EXCLUSIVE: Jake Fromm said making pro decision was ‘excruciating’

It was late on a Tuesday morning when Jake Fromm arrived at his decision. And when the Georgia quarterback did, he didn't waste any time acting on it. He met with coach Kirby Smart that afternoon, packed his bags that night, and lit southwest out of town at first light the next morning.

By the time Fromm sent out the tweet that would be heard throughout the Bulldog nation, he was already in Mobile, Ala. Then he turned his phone off.

That was Jan. 8. In retrospect, that may seem odd that Fromm, a beloved Georgia football player who never shrank away from bright lights, would just slip out of town without so much as a peep, never mind a news conference or a ticker-tape parade.

In the end, Fromm said it needed to be that way. He described the decision to forego his senior season at Georgia as “excruciating” and “painful.” In his mind, there was just no sense in complicating the process.

Like pulling off a bandage, it's almost always better to just grip it and rip it.

“I really didn’t want to make it any tougher than it had to be,” Fromm said Tuesday from Mobile. “It was just excruciating for me. I thought the easier thing was to get out, get to training and get my mind set on something else. As far as a press conference or something, you know, that wasn’t exactly me. I talked to people I have relationships with and saw every day. I will have the opportunity to come back and really say those goodbyes and get in touch with everybody.”

That was a point Fromm emphasized a few times during an extensive telephone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. He contends that he hasn’t left Georgia. He’s merely doing something else at the moment.

“I’m not gone,” said Fromm, who was Georgia’s quarterback of record for every game of the past three seasons, 43 in all. “I’ll always be a Bulldog and always love everyone in the Dog Nation. I’m still here and will always be here.”

To reiterate what many Georgia fans can probably recite now, Fromm leaves as the Bulldogs’ fourth-leading passer of all time with 8,224 yards and second in touchdown passes with 78. He led UGA to 37 wins in 43 games over three seasons, starting all but the very first one when he replaced an injured Jacob Eason during the third offensive series of the game. The Bulldogs won an SEC championship, a Rose Bowl and three SEC East titles during Fromm’s career. He was named a permanent team captain for the 2019 team.

Here's a quick by the numbers look at Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm.

Since leaving Athens, Fromm has been living in Mobile and training with David Morris at QB Country. Morris has served as Fromm’s personal quarterback coach since Fromm was a rising junior at Houston County High School.

On Tuesday, Fromm and Morris were driving to the EXOS training facility in Pensacola, Fla., to throw and work out with players who are also preparing for the 2020 NFL Combine. Fromm was among 10 Georgia players to be invited to that all-important pre-draft event Feb. 23-March 2 in Indianapolis.

As of Tuesday, Pro Football Focus still had Fromm projected as the fourth quarterback selected in this year’s draft. The Chicago Bears in the second round seems to be a popular prognostication at the moment.

Following are Fromm’s answers to some of the questions people may have wondered about since he left town.

Q: So you were literally out of town by the time you shared the news of your decision?

A: Yeah, I hit Mobile when I released everything. But the decision came to me the day before, and it was tough. It was one that I battled back and forth. There was nothing easy about it, for sure. It was tough. There were days when I really thought I wanted to stay, and there were days that I thought the whole NFL thing was definitely the next step for me.

Q: What ultimately clinched it for you?

A: It became clear to me when I was challenged by my pastor in Athens (David Holt of Living Hope Church) to do something called the Proverbs Challenge. I did that. I read some scripture and just really felt a strong tug in my heart that this was what I'm supposed to do. I made that decision, talked to coach Smart that afternoon, packed up that night and left out at 6 o'clock that morning.

Q: What would you say it ultimately came down to?

A: It honestly came down to my heart and what I felt from the scripture. I really thought this is what I was being led to do. I just thought the Lord had put everything in my path and opened doors for me, and this is what I was supposed to do. Trust me, I enjoyed every single minute and loved every single minute of being in Athens and being at Georgia. Being a Georgia football player could not have meant more to me and my family. It wasn't easy at all, but it just felt like what I was supposed to do. I'm here, and I haven't looked back from it. I'm here trying to be great and go on and do great things.

Q: Now that the process has been fully initiated, how are you feeling about it?

A: For me, I think it's more exciting than anything. It's a chance to really pursue a childhood dream. It's a chance to really just kind of do something big. I'm excited for it. It's what kids dream. So, I'm excited and I grind every day as far as work. It's something I'm ready to take on.

Q: So, what does a typical day look like for you now?

A: Wake up, get to the (QB Country) facility early, get loose, get some PT (physical training), do some speed work, get on the field, throw, eat lunch. After that, then we do a lot of meeting time, lift again in the afternoon, meet some more, go home, do some more (study) back at the house.

Q: Who’s working with you besides David Morris?

A: Rich, Bryant, a PT team. We've really put together a really good team as far as nutrition and meals, everything. I think everything's kind of jelling together. I'm trying to be really focused these last two weeks before the combine.

Q: We know about your love of the outdoors. No time for that?

A: I've been able to fish and play a little golf every now and then, maybe on a Wednesday afternoon or a Saturday. I've been able to go and do a little bit and get out some. I've always needed that, to get out and kind of clear my mind. It makes the grind a little bit more tolerable for me. And I have people come visit me on the weekends, friends and family, and that's been great. The process has been unbelievable.

Q: You’ve used the Twitter handle “@JakeFromStateFromm” since you were in high school. I saw they’ve taken you in as a client. Shot a commercial yet?

A: No, no commercial yet (laughs). But that's been good. It's something I've kind of played with since my senior year of high school. I always thought, as a kid in high school, that was something I could possibly set up for the future. I never really thought anything would come out of it. Now I'm here in this position, and it's good to be part of their team. I'm just trying to build that relationship. Hopefully I'll be able to take care of business on the field and hopefully be in commercial with Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers one day.

Q: What is it you hope to prove or disprove at the combine?

A: There's nothing I have to prove. I think it's just about showing up and being me, being genuine, authentic. I've played a lot of football, I've got a lot of experience. So, I think it's about going in and just being the best me I can be and making one team fall in love with me.

Q: All right, what about the team you’ve left behind? It looks like the Bulldogs are going to be in for a major rebuild on offense, from coordinator on down.

A: I know coach Smart has everything handled. He's going to do whatever puts Georgia in the best position to win. I know he's put together a great staff and they'll put together a great product on offense. Those guys are in great shape.

Q: Have you met or heard from the transfer quarterback Jamie Newman or (early-enrollee freshman) Carson Beck or any of those guys?

A: I have not had an opportunity to meet Jamie yet, but I look forward to coming back to Athens during the training process. I'm sure I'll get to meet and spend some time with those guys then and really look forward to just talking football with them. That'll be good. I know those guys are in great hands and I know Georgia will be great, just like we always are.

Q: Finally, what about the draft? Is your goal to work your way up into the first round, land on the best team you possibly can or to end up where the possibility of playing quickly is most realistic?

A: You know, you obviously want to go as high as you can go, but I just want to go to the best team and the best fit. I don't want to ask for anything more than that. I think I really have faith and trust that the Lord's going to put me in the right spot, and I'll be ready to go in and give that organization everything I have to give them. I'm ready to play professional football.