Kirby Smart on Justin Fields: ‘The Alpha Dog of the Alpha Dogs’
ATHENS — Kirby Smart walked off the practice field on Wednesday afternoon, when Jake Fromm was leading the team in preparation for the Rose Bowl, only for the head coach to be hit with questions about the guy who will try to take Fromm’s job next year.
Such is the nature of the new early signing period. And Smart understood it. Fields, a five-star recruit at Harrison High School, had signed earlier in the day.
That puts Smart and the Bulldogs in the enviable position of having to decide next year between Fields, who some consider the best recruit in the country, regardless of position, and Fromm, who led Georgia to an SEC championship and College Football Playoff appearance. (And that’s not including Jacob Eason, the five-star recruit two years ago who was this year’s starter before losing his job only to injury.)
So why did Smart pursue Fields when he already had Fromm and Eason?
“Because you never know,” Smart said, grinning. “It’s almost like why did we recruit Jake Fromm when we had Jacob Eason? Because you never know. And I think back, aren’t you glad we did? …
“There’s only so many guys like Justin Fields. That’s a talented young man. And so is Jake Fromm. And I’ll bet you anything that Justin Fields makes Jake Fromm better, and Jake Fromm makes Justin Fields better. And Jacob Eason makes both those guys better. So you start looking at the dynamic, competition breeds success. We’ve sold this program on competition, and I think those guys are going to make each other better.”
This was the first time Smart was allowed, per NCAA rules, to talk about Fields. Asked about him, the first word he uttered was “exciting.”
Then Smart mentioned seeing Fields at the recruiting events such as the Elite 11 and The Opening – and that Fields stood out.
“He was one of the Alpha Dogs of the Alpha Dogs,” Smart said. “He took over The Opening. He won a lot of games. He made throws. And he did it all while keeping a calm, cool, presence that is kind of unmatched. He’s never real high, never real low. He’s really exciting. He can win the game with his feet but he can win the game with his arm.”
Fields has not decided yet whether he will enroll early. He said Wednesday he plans to decide next week. Fromm and Eason each enrolled early.
“He’s not afraid of competition,” Smart said of Fields. “He’s been very adamant that he wants to come in and compete. And he knows we’re going to give him the opportunity to do that.”