The 2019 season will decide Jake Fromm’s place in Georgia Bulldog lore. Win a National Championship and Fromm will earn a seat next to Herschel Walker and Vince Dooley as a legend of Georgia football. Come up short once again and Fromm will be remembered as another Aaron Murray – a damn good Dawg that simply couldn’t get it done. Fair or not, those are the expectations that have been created by Fromm’s success on the field and Kirby Smart’s dominance on the recruiting trail. As Coach Smart says, pressure is a privilege, and the pressure is squarely on Fromm’s shoulders in 2019.
Fromm’s career changed forever in the bye week following Georgia’s humiliating loss to LSU on October 13, 2018. Against LSU, Fromm was rattled early and only got worse as the game progressed. During the bye week many wrote the obituary of Jake Fromm’s career and called for the Justin Fields era to begin against the Florida Gators. Coach Smart opened up the quarterback competition and rumors ran rampant that it was now the Fields era. However, when the Bulldogs offense took the field they were led Jake Fromm who played the best game of his career and Justin Fields never left the bench. Little did we know Fromm’s performance against the Gators ended the Fields era in Athens before it ever began.
Despite the fact that Justin Fields is no longer a Georgia Bulldog his presence will undoubtedly still be felt by Fromm. If Fields opens the season for the Buckeyes against Florida Atlantic with a dominant performance there will be a vocal minority of Bulldog Nation that will say Georgia made the wrong decision choosing Fromm while SportsCenter will instantly hype Fields as a Heisman contender. Fromm’s ability to compartmentalize and leave that narrative in the rear view mirror will be key in 2019.
Fromm is also the one player on the roster that is irreplaceable in 2019. There is no question that this is Jake Fromm’s team and everyone will be looking to him for leadership and excellence at every practice and every Saturday this fall. It is time for him to elevate his game to the elite level he is capable of. However, it will not be enough for him to do that for one quarter, one half or one game, he must sustain that level of excellence for the entire season. That is a level of expectation that will be a new type of pressure for Fromm.
Additional pressure comes from the narrative that the 2019 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs is the most talented roster of the Kirby Smart era. When the Dawgs played in the 2017 National Championship they had great leadership but lacked the necessary depth. In 2018, the Dawgs had improved depth but were incredibly young. In 2019, on paper, the Dawgs finally have the correct mix talent, leadership and depth. Therefore, expectations are for Fromm to lead the Dawgs to a National Championship and anything less is a disappointment.
Fromm’s ability to handle the pressure and perform at an elite level will be the pre-eminent story of the season for the 2019 Georgia Bulldogs and will determine his legacy. What do you think his legacy will be?