Justin Fields is gone from UGA, so who remains at quarterback for the Bulldogs?
Obviously, for starters, there’s Jake Fromm, the two-year quarterback who triggered the Fields transfer because Fields was unable to beat out Fromm for the No. 1 job. Fromm led UGA to an appearance in the national championship game last year as a freshman. Fromm will be the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the Bulldogs for the next two seasons.
Who is behind Fromm? Right now, Georgia has no other quarterback on campus that is on scholarship.
Scary thought, yes, but that will change on Monday when UGA begins spring classes. The Bulldogs signed two quarterbacks last month – 4-star Dwan Mathis and former walk-on Stetson Bennett. They’re both enrolling early, and they will be competing against each other for the No. 2 job this spring.
Mathis, who was impressive during an exclusive interview with DawgNation’s Mike Griffith on Thursday night, is a former Ohio State commit who flipped to UGA on the eve of December’s early signing day. It didn’t seem to a big deal to the Buckeyes, perhaps because the news about Fields requesting an NCAA transfer was already public knowledge, and Ohio State already knew they were in the running.
What about Mathis? He’s a 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback from Belleville, Mich. He is very raw, but has good long-range potential. He will likely need a couple of years of college development before he’s in position to try to make an impact for UGA.
The early frontrunner for the No. 2 job may be Bennett, a former walk-on at UGA who spent this past season at Jones County Junior College. He put up average stats, but the reason he was so valued by UGA is because he knows the playbook, meaning the learning curve will be very short before Bennett comes up to speed this spring. The 6-foot, 185-pound Bennett also impressed the Bulldog players and coaches with how he played on the UGA scout team during the 2017 season.
There’s also another wild card in the quarterback room. John Rys Plumlee is a 4-star quarterback from Hattiesburg, Miss., who is committed to UGA, yet said he has been asked to join the Bulldogs as a “blueshirt” – meaning he won’t enroll until later this summer and then count towards next year’s scholarship total. Plumlee is 6-foot and 180 pounds.
Bottom line: This is Fromm’s team for the next two seasons. As long as Fromm doesn’t get injured, the Bulldogs are set until 2020. As far as the issues surrounding Fields’ departure, UGA coach Kirby Smart will only be able to quiet all that controversy … once the Bulldogs sign a 5-star quarterback for 2020. That will clearly be the No. 1 recruiting priority for UGA in next year’s class.
Update: One other strong scenario is UGA adding a transfer quarterback this spring to compete for the No. 2 job. After all, Alabama pursued a transfer quarterback last summer while having three quarterbacks on scholarship, including Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.