can dish out, and will also have a say-so on what the Bulldogs do as well.
“Any time you’ve got a three-year starter, he can give you input on things he likes about the offense, things he dislikes and things he thinks he can be successful,” Smart said. “That input is helpful, it’s always helpful.”