Jake Fromm to make historic start for Georgia

Jake Fromm to make historic start for Georgia

September 5th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown last Saturday in a 31-10 win over Appalachian State.

Photo by Perry McIntyre

ATHENS, Ga. — Quarterback Jake Fromm signed and enrolled at the University of Georgia earlier this year, even though the Bulldogs had Jacob Eason, the top quarterback nationally in the 2016 signing class who started 12 games as a freshman.

"I don't think Jake Fromm cares about depth charts," Bulldogs second-year coach Kirby Smart said Monday. "So many guys may think that kids do, but the best quarterbacks I've been around have been the ones who don't care, and I don't think he ever cared. He loved Georgia growing up and wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog all his life.

"It's what he chose to do, and it didn't matter who was here. He's very confident in himself, and the best ones are."

This Saturday night the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Fromm will make school history by becoming the first to quarterback a Bulldogs team at Notre Dame. The unexpected assignment is the result of Eason spraining a ligament in his left knee during the first 10 minutes of last Saturday's 31-10 opening rout of Appalachian State.

Eason will not need surgery, according to Smart, who provided "week to week" as the most specific timetable for his return.

"He'll be back this year," Smart said, "and we're actually fortunate that it wasn't worse than it was."

Fifth-year senior Brice Ramsey, who threw two fourth-quarter interceptions against the Mountaineers, will serve as Fromm's backup against the Fighting Irish.

Fromm entered a scoreless contest and connected with tight end Isaac Nauta for 8 yards on his first pass. He wound up 10-of-15 passing for 143 yards and a touchdown — a 34-yard strike to Javon Wims.

"You certainly don't script it happening that way, but I thought he came in and managed the situation well," Smart said. "Every situation will be different this week, because App State obviously wasn't planning for him and this next team will be. Jake Fromm is a mature freshman, and hopefully he'll go out and execute.

"He's got some good players around him, and he's got to use those guys."

Senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for 183 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the opener, while Wims was the top receiver with three catches for 81 yards and the score. The Bulldogs get another offensive weapon back this week when sophomore receiver Riley Ridley returns from a one-game suspension.

Fromm's teammates on Monday expressed a lot of belief in his abilities.

"His locker is right next to mine, and I talk to him all the time," Wims said. "I think he just trusts and believes in me, just like I trust and believe in him. He's a true field general, and at first I was shocked by how fast he picked things up as a freshman, but now he's been doing it so long that I'm not shocked at all.

"He has a large grasp of the offense and understands it conceptually inside and out."

The Bulldogs were installed Monday as 6.5-point underdogs against Notre Dame, which went 4-8 last year but opened this season with a 49-16 thrashing of Temple. Smart said teams all over the country are dealing with significant injuries, whether at quarterback or other areas, and added that the biggest downside is Eason never had much of an opportunity last Saturday to show how much he has improved.

Smart admitted that facing the Fighting Irish will be quite a gauge for Fromm and the team's resilience.

"Any time you have injuries, especially at the quarterback position, it tests your mettle," he said. "We tried to put them through adversity throughout camp and the offseason, and there is a reason you do what you do. Ohio State a few years ago lost Braxton Miller and then lost (J.T.) Barrett in the same year and went to the third guy (Cardale Jones).

"You don't plan on it, but those are the things that happen in football, and you have to have guys ready to play. It's the reason you scrimmage everybody and not just the ones. I think our team will take it in stride."

Fromm signed with Georgia as a Parade All-American out of Warner Robins, where he played in 46 career games for Houston (pronounced HOW-ston) County. He amassed 12,745 passing yards with 116 touchdowns.

"The guy is the real deal and is in the lab all day, so it didn't really surprise me that he played so well," senior outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. "He was a great quarterback in high school, too. He has the tools, and he has the mind."

Odds and ends

A Georgia game will be televised by NBC for the first time since the Bulldogs played Florida State to a 17-17 tie in the Citrus Bowl after the 1984 season. ... Notre Dame ranks second all-time in NCAA Division I with 897 wins (Michigan is first with 936), while Georgia is 11th with 796. ... Senior cornerback Aaron Davis (hamstring) practiced Monday, and redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley (ankle) was working at first-team right guard with Kendall Baker at left guard during the portion open to the media.. ... Chubb's 3,520 career rushing yards rank fifth among active rushers in the Bowl Subdivision, while Michel's 2,498 yards rank 15th.

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