Georgia sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm is two springs and one season into his college football career, which has been more than enough time for him to realize that every day is a competition.
Fromm began last year as Jacob Eason's backup, but his reserve role lasted less than 10 minutes of the opening victory over Appalachian State. Eason suffered a sprained knee against the Mountaineers, never regained his starting job and transferred to Washington earlier this year, but Fromm immediately encountered a new challenger with the early arrival of Justin Fields, the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 signing class.
So for a second straight year, Fromm is balancing a friendship with his desire to guide the Bulldogs to another Southeastern Conference title.
"It's part of the team aspect that's out there," Fromm said. "Obviously you're buddies with guys in your room, because you see them every day and you're with them every day. We're also competing for a job and competing the best way we can.
"The main goal is to help the team the best way we possibly can."
Last season's bond between Eason and Fromm was on display after Georgia's 26-23 overtime loss to Alabama in January's national championship contest in Atlanta. As Fromm was walking off the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field and into a tunnel, he was met by Eason, who put his arm around the 2017 SEC freshman of the year and walked with him to the locker room.
Fromm is motivated to watch more video than any other competitor and to make "the bigger throw and the bigger play" on the field, and he knows this summer is different due to the advantage he has in experience.
"Last year, you're really just scratching and clawing to pick up and learn as much as you can," the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder from Warner Robins said. "There were times when you felt like things were out of your control, but this year you feel more like you're in the driver's seat. You know what's going on, and you know what's about to happen.
"It really comes down to me pushing myself every day and trying to become the best that I can be to lead this team the best way I can."
Fromm had a dazzling debut season with 181 completions in 291 attempts (62.2 percent) for 2,615 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His guiding the Bulldogs to their first league championship in 12 seasons speaks for itself, but the most amazing aspect to his year may have been his ability to put the offense into the best situation before each snap.
The Bulldogs employed run-pass options throughout last season, and Fromm was in charge of the calls based off what the defense was showing.
"It's become part of our offense now as far as knowing what kind of looks we're getting and which way we're running the ball," he said. "It's really just part of the offense now, so you learn and go with it."
Said junior receiver Riley Ridley: "Jake has done really well. He has been barking out calls and has been a leader. In the fall, we're going to keep working so that we can be crisp on everything we need."
A lot has changed for Fromm since January. The Bulldogs return a healthy eight offensive starters, but gone from last season are top offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, leading receiver Javon Wims and the 1,000-yard rushing tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
There was also the departure of Eason and the arrival of Fields, but the focus for Fromm remains unchanged.
"I like the direction we're heading," he said. "Some guys are really starting to step up and really try to lead this team. Offensively, we've done some really good things, but we definitely need to minimize the bad.
"It's been a little bit different. Last year I had some safety blankets. When in doubt, hand it off to No. 27 or No. 1."
Jones picks Tide
Alabama has the top-ranked crop of commitments for the 2019 signing class and is making an early surge in 2020, receiving a pledge Monday from in-state defensive tackle Jayson Jones. The 6-5, 322-pounder from Calera, who is rated by 247Sports.com as the nation's No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 55 overall recruit, picked the Crimson Tide over Georgia.
Jones is the Tide's fifth commitment for 2020, joining receiver Dazalin Worsham, cornerback Javier Morton, inside linebacker Jackson Bratton and pro-style quarterback Carson Beck.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.