Georgia didn’t plan on Jake Fromm starting 14 of 15 games.
Jacob Eason earned last year’s starting quarterback job outright due to what he did at practice over the summer and preseason. Fromm certainly pushed him, both in practice and in the film room. But Eason came out ahead and was Georgia’s No. 1 quarterback to enter the season.
Eason then sprained his knee against Appalachian State and Fromm took control. Fromm never looked back.
With Fromm becoming Georgia’s top option at quarterback, it was evident Eason would likely never be a starter at Georgia unless an injury occurred. He elected to transfer to Washington, a school that recruited him in the state he grew up in.
While Georgia has an SEC champion at quarterback on its roster, its depth took a hit with Eason leaving. The Bulldogs will have only two quarterbacks on scholarship this season, with a walk-on serving as the third option.
But as long as Fromm stays healthy, Georgia will be in good shape. He proved he can lead an offense to an SEC title and a national championship game appearance in only his first season as a college athlete.
They left: Eason
They return: Fromm (Soph.), Stetson Bennett (R-Fr.), Sam Vaughn (Sr.)
Enrolled early: Justin Fields
What to watch: Given the season he had – 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns, seven interceptions – it’s way too early to even hint Fromm will endure a true competition with Fields. That stated, you can bet both of the players will treat the spring, summer and preseason as if it is a real battle for the top quarterback spot.
Fields’ recruitment was a bit different than others who wind up as five-star prospects. It got off to a slow start, with other quarterbacks in the state of Georgia earning more interest. After his junior season at Harrison, however, the top college programs began to take notice. He then hit the camp circuit and became a coveted recruit. Fields’ ability to run offers Georgia something it hasn’t had at the position since D.J. Shockley was starting in 2005.
While Fields will certainly provide a much-different skill set, Fromm is going to be really hard to beat out. The fact that Fromm played well enough to where Georgia felt it couldn’t turn back to Eason says all you need to know about the kind of preparation he puts in on a regular basis. You can bet that Fromm will be just as prepared to keep his starting quarterback role as he was to enter a game if called upon.
But given Fields’ attributes as a runner, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Georgia to create a package for him. If Fields is as good as the hype, then there might be a reason to plug him in certain game situations. And as former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said, having that option available forces defensive coordinators to spend extra time in an area they otherwise wouldn’t worry about.
"You want to make it where they really don’t know what’s going on and they have to game plan against multiple things," Murray said. "It just takes time out of their day. It takes time out of the practice. I think they’re going to utilize it. It’ll be interesting to see."
Outlook: Georgia will enter the 2018 season with two of the best young quarterbacks in the country. One is experienced; the other has yet to play a snap. However, the one thing Georgia has to avoid at this position is injury. Behind Fromm and Fields are walk-ons. Bennett, however, is better than your average walk-on, considering he drew scholarship offers from Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee State. Assuming the Bulldogs avoid injuries at the position, all should be well with Fromm and Fields behind center.