Georgia football: What is the Bulldogs' quarterback situation in 2020 if Jake Fromm leaves for NFL?
Jake Fromm has a decision to make.
The junior quarterback, despite a dip in production from his sophomore year to now, could still declarate for the NFL Draft before the Jan. 20 deadline. Georgia still has to face Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, so any decision would come after that.
If he does leave early, Fromm will do so having made an impact on the Georgia record books. He will enter the Sugar Bowl in 4th place in program history in passing yardage, ahead of Matthew Stafford. His 76 career touchdowns are just 1 behind David Greene for 2nd all-time, while his 30 touchdowns in 2018 are the 4th-most thrown in a single season; Aaron Murray holds the top 3 totals in that category.
We haven’t heard any indication of whether this will be Fromm’s last year in Athens, but in the chance it is, here’s a look at where things will stand in the quarterback room in 2020:
Who’s already here?
D’Wan Mathis: Mathis is fortunate to be alive after emergency brain surgery in May, so the least of his worries for a while was getting back on the football field. But he has gradually worked his way back into team activities, practicing with the scout team and being allowed to throw while not yet being cleared for contact.
If and when he gets the green light, the 4-star from Michigan will do so as a likely candidate to start should Fromm depart, and his high school career and performance in the G-Day game this spring have provided a glimpse at what a player like him can bring to the table. But that’s a big “if” at this time.
Stetson Bennett IV: Fromm’s backup has been primarily used in a mop-up role and hasn’t seen any meaningful time in a Georgia uniform. That’s, in part, why the former walk-on, with Fromm and Justin Fields ahead of him on the depth chart in 2017, took a year in JUCO in Mississippi before returning to Athens before this season after being placed on scholarship.
Still, there might be understandable concern about a player who has thrown 27 passes at the FBS level in 2 seasons and whether he can take the reins if Fromm leaves, so Bennett in all likelihood will have plenty to prove if he wants to move up to QB1.
Who’s coming in?
Georgia has 1 quarterback committed in the 2020 class: 4-star Carson Beck, rated as the No. 8 pro-style signal-caller in the country. In 11 games this season, Beck threw for 1,843 yards, 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, a decline but not thought to be a major concern due to a younger team around him.
But the Bulldogs might have its eye on another 4-star: Rancho Cucamonga (Ca.) 4-star C.J. Stroud, ranked well ahead of Beck among pro-style quarterbacks at No. 2. Stroud was nothing short of impressive in his senior season, throwing for 3,878 yards, 47 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. We should know Stroud’s decision after Dec. 14 when he wraps up his 4th official visit with Ohio State; Georgia, Michigan and Oregon have already hosted him and he is set to enroll at his school of choice in January.
Landing him would create quite the potential quarterback battle in 2020 if Fromm were to move on.
Could Georgia look to the transfer portal?
Georgia fans know as well as anyone about the possibility of a quarterback entering the transfer portal and becoming a star elsewhere. The Bulldogs might want to take a look there themselves for a “bridge” between Fromm and the younger crop if the situation calls for it.
The big name that’s available now in the portal is Feleipe Franks, who has graduated from Florida and will use his final year of eligibility elsewhere after an ankle fracture ended his season after just 4 games, but it’s difficult to say he’d be an upgrade over Fromm.
Outside of that, it is loaded with multiple-year players that wouldn’t make sense to bring in with a minimum of 3 scholarship quarterbacks on Georgia’s roster in 2020 if Fromm does not return, but Mathis’s long term status could change this, especially if the Bulldogs end up missing on Stroud.