ATHENS — It wasn’t football that made Jake Fromm a name at first. It was the Little League World Series in 2011, when Fromm starred on a Warner-Robins team that made it to Williamsport. Fromm hit three homers in the tournament, and struck out 11 out of 18 batters.
That’s how Kirby Smart, then an Alabama assistant recruiting the area, first heard of Fromm.
“Everybody was talking about him, talking about that team,” Smart said.
Smart filed the name away, and when he heard that Fromm was already slinging it as a high school freshman quarterback, Smart became close with Fromm and his family. Soon, Fromm committed to Alabama. And then Smart got the Georgia job.
“When I got this job, he was an immediate target,” Smart said. “I knew the kid wanted to play at Georgia. I knew that was his life-long passion, very similar to myself. He grew up in Georgia and wanted to play at Georgia. I knew that with time and relationships we’d be able to get him to join us.”
That was correct, and next week Fromm begins his first spring practice at Georgia, ready to … well, that’s the next question. Get some snaps off the bench as freshman? Or redshirt? Or dare we say, legitimately push Jacob Eason for the starting role?
Fromm is the shiny new object, whose warts have not yet been on display. Eason was the shiny new object last year, but now he’s had a season to display his warts. He overthrows sometimes, needs work from under center, etc.
Not major red flags, however. Statistically, Eason had a better freshman season than Matt Stafford. So for anybody to reasonably think that Fromm will come in and legitimately push Eason for the starting job, be skeptical.
But coaches like competition, and Eason will be a better quarterback this season for having endured a push from behind. Which is why you’re going to hear a lot about Fromm over the ensuing months.
That’s especially the case with Brice Ramsey having decided to leave the program, rather than try to compete for the starting job. That means Georgia will have just two scholarship quarterbacks, which isn’t unprecedented. It also means Fromm is very unlikely to redshirt this year.
This time last year, quarterback was one of the overhanging questions around Georgia’s program as it entered spring practice. It’s a bit more muted this year, with Eason grabbing the role last year. Now we see how much he has to fight, if any, to hold onto it.
As Georgia’s spring practice is set to begin next week, here’s the final edition in our depth chart analysis:
- Returning starter: Jacob Eason, Soph.
- Others returning: Sam Vaughn, Jr. (walk-on); Parker McLeod, Sr. (walk-on).
- Early enrollees: Jake Fromm, Fr.
- On the way: Stetson Bennett IV (walk-on).
- Analysis: If Eason is the reincarnation of Stafford, then Fromm is the next Aaron Murray. Both are around 6-foot-2, with some athleticism, strong arms and similar personalities: They’re leaders, practice and study hard, putting in the extra hours. That doesn’t automatically mean Eason needs to worry. By all accounts he studied hard last year too, and his teammates liked him too. It just means that if Fromm has the intangibles, he’ll be a tempting alternative if Eason slips up. Eason’s numbers last year were pretty good for a first-year starter: 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns, only 8 interceptions, a completion percentage of 55.1. So do you roll with Eason all the way and try to find a way to redshirt Fromm? Does Fromm really project as someone who would be around his fifth year? Murray did, but the team may simply not be able to afford to redshirt Fromm. Let’s say Georgia is in contention for the division title, or more. Do you want to risk Eason being hurt late in the season and throw Fromm out there for his first-ever college snaps, with so much on the line?
- Bottom line: Unless something crazy happens, Eason will be the starter not only Week 1 against Appalachian State but the next week at Notre Dame, where Eason’s father Tony played. After that, Eason’s performance will dictate whether Fromm plays, and how much. There isn’t as much intrigue around quarterback for Georgia as there was last year. But there’s still some.
PREVIOUSLY IN DEPTH CHART ANALYSIS SERIES
Safeties | Cornerbacks | Outside linebackers | Inside linebackers | Defensive line | Place-kicking and kickoff specialist | Punters | Return specialists and long snapper | Offensive tackles | Guards | Centers | Tight ends | Wide receivers | Running backs