When Kirby Smart took the Georgia coaching job back in December, the wheels were already in motion for one of the top quarterbacks in the country to rethink his commitment to Alabama.
Emerson Fromm, a UGA grad himself and father of Jake Fromm, told SEC Country that the Bulldogs’ hiring of Smart was ultimately one of the biggest factors in why his son — a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 4 pro-style passer — de-committed from Alabama and switched to Georgia.
“When Kirby left, it made it tough. Kirby was a big draw to go to Alabama,” Emerson said. “I mean, Alabama stands alone. You don’t need any extra reasons to go to Alabama. Jake is a very relationship-oriented kid. He wants to win. He wants to play. He wants a great education. He is also a people-person. Alabama is just not geared up that way. There’s obviously nothing wrong with it because they win national championships every year. Jake cares more about the relationships.”
In fact, Jake Fromm’s relationship with Smart is so strong that his father said if Smart had taken a job elsewhere, there was a good chance his son would have followed him to that school.
After Smart took the Georgia job, Emerson said Alabama kind of backed off its communication with Jake because Smart had been the Fromms’ direct line to the Crimson Tide coaching staff.
“Kirby said he wasn’t necessarily going to try to steal him from Alabama, but at the same time, we’re going to talk and not just give up on Jake,” Emerson said. “It’s interesting how there was very little contact after that from Alabama. Kirby was our point of contact there.”
A decision to become a Bulldog wasn’t made until after the Fromms took a trip to Tuscaloosa this past weekend. Before that, the pair made a surprise trip to Athens just two days earlier. Coming out of that visit to Georgia, the emotions were running high for Jake, a native of Warner Robins, Ga.
“For his entire life, from the moment he could understand what football is, he was a Georgia fan,” Emerson said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of emotion there, so we went back to Alabama. He just couldn’t connect with the coaches there. It was just hard to have a relationship with those guys. Kirby was our point of contact there. He likes Kirby and wants to play for Kirby.”
The Fromms directly gave Nick Saban the news, and Jake’s father said Saban was “very gracious” when he heard his top quarterback wasn’t committed to Alabama anymore.
“I feel like (Saban) wants what’s best for Alabama and wants what’s best for the kids,” Emerson said. “Sometimes they just don’t co-exist.”
With Jake’s father’s affiliation to Georgia, some people may question if he pushed the U.S. Army All-American to play for his alma mater. That wasn’t the case. It all goes back to his relationship with Smart and his desire to be a part of a program on the rise.
“I think Jake wanted to be a part of something that is on the way up, and he wants to be a part of something special,” his father said. “It’s harder to be a part of something special at Alabama because they do it all of the time. You go win a championship at Georgia, you’ve done something.”
Georgia already has one of the top quarterback recruits in the country on its roster in five-star Jacob Eason, an early enrollee who is favored to win the starting job over rising senior Greyson Lambert this season. So why would Fromm, one of the top quarterbacks in the country himself, follow in the footsteps of Eason?
“No matter where you go, now that we have been a part of the process forever, (Alabama sophomore QB) Blake Barnett was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country; (Alabama freshman QB) Jalen Hurts was one of the top five dual-threat quarterbacks in the country; (Alabama junior QB) Cooper Bateman — another one of the top prospects in the country.
“If you go to one of the top schools, you are going to be in a group with another one of the top quarterbacks in the country. You have to compete with somebody. He has respect for Eason — the utmost respect for him. At the same time, for Eason to keep the job, (Jake’s) going to be working his butt off. I guarantee you that.”