From Perry to Pasadena

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I’m sure Donald J. Trump would disagree with me, but I nominate Jake Fromm, quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs, as the person who had the most amazing past year. The Donald is used to being in the spotlight. He has been a world figure for a long time. He had a big year, but that’s expected of the President.

Jake Fromm started his 2017 in a little different setting. As many of you know, Fromm is from Houston County. The county seat of Houston County is Perry, Georgia, population about 15,000. It’s known for peaches, cotton, peanuts, and the Georgia State Fair.

I don’t know exactly what Jake Fromm was doing New Year’s Day, 2017, but I have read that he likes to hunt and fish. No one would be surprised if he was out early and sitting in some deer stand this time last year. After that, he might have come home and eaten a New Year’s Day lunch of collard greens and black-eyed peas. Add a big glass of sweet tea and some cornbread.

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Kirby Smart, the Bulldogs’ head coach and super recruiter, might have snagged his biggest recruit in 2017 when he convinced Jake Fromm to forget his verbal commitment to Alabama and, instead, sign with the Bulldogs. Fromm had always wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog, but the previous administration had not recruited him. Duh!

Fromm signed with Georgia and entered school early so that he could be involved in the Bulldogs’ spring practice. He was up against a heralded Jacob Eason, who had a year’s start on Fromm, having quarterbacked the Dawgs in 2016. Jake was supposed to be the understudy to Eason in the 2017 season.

Nobody told Jake Fromm he was supposed to find a nice, quiet place on the bench. Instead he turned many heads with his “moxie.” Moxie is an intangible trait. Some call it swagger, but it’s just a whole of lot of confidence in one’s ability and the talent to back that confidence up. Fromm had both.

Still, the UGA coaching staff sort of owed the starting position to the talented Eason. After all, Eason had weathered a freshman year where he spent more time on his backside than standing up. He had to “run for his life” much of his opening season and had earned at least the first game’s start.

Realistically, a back-up quarterback is just one play away from having to go into the game. Eason suffered an injury soon after the start of the first game and Jake Fromm was called upon to lead the team in a team’s most visible and important position.

One might say that he was thrown to the wolves, except Jake Fromm was the hunter instead of the hunted. His teammates rallied around the confident youngster and he did not crumble under the pressure. Instead he and the team seemed to flourish.

It didn’t hurt that Fromm had two of the best running backs in the League behind him. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel had returned for their senior years, determined to carry Old Georgia to a championship. All they needed was a quarterback who could answer the call when the call came.

Jake Fromm proved to be that player. His second game was in the hallowed stadium of Notre Dame. The stage was not too big. Georgia won and Jake Fromm and the Dawgs never looked back.     

In a nutshell that’s Jake Fromm. No stage seems too big. Still, it’s an amazing year when you go from Freedom Field in Houston County, Georgia, to The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. I’d call that amazing!