Jake Fromm declares for 2020 NFL draft, leaving massive hole at QB for Georgia

Sam Cooper

Another quarterback is leaving school early for the NFL.

Georgia’s Jake Fromm announced Wednesday that he will forgo his senior season in Athens and declare for the 2020 NFL draft.

Fromm, a Georgia native, arrived on campus as a five-star recruit and ended up starting all three seasons he spent with the Bulldogs. Originally the No. 2 quarterback coming out of fall camp as a true freshman, Fromm was thrust into action when starter Jacob Eason went down with a knee injury. Fromm played so well that he held onto the starting role even when Eason returned to health.

That season, Fromm led the Bulldogs to an SEC championship and the College Football Playoff. Georgia’s only loss that regular season came on the road against Auburn, but UGA won the rematch three weeks later with the conference championship on the line. From there, Georgia outlasted Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime in a CFP semifinal. Next was the national championship game against Alabama. Georgia jumped out to a 20-10 halftime lead, but Alabama stormed back to win in overtime behind a freshman quarterback named Tua Tagovailoa.

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) is heading to the NFL. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) is heading to the NFL. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

Georgia hasn’t returned to the College Football Playoff since. Georgia went 11-1 in the regular season in 2018 and 2019 before falling in the SEC title game. In 2018, the Bulldogs lost to Alabama before finishing No. 5 in the final CFP rankings. This year, Georgia was blown out by LSU and once again finished No. 5.

Georgia had a top-20 offense in 2018, but plummeted all the way to No. 61 in 2019. Fromm, listed at 6-2 and 220 pounds, produced solid numbers, finishing fourth in the SEC with 2,860 passing yards, but he averaged only 204.3 yards per game — 66th nationally. His completion percentage also dipped from 67.4 in 2018 to just 60.8 in 2019.

In all, Fromm totaled 8,236 yards, 78 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while completing 63.3 percent of his passes. Georgia was 35-7 in games started by Fromm.

What’s next for Georgia at QB?

Fromm’s departure leaves a massive question mark for Kirby Smart’s team ahead of the 2020 season.

Once Justin Fields left Athens for Ohio State, there was very little quarterback depth behind Fromm on the roster. Stetson Bennett, once a walk-on, served as Fromm’s backup this season with a host of other walk-ons behind him.

Georgia signed Dwan Mathis, a top 150 recruit, in the 2019 class, but he is reportedly still on the mend after having surgery to remove a cyst on his brain. Another option is 2020 signee Carson Beck, a four-star recruit from Jacksonville, Florida.

A dive into the transfer portal for a graduate transfer could also be under consideration for Georgia. Jamie Newman (formerly of Wake Forest), K.J. Costello (Stanford) and Anthony Brown (Boston College) are among the immediately eligible options in the transfer portal.

No matter the route he takes, don’t expect Smart and his staff to have been unprepared for the possibility Fromm could leave.

Georgia’s offense will look much different in 2020

In addition to a new starter at quarterback, Georgia will have many other new faces in the starting lineup on offense next season. Fromm joined several other UGA underclassmen — including three linemen — as an early draft entrant. Left tackle Andrew Thomas, right tackle Isaiah Wilson and left guard Solomon Kindley have all declared for the draft, as has star running back D’Andre Swift.

Additionally, Cade Mays’ name appeared in the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday. And according to multiple outlets, Mays will end up at Tennessee. Mays, Knoxville native, was committed to Tennessee for more than two years but ended up signing with Georgia. Now with his brother, Cooper, enrolled at UT, Cade will reportedly head home to play with his brother.

Cade Mays was a five-star recruit in the 2018 class who started 11 games for the Bulldogs this year as a sophomore, predominantly at right guard. Cooper Mays, a four-star recruit in 2020, recently enrolled at UT.

Where does Fromm fit in the 2020 NFL draft?

Fromm becomes the fourth underclassman quarterback to declare for the 2020 NFL draft, joining Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Washington’s Jacob Eason and Utah State’s Jordan Love. Other top quarterback prospects include LSU’s Joe Burrow and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm projects Fromm as a second- or third-round pick:

From an intangibles standpoint, Fromm has nearly everything you could hope for from a QB prospect. Mentally, he should be able to enter an NFL environment and understand exactly what is expected from him. Physically, however, he’s nothing special and is coming off a 2019 season in which he didn’t set the world on fire. NFL teams that place a higher value on the mental aspect of the position should like him more; clubs that are more enamored with a QB’s raw tools might not value him that high. The entire 2020 QB class is a tricky one to weigh, but Fromm could be the fourth, fifth or sixth quarterback drafted and right now figures into the second- or third-round range, based on what we’ve heard from NFL people.

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