Jake Fromm wasted no time familiarizing himself with Georgia’s receivers.
Shortly after competing in the U.S. Army All-American Game, Fromm got to Georgia’s campus and began contacting his pass-catching teammates. Fromm, who enrolled early at Georgia in January after a prolific career at Houston County, did so to gain as much chemistry with his receiving corps as possible before the beginning of spring practice.
“This kid gets off the plane from the Army All-American Game, and he wants every receiver’s cellphone number,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “He wants to throw with them. And if they’re not throwing with him, he wants to know why they’re not.”
There is an accompanying reason why this excites Smart.
An added element of competition will be placed into the quarterback room with Fromm’s addition. As of now only Jacob Eason and Brice Ramsey are Georgia’s quarterbacks on scholarship. Fromm plans to push Eason, Georgia’s starter for 12 of its 13 games in 2016, with his approach to the game.
By doing so, he hopes it further develops the quarterback group.
“It’s something I knew I was getting into when I signed my name,” Fromm said. “I’m excited about it. It’s going to make me better. It’s going to make him better. It’s going to make the university better.”
As a true freshman, Eason completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 2,430 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. It was a fairly productive season that saw Eason grow in command of the offense.
But by the way Georgia’s coaching staff is approaching it, no one is immune to competition. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, speaking on Georgia’s National Signing Day webcast, said the competition between Fromm and Eason is something he’s looking forward to observing during the spring.
“I think any time you can put good football players in a room, regardless of position, you’re better off,” Chaney said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, is find the most competitive kids we can get and put them in there. Jacob is a competitive kid and Jake obviously is also. Let them compete against one another, I think they both like that. I think collectively they’ll work at it and make each other even better.”
While Smart essentially inherited Eason as a recruit since former head coach Mark Richt initially piqued his interest in Georgia, Smart has been well aware of Fromm for a long time.
The first time he heard of Fromm was when his Warner Robins team advanced to the 2011 Little League World Series. By the time Fromm was in the ninth grade, Smart, then the defensive coordinator at Alabama, heard of his quarterbacking abilities.
He established a rapport with Fromm then and got the signal-caller to commit to the Crimson Tide as a junior, with his dream school Georgia not extending a scholarship under Richt. When Smart took the job, he extended an offer to Fromm rather quickly. It didn’t take too long for Fromm to jump to Georgia.
“When I got this job he was an immediate target,” Smart said. “I knew the kid wanted to play at Georgia. That was his lifelong passion. Very similar to myself — grew up in Georgia, wanted to play at Georgia. I knew that with time and with relationships, we’d be able to get him to join us. We’re very fortunate that he did that.”
And now Smart is hoping the longtime relationship forged years ago helps the recruit he inherited once practice reconvenes.
Chaney understands how much attention is placed on the quarterback position, which is why he believes competition is needed to strengthen it. While Eason started all but one of Georgia’s games in 2016, it’s clear the need for competition exists among the coaching staff.
“The quarterback position tends to be the most polarizing there is,” Chaney said. “They’ll get way too much credit when we win and way too much blame when we lose. But at the end of the day somebody’s got to be the quarterback. Go out there and perform and do the best you can. Let the best man win the job. Whoever we feel like can help us win games, that’s who we’re going to play. I’m excited about it. It’ll be fun.”
Georgia Signing Class
Number of signees: 26
By position: Quarterback – 1; Running backs – 1; Wide receiver – 4; Offensive linemen – 6; Defensive linemen – 2; Linebackers – 5; Defensive backs – 7.
By state: Georgia -- 18; Florida – 3; Pennsylvania 2; Alabama – 1; Mississippi – 1; New York – 1.
Star of the class: Isaiah Wilson, Brooklyn, N.Y., OL: Wilson has the chance to be the cornerstone of a much bigger offensive line that position coach Sam Pittman prefers. Wilson is the 16th-overall prospect in the nation, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, and has the best chance of any of the incoming first-year linemen to play early.
Robert Beal, LB, Peachtree Ridge
Tray Bishop, DB, Terrell County
Trey Blount, WR, Pace Academy
Latavious Brini, DB, Hialeah, Fla.
D'Antne Demery, OL, Brunswick
Jake Fromm, QB, Houston County
Deangelo Gibbs, DB, Grayson
Walter Grant, LB, Cairo
D'Marcus Hayes, OL, Perkinson, Miss.
Malik Herring, DL, Mary Persons
Jeremiah Holloman, WR, Newton County
Jaden Hunter, LB, Westlake
Netori Johnson, OL, Cedar Grove
Matt Landers, WR, Pinellas Park, Fla.
Richard LeCounte, DB, Liberty County
Nate McBride, LB, Vidalia
William Poole, DB, Hapeville Charter
Monty Rice, LB, Madison, Ala.
Justin Shaffer, OL, Cedar Grove
Ameer Speed, DB, Jacksonville, Fla.
Eric Stokes, DB, Eastside (Covington)
D'Andre Swift, RB, Philadelphia
Andrew Thomas, OL, Pace Academy
Mark Webb Jr., WR, Philadelphia
Isaiah Wilson, OL, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Devonte Wyatt, DL, Towers