Trevor Lawrence is the most promising quarterback in the country. Tua Tagovailoa was the Heisman Trophy favorite for a majority of the 2018 season. Both players have won national championships and are viewed as potential No. 1 overall NFL draft picks.
For good reason, the Clemson and Alabama stars are typically the first players mentioned when the topic of best college football QBs comes up. When NFL potential is considered as well, Oregon's Justin Herbert quickly joins the list.
But what about Jake Fromm?
The rising junior is mentioned among the top 2020 NFL-eligible quarterbacks, but he's not always a focal point. Fromm has an SEC title. He has guided Georgia to the College Football Playoff once and nearly to a second appearance.
Through two years, he's tossed 54 touchdowns with only 13 interceptions. Whether for his reliability and leadership or some other combination of traits, Fromm has captured the complete trust of head coach Kirby Smart, which contributed to the high-profile transfer of Justin Fields. The 5-star rarely saw meaningful snaps in 2018 and decided to bolt for Ohio State.
Yet Fromm may still seem unfairly overshadowed. While there are several contributing factors, one important reason is what has usually kept Fromm one tier below the others.
Under the brightest lights, someone else stole the show.
As a true freshman, Georgia did a tremendous job putting Fromm in manageable situations on the field―and the scoreboard. Of the team's 13 wins, 11 featured a margin of 14 points or more. He wasn't asked to make high-pressure throws often.
To Fromm's credit, he oversaw a clutch drive at Notre Dame. However, excellent defense and Georgia fans' takeover of South Bend owned the recaps. Otherwise, there was Auburn's 23-point beatdown of UGA, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel running all over Oklahoma, and Tagovailoa's stunning comeback in the national title.
Last season, each of the Dawgs' 11 victories was by 14-plus points. Their three losses were LSU's impressive 20-point triumph, Jalen Hurts' heroics for the SEC crown―plus the infamous failed fake punt―and Sam Ehlinger declaring after the Sugar Bowl that Texas is back.
There were no game-winning drives to celebrate, no dramatic touchdowns. Just blowout wins or losses.
Another issue is all five of Georgia's defeats since the beginning of 2017 have coincided with the team's worst rushing performances. The Bulldogs are 24-0 when averaging four-plus yards per carry. When failing to reach the mark, they're 0-5.
The evidence plainly says Fromm, as talented as he is, fails to elevate Georgia when the rushing attack isn't successful. It's also seen in the team's performance when his volume is highest:
Now, the 30-attempt benchmark is not an absolute standard. More passes typically mean a team is trailing, just as more rushing attempts likely means an advantage. That's not always the case, but it's a general guideline.
Further, offensive tempo and style dictate a quarterback's usage. For example, Clemson averaged 71.7 plays last season, while Alabama ran 67.3 and Georgia notched 65.9. Fromm has a smaller role simply based on Georgia's preferred philosophy.
Simultaneously, though, it remains true Fromm trails his star counterparts. They're better suited for high volume.
Clemson was 7-0 when Lawrence hit 30-plus attempts, and he starred in the 2018 CFP with two 300-yard, three-touchdown games. Fromm has one of those in his career. Alabama was 3-1 with Tagovailoa at 30-plus, and he recorded 300-plus yards or three-plus scores eight times in 2018. Fromm, in 28 career starts, has eight such games.
That alone doesn't mean he's a lesser player; high efficiency is an essential part of being a quarterback. Besides, NFL teams are closely monitoring Fromm and his appealing skill set.
But massive production and timely excellence earn headlines. Unlike Lawrence and Tagovailoa, Fromm cannot claim either.
Now that Jacob Eason and Fields are no longer breathing down his neck, 2019 is a perfect chance for Fromm to change it.