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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Georgia fans probably never thought they needed to hear what the coach of a high school team in Kentucky had to say about Jake Fromm.
Kevin Wallace has actually only seen Georgia’s new quarterback play one game. Ever.
But that was enough.
Wallace leads a Bowling Green High School team that’s pretty dog-gone good in its own right. His Purples went 15-0 this year, averaged a gaudy 48.5 points per game and won another state title.
His teams have gone 84-3 over the last six years. They’ve won five state titles. The nation’s best are tapped to be on the U.S. Army All-American coaching staff, too.
Wallace served as the offensive coordinator for the East team in Texas. We’ll let him take the reins of the story from here.
“The first night I got here I gave my quarterbacks a booklet of all of our route stuff,” Wallace said. “I knew it was going to be difficult to teach. We only had four real practices.”
Something came up the first day they hit the practice field.
“We are running a route,” Wallace said. “That’s not normally something we use back home. I got ready to run it and I was teaching progression off it and I got to the backside and I got the two routes mixed up.”
But another member of the team had his back. He was able to correct that.
It wasn’t one of his fellow All-American coaches. It was Fromm.
“Jake goes ‘Coach, I’m sorry but that’s not right here’ and then said ‘You had it the other way’ and I was like ‘Oh my goodness you know what you are right’ and he was right to say that,” Wallace said.
Fromm was handed that booklet on Sunday night. He already knew it by Monday morning.
“Think about this now,” Wallace said. “I hand it to him on Sunday night when he’s just getting here and he’s meeting everybody. I wouldn’t have expected him to go in and really study it. But this was just a nondescript route that was back in the back of the playbook. For him to know that, I thought that was a special thing.”
Fromm will do his homework. Even on the first day. When the team began installing things he was acting as another coach on the field and did not need extra help from the coaches.
“He had an idea of what everybody was supposed to do on Day 1,” Wallace said. “I don’t know that we had anybody else that did that. He’s got an ‘it’ factor to him. You see it on the first day you meet him and then you see it over and over again every day after that. It is not just that he has the charisma and all of the leadership. This young man’s knowledge of the game and understanding of the game is really special.”
That’s why he was essentially a lock to start the game by the second practice. Because he knew it and then he made sure that very few balls hit the ground when he had to rep those plays that were already ingrained in his head.
Fromm’s high school coach Von Lassiter has championed for awhile now that the new UGA freshman has a photographic memory. He’s told DawgNation that Fromm could be his offensive coordinator right now.
Wallace noticed all of that in one week.
“Any good quarterback is going to look like he has an offensive coordinator’s head in his body,” Wallace said. “But every great quarterback is going to have that plus a lot of talent plus that ‘It’ factor that I am talking about.”
That’s how he separated himself from Alabama 4-star signee Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson signee Hunter Johnson. Tagovailoa is the nation’s top-ranked dual-threat QB this year. Johnson is a 5-star that rates as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style passer.
Both were rated ahead of Fromm. Yet Fromm earned the start because of his preparation and then having the ability to take everything he knew to the field.
“Without a doubt,” Wallace said. “It is hard to differentiate the talent level of those three guys in such a short period of time. So the overriding factor was here’s the guy that kind of became the straw that stirred the drink during a week. So you want to start with that guy.”
Wallace stopped short of any projections. He said he wasn’t smart enough to do that because he didn’t know what Georgia has. He didn’t know that the Bulldogs have a future NFL Top 10 pick in Jacob Eason atop the depth chart.
Eason was a 5-star recruit in the U.S. Army All-American game last January, too.
“I do know one thing about that kid, though,” Wallace said. “Jake Fromm is going to be a success in life. I don’t know if it is going to be a football player or a peanut farmer yet. But whatever it is, he is going to have success.”
— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) January 7, 2017
Taking it to the field
Fromm completed 4 of his 7 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown. That scoring strike was a thing of beauty to FSU commit DJ Matthews that covered 76 yards.
There’s a thinking quarterback’s mindset to that one, too.
“That play was something we just drew up on the sideline,” Wallace said. “I told our quarterbacks to tell the ‘Arrow’ guys to run the wheel because it looked like we could get it. So it was not something I called from the sideline. I just reminded them about it one time. Jake Fromm was the one who told DJ to go on the wheel that time right there. I’m not going to take credit for it.”
— Ben Bolton (@BoltonSports) January 7, 2017
What did Fromm see there?
“I literally went over to him in the game and told him to run a Wheel,” Fromm said. “We knew we could get that against that coverage. That was it. I wasn’t in the game earlier but we were hitting slants on them for a little while and catching them in that zone coverage. That corner was biting hard on the slant and we just knew there was nobody behind him. He sailed the flat and took off down the sideline. All I had to do was stay in the pocket.”
Wallace gave Fromm a “10” rating for his football intelligence and also gave him a “10” for both his character and leadership ability.
“He has all the charisma to go anywhere and be the guy,” Wallace said. “A really dang good guy at that. But I also told him he’s going to have to compete to earn it. He’s going to have to compete in college football anywhere he goes.”
What I think happens in Athens
What happens when Fromm gets on the practice field in Athens? Competition? Guaranteed redshirt?
To be perfectly clear, my byline was on a lot of those pro-Jacob Eason stories as he moved to Athens this time last year, too. Incredible talent. Among the very best set of skills that has ever played at UGA.
I’ve said this a few times but it makes sense to include it here one final time. I think two things will happen eventually in Athens. I think Fromm will push Eason to be the very best college quarterback he can be or I think Fromm will beat him out.
That’s no dig at Eason and what he didn’t show on the field as a freshman. His frehsman year overall was better than anyone would have hoped for. because I think Fromm can or will be a lot better than him, too.
To be clear: I also don’t make that point because I think Fromm can or will be a lot better than him, too.
No one knows that yet. If they do, they are just trying to sound smart. That will have to be determined every day in spring and fall practice before anyone has a true glimmer of what that competition will be like between those two.
Fromm will bring it. Will he move the ball just as well as Eason in team periods? That’s the first step. When he does, how will Eason repsond? That’s the unknown.
The reason I feel that way is simple. That sort of competition is what should happen at great football programs.
The guy behind the starter is almost as good and he keeps the incumbent on his toes every practice day.
That is the culture at Alabama. That’s what has to happen for Kirby Smart at Georgia for the program to get to where DawgNation wants to see it go.
Georgia fans will recall a few precarious depth chart options behind big-time names like DJ Shockley, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray. Wouldn’t it have been great in a few select games or two to have a guy pushing the talented veteran starter who could come in and win a big game or two?
That could’ve been the difference in 1-2 losses per year in the Mark Richt era.
Here’s what I am pretty sure folks will be saying this time next year in Athens: The program hasn’t had two quarterbacks that talented on the depth chart at the same time since David Greene and Shockley in 2004.
Another scouting report from Wallace
Wallace said he really liked what the Bulldogs will have up front. He said that U.S. Army All-American lineman D’Antne Demery, Netori Johnson and Andrew Thomas all have a chance to be special.
But he saved another high level of praise for 4-star RB D’Andre Swift.
“Man, I really like ‘Dre’ because I think he has got some real power legs and can really run the ball well inside,” Wallace said.
A name you should most certainly know by now
Walton High sophomore WR Dominick Blaylock continues to turn heads. The no-doubt 5-star WR currently rates as the nation’s No. 3 WR in a stacked class for 2019.
That follows a prep career so far that has earned him First-Team Freshman All-American team and First-Team Sophomore All-American honors from Max Preps.
Blaylock recently settled on his Top 5 schools. His finalists are Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and UCLA.
He also went to the National Underclassman Combine and stood out. He was named the Offensive MVP at that prestigious event this year.
Walton's Dominick Blaylock was just named Offensive MVP of the 2017 Army All American National Combine. pic.twitter.com/luVRJS0p6K
— SCORE Atlanta (@scoreatlanta) January 7, 2017
Game to get on your radar
Blaylock will be a part of the Tru19 game on Jan. 15 that will be held at Grady Stadium. Georgia’s best prospects for the Class of 2019 will take on their peers from Texas.
The Class of 2019 in Georgia is loaded. There are almost as many highly-ranked players in Georgia this year in the early Top 100 rankings for those prospects as there are in Florida and Texas combined.
The best from Georgia will face the best from Texas and those players will be in town beginning on Jan. 13.
— Coach K Watson (@therealkwat) January 9, 2017