Roommates, teammates, and most of all friends, Georgia junior quarterback Jake Fromm and senior tight end Charlie Woerner have formed an amazing bond that has strengthened during their time at the University of Georgia. Since they share common interests in football, the outdoors and their faith, the two are nearly always together. On their front porch, Bulldawg Illustrated editor Vance Leavy and I recently spent some time with the two. My decision on who I would want to emulate myself like is clear … I want to be exactly like these two guys. It was a pleasure sitting down with them, and the time spent with them was one of the greatest moments of my BI career.
While the birds chirped and cars passed by, we touched on the subjects of leadership, faith, and obviously football. The interview took place on their front porch as the spring sunlight beamed down on their steps. Our photographer for the interview, Blane Marable, departed earlier than the conclusion of the interview; as he waved goodbye, Jake and Charlie kindly thanked him and waved back. Sitting across from me on a swing, sat Georgia Baseball pitcher Tony Locey, their third roommate. Recognizing Tony’s presence and his accomplishments, Jake and Charlie each acknowledged Tony’s success on the mound. These details may seem smaller to the reader’s naked eye and even Charlie and Jake, but it showed me how great these guys truly are. Their attitude, laid back, and their feet, down-to-earth. The interview was a chill front porch conversation with the boys, and what a pleasure it was.
As we talked to Charlie and Jake, they each answered every single question in their own way; however their answers featured commonalities: humility and respect for one another. They both built the other up, complementing their strengths and leadership attributes, and spoke of themselves with a self-effacing view. Continuing throughout the interview, they camped out on the leadership roles each one possesses and what that means to the team. They might be asked questions all day regarding football, but we still asked about the Georgia football program, the 2019-20 season, and the team, and they willingly answered. Finally, and personally my favorite part of the interview was when the two discussed their faith and what it has done to nurture their football careers. How they spoke of the Bible, how they have remained on God’s path was encouraging and reiterated the important lesson of trusting in God no matter the circumstances.
Not taking away the spotlight on these special guys, but it was a really huge interview for me because of their collectiveness and coolness. With that being said, here is the question-and-answer session featuring your Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and tight end Charlie Woerner …
Vance: We want y’all casual … this is fun. And that’s kind of the idea of this. As your neighbor, I get to see you guys chill out a little from time to time. I tell people that you guys come in about 9:30 p.m. every night (after being at Butts-Mehre). Hamilton, you’ve been writing for Bulldawg Illustrated since what, you were 13? Yeah. So he’s going to be doing our main line of questioning. Since we have Tony (baseball pitcher Locey and Fromm and Woerner’s roommate) here, y’all want to talk a little bit about the success of seeing your good buddy do so well? Like (Jeff) Dantzler says on his radio broadcasts, I mean there’s a buzz in the state of Georgia right now (for the Diamond Dawgs). It’s really cool.
Jake: I think it’s awesome how we can walk down to the baseball games, go watch our roommate, our buddy from high school go pitch. Go be successful obviously, you know, have the baseball team be successful like they are this year. Honestly, it’s awesome. It’s kind of like a breeze to step back, a time to kind of take a load off for us. You know, super casual for us just to go down there. It’s fun to watch and just spend a Sunday afternoon … it’s really relaxing.
Charlie: I’ve just been proud of Tony. I don’t know anything about baseball, but you know, I like going down there and watching him pitch. Usually, I’ll only go to the games that he’s pitching, but I enjoy watching him and to see him do so well this season. I’m hoping for big things to come, what, June 6th, 7th, somewhere around the draft. Hopefully, he does well. It’s been fun to watch him.
Hamilton: Thank y’all for doing this. So first thing I want to hop into is what leadership traits y’all see in one another?
Jake: Uh, yeah, definitely. With Charlie, he’s a very servant leader. He’s not trying to put himself in a spotlight. He’s always trying to serve others. He’s there for everybody else, which is, you know, a lot of what you need today. He’s always going to be that guy who’s going to lead by example. He’ll definitely be vocal. But he’s definitely gonna lead by example. And he’ll always do the right thing.
Charlie: With Jake I definitely see, he’s different than me and he’s a lot more vocal than I am. He definitely leads vocally and by example. I think also he brings out the competitive side of everyone on the football field. He tries to get everyone going and uh, you know, he does the best job of encouraging everyone and bringing them along.
Vance: Was there a moment where either one of y’all, on or off the field, where it kind of clicked and you thought this guy kind of shares my beliefs, you know not only being a leader on the team, but also being a person?
Jake: That’s kind of a tough question but kind of an easy one, too. You can tell from the first time I met Charlie the person he was, what he was about … what he and his family stood for. So you could easily tell that’s actually someone who I want to be around.
Charlie: Yeah, I would say that first spring we were together, being roommates and everything. We got to know each other a lot. You get to know each other when there’s just the two, the 2-2, so basically Tony’s the third roommate. But it’s been a lot of fun.
Hamilton: So can y’all name or describe a coach early in your lives that had a huge impact on you?
Jake: Yeah, definitely Coach Lassiter, my high school coach. His first year coaching, not the first year of coaching for my high school, it was my ninth grade year but he was incredible. He does an amazing job. He was right there with me, a man who led me stronger in my faith. He was just incredible. He brought out the competitive side of me. He also brought out the big picture side and I can’t thank him enough.
Charlie: Yeah, my defensive coordinator in high school, Coach Stockton (Rob). I played both sides of the ball. He was the D-coordinator and safeties coach. He was a really good coach and I really appreciate him as a man, too. He’s got a great family. He just really brought the best out of us. I think most of the kids on the team, he was always there for most of them, but also for everyone. And a really good Christian man. I mean he made me mad at times on the field but it made me a better player. I really appreciate him. And I still talk to him today.
Vance: Since y’all’s faith is obviously a strong part of your being, do you have any scripture that you kind of lean on? Obviously, I’m sure there are a lot of them …
Jake: I really like Joshua 1:9 and Jeremiah 29:11. I remember Charlie had a picture frame of Jeremiah 29:11 that we kept on our door. Friends that have been in disaster in places this gives you hope for the future. I love that one and also Joshua 1:9. Those are the two I harp on the most.
Charlie: Yeah before y’all got here I was actually sitting here with Tony and I happened to turn to it. I used to use it a lot but kind of forgot about it, but John 12:27 kind of got me ready for games. It says, you know, going into this hard moment it says, Lord, save me from this hour. But it says I know for this very hour God you have prepared me for it, basically. You know he’s kinda scared to go into that time, but you got to know that the Lord made you for that hour. You’ve got to go into that event at that time and you know the Lord’s going to be there with you. That can be either a football game or something hard you’re going into.
Vance: That might be a good segue to Kirby …
Hamilton: Can y’all describe Coach Smart’s leadership?
Jake: Coach Smart’s leadership, it’s relentless, it’s no stopping. He’s someone who’s always going to strive to get the best out of you, no matter what and a profession like college football, I don’t imagine it being any other way. He definitely gets the best out of players and definitely strives to make us be the best we can be every day.
Charlie: I guess the one word that comes to mind is just nonstop. He’s always going, he’s off the wall. His leadership is always there and it’s never relaxing, which, I don’t know I don’t want to go too deep but you gotta have it with it being almost year-round now. You got to have it always going and Coach Smart does a really good job of doing that.
Vance: And you know, some of those things y’all are talking about, getting to know you a little and seeing you and even Jake meeting your parents, y’all come by some of that naturally but, you know, there are players that have to kind of grow into that. How was that transition for the team been? I mean now it’s old hat with the relentlessness but sort of talk a little bit about that transition that y’all watched.
Charlie: Uh, you mean like Coach Smart?
Vance: Yeah other teammates and Kirby and not so much comparing old and new but basically watching people buying in, maybe. Just sort of watching people buying in and having to understand what your program’s all about.
Jake: Yeah, so definitely my freshman year was a big, big thing of trying to set the culture and the standard of what we wanted it to be. I think we’ve done a pretty good job developing that and understanding the standard that we have to arise to day in and day out. And being able to get the young guys to buy into that and really believe it … we’re getting better at that. And obviously, you know, you can always keep getting better at that, but really understanding the culture and the standard that we’re trying to play to and always come in day in and day out with is tough. But I think I’m getting better with it.
Charlie: It’s interesting for me to see how the younger guys now buy in a lot quicker than when I came in. When I came in, you still had guys that were still trying to buy in just like me, with the new Kirby routine, cause those guys had Richt for three years. You know, the seniors and juniors and stuff and even the sophomores had him for a year. But it’s been interesting to see how fast the younger guys get to grow and learn and become better football players now because they come right in with Coach Smart. But you got guys, yeah, I’m a senior now and you got all of us started with Coach Smart and you get to see the younger guys grow a lot quicker now. So it’s been good and we get better for it.
Hamilton: So Jake you’re an upperclassman now and Charlie, you’re graduating this December. How is y’all’s leadership roles and just roles in general been like in your time here at Georgia?
Jake: Yeah, it’s been kind of fun for me. Being in the quarterback position, you’re kind of almost automatically in a possible leadership position. And it was really easy for me my freshman year, just because I had Nick and Sony right next to me. I got to see how they attack things, how they live by example, how they’re vocal. And they were just great guys who I could look up to and really understand, hey, how to do it. And in my sophomore year I didn’t have those two guys to kind of anchor to so I had to kind of figure it out myself. So I struggled at times but did some good things at the right times and now this year has just been so much easier for me to lead, to talk to guys, when to be vocal, when not to be vocal. It’s been much easier and I hope that I continue to get better and be able to lead and improve on the field.
Charlie: Yeah, when I first got here too, I was under some really good leadership in the tight end room under Jeb (Blazevich) and all of them. I had them for two years and really learned a lot under them. When some of those older guys left, you know, my junior year, this past year and now this year, now that I’m the old guy in the room, it’s going to be a lot easier for me to kind of lead that room and this spring was a lot of fun kind of testing a little with it and playing around. And just being the older guy for those younger underclassmen I’ve got a lot of things I need to work on leadership-wise, but it’s been a fun spring to start and I’m excited going forward.
Vance: Just a couple more questions. One more football, what are y’all most excited about for this 2019 team?
Jake: Obviously the opportunity to win a national championship. I don’t know who wants to win one more than I do. Also, the opportunity to play just some really big games at home this year. It’s going to be very fun; I’m very excited. I can’t wait for those and just can’t wait for fall to begin.
Charlie: Yeah, I’d say the same thing. You know, like two years ago (when Dawgs played for the national championship), the same chance to hopefully have a Natty at New Orleans this year, right? And hopefully, go to New Orleans in January. Yeah man, it’s my last go-round with college football. So it’ll be a lot of fun. And a player for us I’m excited to watch is the outside linebacker, Azeez (Ojulari). The dude’s going to be a stud and he’s worked so hard. I’m excited to watch him.
Vance: And then I guess the last thing, we started off talking about y’all chilling out here on the front porch. Now I also know being in the outdoors is a part of who you guys are. What does that really provide? Obviously a respite from the game, but when you’re out there alone, what does that peacefulness bring?
Jake: Gosh, like I said, it provides an escape. Just a peaceful place to spend time with the boys. It’s awesome for us to go out and go fishing together and go hunting together. And just the camaraderie that comes with it. To be outdoors in God’s creation, it’s just unbelievable! And then you get to spend that time with some of your best buds, it sure is fun. You make a lot of memories and you have a lot of laughs and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Charlie: Yeah, it’s just the time to get away from all the craziness of the world, the competitiveness of football, and just what’s going on in our daily lives. It’s a time to go relax. That’s how I always think about it, a time to relax and what all our God created for us and enjoy it and have a good time out there.
Vance: Are y’all competitive out there?
Charlie: Sometimes. I try not to be most of the time, but sometimes you do it.
Hammy: Thanks very much guys!