Recruiting rewind: The one Jake Fromm story that maybe you haven’t read yet

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a memory lane trip that revisits the recruiting of Georgia QB Jake Fromm

Did the recruiting guy see this coming?

That’s a question I still get regarding Jake Fromm. The freshman will start at quarterback for Georgia Saturday in the program’s biggest game in at least the last five years. He has already established new school records for a true freshman under center.

Fromm only pitches it around about 17 times per game. But he is sitting second in the SEC with 19 touchdown passes. His 167.72 quarterback rating also ranks second. The pride of Houston County only takes a back seat to Missouri’s Drew Lock in those columns.

Jake Fromm-UGA football
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm prepares to play Missouri in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, October 14, 2017, in Athens. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Georgia’s red-zone scoring offense is perched at No. 1 in the nation in efficiency. The Bulldogs have scored 44 times in their 45 chances snapping on the real paydirt.

The only misfire was a Terry Godwin fumble as he rambled toward the goal. Fromm, buoyed in the backfield by two guys who could have been racking up Fantasy Football points, was the triggerman for all of that.

Just a freshman. Playing in this conference.

I had the chance to spend a lot of time with Fromm during his senior year. Ironically, today marks the one-year anniversary when he lept at the chance to promote the class by taking the first of two turns dressing up as “Santa Jake” in two of DawgNation’s “Christmas Commitment” videos .

Fromm and freshman safety Richard LeCounte III both drove hours at a time to play roles in two separate videos last December. Why? That was just the sort of thing those two are known to do.

Did I see a freshman year like this coming from Fromm? Well, there was the matter of 5-star sophomore Jacob Eason sitting ahead of him on the depth chart.

When Fromm arrived at Georgia, I processed all the things I knew about him (arm, brain, work ethic, toughness, smarts, zeal for the game) and thought to myself he could.

With respect to the vast talents of Eason, I eventually began answering those questions from fans across all our DawgNation.com coverage platforms this way: Jacob Eason was going to become the very best quarterback he could possibly be this season or Jake Fromm would beat him out.

For the record, Fromm never “beat” out Eason. The unfortunate injury to Eason gave Fromm a slight crack. An opportunity. Fromm went through it (with his Dad’s work boots on) and never looked back.

The great Alabama high school coach Josh Niblett used to preach to his guys about “Being at their best when their best was required.” That seems like the simplest way to cover the vast amount of preparation Fromm puts into every game.

If anyone could win at Notre Dame in his first college start, Fromm could.

It was just a reporter’s feeling. A gut instinct they all say. Because I’ve learned and seen things about Fromm over the last few years that simply do not fit the margins of even the best high school athletes I’ve now seen across two decades.

Repetition helps. That’s when you’ve see it enough to notice something that really stands out.

When Jake Fromm signed his financial aid papers to play for Georgia last November, his defensive coordinator (Ryan Crawford) at the time said Fromm made him want to be a better coach. Von Lassiter, his head coach at the time, also got very misty-eyed at that ceremony in the school library.

The room was just that dusty at that time because of what Fromm meant to their football program.

Recruiting reporters will cover dozens of All-American players every year. They hardly ever see real moments like that.

Another Jake Fromm Little League World Series story 

Georgia fans tell me they see the Jake Fromm Little League World Series story evolving into those Pop Warner pictures of David Greene and David Pollack. They used to always see young Greene and young Pollack on CBS during their time in Athens.

But there’s another Little League story from that week that most might not know. It involves Fromm and a childhood friend.

If you’ve seen those Little League World Series broadcasts, then you know each player is introduced on camera. They are asked to name their favorite baseball player. That’s just good TV. It adds to the Norman Rockwell tones of the broadcast.

Fromm’s reply appears below. It is a hiccup past the 12-second mark.


“Hi, my name is Jake Fromm,” he says. “My favorite player is Dillon Strickland.”

Dillon Strickland. Not Chipper Jones. Not Josh Hamilton. Not Dan Uggla or even Brian McCann.

There’s a layered reason why Fromm said that. The simplest way is to say he honored a friend.

It speaks to his Middle Georgia roots. Emerson and Lee Fromm are the parents straight from Hollywood central casting. They live by the right values. Everyone is an immediate friend. They also love their three boys more than anything in this world.

“He and I were talking a little bit,” Emerson Fromm said. “Jake said who should I put down as my favorite player? We just were shooting it around and went through a bunch of names.”

His father said the name “Dillon Strickland” kind of as a joke. Then it stuck.

“We were still teed off about how the hardest-working kid out there didn’t get any love,” Emerson Fromm said. “And it was Dillon Strickland.”

In short, Strickland was a kid who deserves to be on one of those elite Little League teams from Houston County. But he didn’t make the cut. The Fromms felt like he deserved to be on one of the area’s top Little League teams during the previous season.

“He was the underdog guy,” Emerson Fromm said. “The guy who should have been there but maybe got politicked out of it.”

When he heard that name, Fromm said that was what he wanted to do.

“I told him that Dillon Strickland would sincerely appreciate that if you wanted to do it,” his father said

“That’s what I am going to do,” Jake Fromm said.

Strickland was a year older than Jake. The Fromms felt he should have been on that team the year before. But that group fell short of Williamsport during that previous summer.

Everybody asked him about his choice afterward.

“Jake just said that was a buddy from my hometown,” Emerson Fromm said. “Who should have been there. He just admired how hard he worked and nobody, in the end, appreciated what he did. Jake wanted to be known as a guy who worked that hard. Whether he was appreciated for it or not.”

Fromm wanted his moment to honor someone else. Someone that he knew well. I’m probably going to wobble along as I draw this comparison, but that’s what being quarterback is all about.

The reason Fromm is so unique is that interpersonal relationship dynamic he nails so well. He is a true genuine person even in a locker room of blue-chip recruits. People want to play for him and to play with him.

He’s the guy that every football cliche’ points to in the huddle that the other guys will bleed and lay it on the line for.

Fromm knows the plays. He’s tough. Composed. All of that. But to me, that’s the one thing that I’ve seen out of Jake Fromm that very few guys ever have. I carry the belief that the highest levels of the quarterback position are found by what’s going on between the ears.

The young man is instantly likable. For all the right reasons.

He has that level of personal sacrifice for others along his daily walk. Fromm has that on top of everything else a guy needs to be offered a scholarship to play quarterback in the SEC.

Just ask Dillon Strickland.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-American candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.

The post Recruiting rewind: The one Jake Fromm story that maybe you haven’t read yet appeared first on DawgNation.

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