Jake Fromm was a major catalyst for Georgia’s run to the SEC championship in 2017. The reigning SEC Freshman of the Year only saw the field initially due to the injury suffered by Jacob Eason in the season opener against Appalachian State, but once he took to the field, Fromm never ceded the starting position in Athens.
If 2017 was an indication, Fromm’s role as starting quarterback for the Bulldogs would appear cemented for the next two seasons, at least. However, Georgia added one of the nation’s most talented quarterback prospects to the team in early enrollee Justin Fields this offseason.
It’s a good problem to have in Athens but one Kirby Smart must carefully maneuver in the coming season. Eason’s injury basically resolved the quarterback competition last season and now Georgia must find a way to once again balance the competition at the game’s most important position heading into the 2018 season.
So how will Smart handle it? He answered that question during a recent appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program The Roundtable.
“You compete. You let guys come out and compete,” Smart answered on the air. “I think sometimes you guys think we just make a decision and just go with it. We do what happens in practice, in scrimmages. We have 25 practices before our first game and we are excited about those opportunities to find out how much better Jake can get and how much better Justin can get. Both of them do a good job of managing our team. Both of them great in the locker room, so I’m excited to see where they go.”
Smart was also asked if he was surprised by his team’s success in 2017.
“I don’t know if I was surprised. The leadership was really good and the kids kind of bought in. We got hot at the right time. We started playing better as the year went on and developed a young quarterback,” Smart continued. “There’s a lot of things that have to happen for a thing like that to happen. It was good for us, we had a good run.”
Now that he once again has a QB situation to solve in Athens, Smart was asked if the competition between Eason and Fromm played out the way he thought it would once Eason went down to injury in last season’s opener.
“Not at the time. At the time, I was worried about App State — who had a really good defense. They played Tennessee really well the year before. We were really concerned about their team,” he said. “It gave us a little momentum in that game and I thought, this young guy came in and did a good job but Jacob was going to get every opportunity to come back and I thought he did. I thought Fromm kept improving and that’s what kind of put us over the top in the end, the fact that he got better game to game.”
If Fromm continues to show that level of improvement this offseason, there’s little doubt he’ll be the first UGA quarterback to see the field this season. However, if he doesn’t make the strides that the coaches likely expect from him and Fields continues to flash his massive potential, things could get interesting in a hurry down in Athens.