Opponents such as Notre Dame give Georgia slight edge in recruiting pitch

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Jake Fromm was born July 30, 1998. Fromm's first moment at the national level came in the 2011 Little League World Series. Fromm led Houston County High to the third round of the state football playoffs as a senior. A 4-star recruit, Fromm committed to Alabama before changing his mind and later signing with Georgia. Fromm's college debut came as a freshman, on Sept. 2, 2017 against Appalachian State, after starting QB Jacob Eason was injured. Fromm's first start for UGA came at Notre Dame, directing the B

This is a big game, Kirby Smart won’t dispute that.

But even without it, the Georgia coach knows that there will always be tough opponents for the Bulldogs: a mid-season trek to Jacksonville to face Florida, a November road trip to Auburn and a late-season home game against Texas A&M, all of them likely to be Top 25 matchups, maybe even top-10.

And from Smart’s eyes, this isn’t a Georgia-specific thing. No SEC institution is getting away with an easy schedule. So when it comes to the recruiting game, it’s hard to leverage that over others.

“I think that having a strong schedule is a huge selling point,” Smart said. “But in the SEC, I think we all got that. … The SEC schedule gives you the opportunity to play in the greatest venues in all of college football, play in front of the largest fan bases.”

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What a big non-conference game such as Saturday at home against Notre Dame does, however, is separate Georgia from the herd. It makes it look better, to fans, recruits, everyone. In relative terms, if each SEC school’s schedule was a milkshake, Georgia’s would have a nice plump cherry sitting atop of it — Notre Dame.

“This is just in addition to,” Smart said. “This is your way to differentiate yourself from other SEC schools you recruit against because you got an opportunity to play at Notre Dame, and to play Notre Dame at home.”

When you look at the non-conference games the Bulldogs are scheduling for the future, you notice similar tendencies. They have mutual-site games with Oregon and Clemson, home-and-home series with Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas and a single away game with Florida State. In total, it’s a numerous amount of cherries for UGA, cherries that both fans and recruits will eat for the next decade.

“It's exciting for the fans,” Smart said. “The fans enjoy these games. They want you to play high-caliber opponents. They want to see these kinds of games and this kind of atmosphere.”