UPDATED on Thursday, 4/23/20, at 2:17 p.m. ET. — Brian liked Jake Fromm ‘under’ 61.5 for a +115 return on Wednesday. Those numbers are even better now at FanDuel (66.5 for a +114 payout).
The last time Jake Fromm entered a new league, he took over right away and never looked back.
As a true freshman, the Warner Robbins, GA., native arrived in Athens in 2017. Jacob Eason was the present and future at the quarterback position for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Eason had started started all 13 games as a true freshman in 2016. UGA went 8-5 straight up and 6-7 against the spread, but it could’ve easily been a 10-win campaign.
Tennessee beat UGA thanks to a touchdown pass on a walk-off Hail Mary throw from Josh Dobbs to Jauan Jennings. The Bulldogs lost to Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech by two combined points, but Eason threw a pair of TD passes without an interception in a 31-23 victory over TCU at the Liberty Bowl.
Eason was up and down, just as you would expect from a true freshman starting every game in the SEC. He completed only 55.1 percent of his passes, but he had 2,430 passing yards and a 16/8 TD-INT ratio.
Eason was gifted with an NFL arm, great size and had 13 games of experience under his belt coming into the 2017 season. In other words, Fromm wasn’t expected to see much playing time.
However, in the season opener vs. Appalachian State, Eason sprained his knee early in the first quarter. Just like that, Fromm was thrust into the spotlight and forced to take over.
He didn’t blink. Fromm led UGA to a 31-0 lead and it held on for a 31-10 victory. He completed 10-of-15 throws for 143 yards and one TD without an interception.
Eason was ruled out indefinitely, with the timetable for his recovery expected to be about 4-6 weeks. In Week 2, Fromm would make his first career start on the road at Notre Dame on national television at night.
Fromm didn’t light it up in South Bend, but his TD pass to Terry Godwin was crucial in a 20-19 win over the Fighting Irish as a five-point underdog.
Two weeks later, 17th-ranked Mississippi State came to Athens one week after destroying 12th-ranked LSU by a 37-7 count as a seven-point home underdog. It was UGA’s SEC opener and all the talk was about MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald, who had torched LSU for four TDs (two rushing, two passing) and 268 yards from scrimmage.
But Fromm led UGA to a 31-3 win by throwing for two TDs without an interception. By mid-October, UGA was 7-0 and Fromm had a 12/3 TD-INT ratio. Eason was ready to return, but he wouldn’t take a meaningful snap in a UGA uniform ever again.
Georgia thumped Florida 42-7 and then improved to 9-0 with a 24-10 win over South Carolina. After a loss at Auburn, UGA outscored Kentucky and Georgia Tech 80-20 to finish the regular season with a 10-1 record.
Fromm threw two TD passes without an interception to lead UGA past Auburn 28-7 in a rematch at the SEC Championship Game. Oklahoma was on deck in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl. The Sooners had Heisman Trophy winning QB Baker Mayfield.
In an epic thriller, Fromm helped rally Georgia from a 31-14 deficit by connecting on 20-of-29 passes for 210 yards and two TDs without a pick in a 54-48 double-overtime win.
Kirby Smart’s team couldn’t hold a double-digit, second-half lead in the finals of the CFP, losing 26-23 to Alabama in overtime.
Eason transferred to Washington after the 2017 campaign. Competition for Fromm’s job would now come from incoming 5-star freshman QB Justin Fields, but Fromm led UGA to an 11-1 regular-season record and another trip to Atlanta.
With a shot at revenge against the Crimson Tide, Georgia raced out to a 28-7 lead. However, Alabama rallied to win again. This time around, though, it was Jalen Hurts doing the heavy lifting in the comeback.
Fields transferred after one season in Athens, making it two five-star recruits that opted to leave because they couldn’t beat Fromm out. (Fields was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after leading Ohio State to 13-1 record, a Big Ten title and a spot in the CFP Playoff. Meanwhile, Eason is expected — at least by the oddsmakers with a total of 47.5 compared to Fromm’s 61.5 — to be picked ahead of Fromm.)
Fromm dealt with inexperience galore at the wide receiver position during his junior season in 2019. Nevertheless, he had a 24/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and led the Bulldogs to another SEC Championship Game.
With several key offensive players out injured, they lost to Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers in Atlanta. Fromm went out a winner, however, leading his team past Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.
That’s what Fromm is — a winner. If we count the Appalachian State game, he went 36-7 in college and had a stellar 78/18 TD-INT ratio. He doesn’t have an arm that reminds you of Dan Marino or John Elway, and that’s why hardly any mock drafts have him going in the first round.
What he does have is poise, smarts, accuracy and leadership, and he has these traits in bunches. From a mental standpoint, he’s as ready to play as any signal caller in the 2020 NFL Draft class.
Fromm has more big-game experience than Burrow and Tua Taglovailoa. He never missed a game in three years as UGA’s starting QB. His character is what every NFL General Manager and head coach are looking for in any player and certainly at the position he plays.
FanDuel has the ‘over/under’ for Fromm at 61.5 for Thursday’s 2020 NFL Draft. Even better, we can get plus money (+115) by taking the ‘under.’ I recommend doing so for two units.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–I don’t see what everybody else does with Oregon QB Justin Herbert. I’m not implying he can’t play in the NFL; I just don’t think he’s worthy of a top-10 pick. Maybe I just watched the wrong games? I watched every play against Michigan State in the 2018 Redbox Bowl. (What a waste of nearly four hours that was!) He was solid, but certainly not spectacular in the season opener vs. Auburn last year. Herbert did take my money by orchestrating a comeback win at Washington last season. He wasn’t as sharp the next week vs. Washington State, when I cashed on the Cougars. Herbert is solid. I just don’t think he’s special. I like ‘over’ 5.5 at a -130 price for one unit.
–As of early Thursday afternoon, William Hill’s biggest liability was a $500 bet on Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons to get drafted by the Redskins at 50/1 odds for a $25,000 payout.
–Here are some other liabilities for William Hill provided by Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
–Most mock drafts have Vanderbilt RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn going in the fourth or fifth round. What a steal he’ll be if that happens. Before Vaughn arrived at Vandy, the program record for career average yards per carry was 5.5. Vaughn averaged 6.4 YPC in his two seasons for the Commodores. In 2018 when Vandy had Kyle Shurmur, the school’s all-time leader in career passing yards, under center, Vaughn ran for 1,244 yards and 12 TDs while averaging an eye-popping 7.9 YPC. Those numbers went down last season with Vandy getting dreadful play from the offensive line and the QB position. Nevertheless, Vaughn ran for 1,028 yards and nine TDs with a 5.2 YPC average. He had 28 catches for 270 yards and one TD. Vaughn will thrive at the next level.
–Two more RBs that I’m much higher on compared to their projections: Boston College’s A.J. Dillon and Florida’s Lamical Perine.
–LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire would be a perfect fit for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
–I think Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden is a rich man’s version of Antwaan Randle El.