This story was updated Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, at 11:35 p.m. with more information.
Georgia junior Jake Fromm, the first quarterback in Southeastern Conference history to guide his team to the league championship game in each of his first three seasons, announced Wednesday afternoon that he is forgoing his final year of eligibility for the NFL draft.
Fromm revealed his decision on Twitter.
"This process and decision has been unbelievably difficult," Fromm said, "but through much prayer and counsel, I have decided that it is time for me to take on the next challenge in my life and pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. It is with both a humbled and excited heart that I announce this, and I can assure you that this decision was not based on anything other than what I simply believe is God's will for my life."
Fromm guided the Bulldogs to a 36-7 record that included a 17-1 mark against SEC East opposition. Georgia made two Sugar Bowl trips and one Rose Bowl journey during his three seasons, topping Oklahoma 54-48 in double-overtime at the Rose Bowl national semifinal following the 2017 season.
The win over the Sooners catapulted Georgia to the national championship game in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Bulldogs lost to Alabama 26-23 in overtime.
Fromm finishes his college career with 622 completions in 983 attempts (63.3%) for 8,236 yards with 78 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He was on pace to become the most efficient quarterback in Bulldogs history but then went five consecutive games completing fewer than 50% of his passes before rebounding last week with a solid Sugar Bowl showing against Baylor.
His final game was the 26-14 downing of the Bears in New Orleans that capped a 12-2 season.
"I will forever be a Dawg at heart," Fromm said.
Former Florida quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel was on four teams that played in the SEC title game and was the starter in his final three trips.
Among Georgia quarterbacks, only Aaron Murray (2010-13) produced a higher career efficiency rating (158.6) than Fromm's 156.2. Fromm ranks fourth behind Murray, David Greene (2001-04) and Eric Zeier (1991-94) in career passing yards for the Bulldogs, and he ranks second to Murray in career touchdown tosses.
Fromm is rated by CBS and ESPN as the No. 5 quarterback in the 2020 draft behind LSU's Joe Burrow, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, Washington's Jacob Eason and Oregon's Justin Herbert. Eason was Georgia's starting quarterback heading into the 2017 season but sustained a knee injury several minutes into the opener against Appalachian State and was replaced by Fromm, who never relinquished the position.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder from Warner Robins was named SEC freshman of the year in 2017 and guided the Bulldogs to their first league title since 2005.
Georgia's offense will move forward in 2020 without five players who had eligibility remaining but have declared for the draft: Fromm, running back D'Andre Swift, left tackle Andrew Thomas, left guard Solomon Kindley and right tackle Isaiah Wilson. Sophomore Cade Mays, who started at left tackle at the Sugar Bowl in the absence of Thomas, has entered the NCAA transfer portal and is headed to Tennessee.
Former walk-on Stetson Bennett is Georgia's most experienced quarterback coming back for coach Kirby Smart's fifth season. D'Wan Mathis, a 2019 signee, never played this season after having a cyst removed from his brain last spring.
The Bulldogs added four-star quarterback Carson Beck last month during the early signing period.
Georgia likely will add a graduate-transfer quarterback in upcoming days or weeks, with Boston College's Anthony Brown and Wake Forest's Jamie Newman serving as early possibilities.
By typing "Ano Quatro" on his Twitter account, Georgia junior inside linebacker Monty Rice announced Wednesday that he would be returning for a fourth year with the Bulldogs.
Rice led Georgia this season with 89 tackles and also collected 14 quarterback hurries and three tackles for loss. The 6-1, 235-pounder from Huntsville, Alabama, was tabbed to the All-SEC second team, and he was named SEC defensive player of the week following a 10-tackle performance in the 21-14 win at Auburn on Nov. 16.
Barring any stunning decisions between now and the Jan. 20 deadline to declare, the Bulldogs will not sustain any early departures from a defense that led the SEC in fewest points allowed (12.6) for the first time since 2002 and fewest yards allowed (275.7) since 1968. If LSU scores 28 or more points against Clemson in Monday night's championship game in New Orleans, the Bulldogs will lead the nation in scoring defense.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.