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Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, center, shares a laugh with freshman safety Richard LeCounte and the SEC Network's Maria Taylor during national signing day festivities last Wednesday in Athens.

ATHENS, Ga. — One of the more intriguing position battles in the Southeastern Conference this spring could be Georgia's quarterback competition between incumbent starter Jacob Eason and early enrollee Jake Fromm.

Based on Fromm's arrival last month, it's already under way.

"This kid gets off the plane from the U.S. Army All-American game, and he wants every receiver's cell phone number," Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said last week. "He wants to go throw with them. If they're not out there throwing, he wants to ask them why they're not."

Although Eason arrived at Georgia last winter as a five-star early enrollee and wrested the starting job from veterans Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey, Fromm was among the first commitments in Smart's first full recruiting cycle and never considered looking elsewhere. As a senior last season at Houston County High School in Warner Robins, Ga., the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder completed 244 of 383 passes (63.7 percent) for 3,910 yards with 41 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Fromm, who also rushed for 351 yards and 3.3 yards per carry this past season, threw for 12,745 yards with 116 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in his four-year career.

"I remember when he was a ninth-grader, and everybody was talking about him and talking about the talent he had," Smart said. "At that time, I had no idea how things would transpire, but I started getting a really good relationship with him, his mom, his dad and his whole family when I was at Alabama (as defensive coordinator). They came over for visits, and I was able to spend a lot of time with them.

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"When I got this job, he was an immediate target. I knew the kid wanted to play at Georgia. I knew that was his lifelong passion, very similar to myself. He grew up in Georgia and wanted to play at Georgia."

Fromm was the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and No. 47 overall prospect in the 2017 signing class according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. He has spent recent weeks adjusting to the college life — "You grow up a bunch when Mom and Dad aren't holding your hand any more," Fromm told reporters last month at the Touchdown Club of Atlanta banquet — and studying defensive alignments.

When asked about Eason, he said the two were "helping each other," which Georgia coaches are viewing as a win-win situation.

"Any time you can put good football players in a room, regardless of position, you're better off," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "Jacob is a competitive kid, and Jake is also. Let them compete against each other. Go out there and perform, and let the best man win the job."

Said Smart: "I'm excited about the competition, because it's going to push Jacob. It already is."

Rocker leaves staff

Smart is having to make his first staff change since becoming Georgia's head coach following Tuesday's abrupt departure of defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, who spent three seasons with the Bulldogs. Rocker's next destination was not immediately known.

The former All-America defensive lineman at Auburn is leaving a full cupboard, with the Bulldogs set to return senior John Atkins, juniors Trent Thompson, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle and Jonathan Ledbetter and sophomores Julian Rochester, Tyler Clark and David Marshall on the defensive front for the 2017 season.

G-Day television

Georgia's G-Day spring game on April 22 will have a 2 p.m. start and will be televised by the SEC Network. Last year's G-Day game, the first with Smart as head coach, drew a program-record 93,000 fans.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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