The question was simple.
UGA quarterback commit (and recent Elite 11 selection) Jake Fromm was given five imaginary gold coins. He could trade each one of them in for a top uncommitted recruit that he most wanted to join him in the Class of 2017 at UGA.
Fromm, as he’s known to do, went deep with his targets.
He named the nation’s No. 1 athlete, the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker, the nation’s No. 2 running back plus a nearly 6-foot-6 receiver who could high point his throws in the end zone at Sanford Stadium. His fifth pick? That was a nearby pass rusher he’ll make sure to know where he’s lined up on every play when his Houston County team faces Mary Persons in the season opener this fall.
Fromm’s Top 5 targets
5-star RB Cam Akers (Clinton High School / Clinton, Miss.)
Ranking: Nation’s No. 2 RB and No. 16 player overall
UGA’s chance: Akers has UGA among his Top 10 schools. He’s considered to be one of Georgia’s top-3 targets regardless of position for the Class of 2017 by anyone’s count. He recently visited UGA and told DawgNation that running backs coach Dell McGee to let him know when he’s coming so he can sleep at night. He was once committed to Alabama. His decision could come down to UGA, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State and Ole Miss. Georgia has made sure to recruit his family in this case and not just the elite prospect. That’s vital to landing Akers. He likes the potential openings at running back for carries next fall given the expected exodus of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to the NFL.
4-star WR Nico Collins (Clay-Chalkville High School / Pinson, Ala.)
Ranking: Nation’s No. 12 WR and No. 75 player overall
UGA’s chance: Collins has UGA among his top schools. He recently put out a top 7 and UGA made it. That wasn’t really big news given he was at G-Day and loves the future of the quarterback position at UGA. He’s made five trips to UGA during the past month. Expect his decision to come down to UGA, Alabama, Clemson and Michigan.
4-star ILB Nate McBride (Vidalia High School / Vidalia, Ga.)
Ranking: Nation’s No. 2 ILB and No. 72 overall
UGA’s chance: It appears to be a race between Georgia, Alabama and Auburn. Oregon and Stanford are also lurking. Fromm and McBride are good friends and it will take a strong push for anyone to get McBride out of state. McBride really likes the direction of Georgia’s program under Kirby Smart.
5-star ATH Jacoby Stevens (Oakland High School/ Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Ranking: Nation’s No. 1 athlete and No. 23 overall prospect
UGA’s chance: The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Stevens is rated at the athlete spot, but is expected to play safety on Saturdays. He named UGA his leader earlier this spring but has decided to take one more look at his top schools before announcing his choice sometime before his senior season.
4-star DE/OLB Malik Herring (Mary Persons High School/ Forsyth, Ga.)
Rankings: Nation’s No. 7 weak-side defensive end and No. 91 overall prospect
UGA’s chance: It appears to be down to Georgia and Clemson. Georgia should be seen as the favorite at this time.
Fromm recently qualified for the Elite 11 and did so despite having to shake off some rust from baseball season. He wouldn’t make any excuses. That’s just not how he’s been raised, but he was competing with 23 of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks last weekend. Most of those gunslingers had the benefit of getting dialed in during their respective high school spring practices.
Georgia’s next quarterback didn’t have that luxury. He went to the beach the day after finals and leading his Houston County baseball team to a state championship. He got some throwing in during that time, but he wasn’t anywhere near as sharp as he can be.
“It was tough,” Fromm said. “I had been to the beach and had been playing baseball. I hadn’t really been in shape and thrown a lot of footballs going up to that camp because of baseball. Baseball probably made my conditioning honestly a little bit worse. It was tough, but that is what happens when you go up there out of shape and I promise it won’t happen next time.”
It finally caught up to him on the second day after his cross-country flight. Fromm, as he’s been known to do before a big game, lost his breakfast on the practice field. But then, as he’s prone to do, bounced back and threw the ball around like one of the finest schoolboy passers in America.
“I’d hate to make any excuse because that goes against everything I stand for,” Fromm said. “I just went up there and played and did my best. I didn’t prepare for that like I should, but I will use this summer with my teammates and football workouts to get ready for the Opening in July and go up and give it my best shot. I can’t wait to see what I can do up there in July.”
A Bleacher Report analyst called Fromm a “football-playing dude.” He liked that.
“Just try to be a blue-collar dude,” Fromm said. “Just go out and play. Play as hard as you can for as long as you can. Then have fun doing it.”
He picked up that he needs to get better throwing to his left and to keeping his eye level on one line with his drops. The gurus at the Elite 11 pointed those things out to him.
Fromm said making the Elite 11 checked off a career goal for his high school career.
“When I learned I made it the first thing I did was thank the man upstairs,” Fromm said. “You have got to do that. For good things and bad things. He’s given me the ability to do all of this. One of the speakers at the Elite 11 said it best. He said that football is not who you are. Your talent is not who you are. You are who you are and what I am is a follower of Jesus and I just want to use what I’ve been given to serve others and spread the word of Christ.”
Fromm will be at UGA on Friday and Saturday with his high school team. His Bears will take part in the Kirby Smart 7-on-7 event on Friday and he will stay over on Saturday.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.