By Nicole Saavedra
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has stood firmly and confidently in the spotlight this season.
But no stage — whether it was a road game at Notre Dame, the SEC Championship or the Rose Bowl — has been quite as big, with a spotlight quite as bright, as what the true freshman will face Monday night in the national title game against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“He’s got a whole ‘nother level of intensity and pressure to deal with in the championship game,” ESPN play-by-play commentator Chris Fowler said. “Because semifinals aren’t like conference title games. They’re not like bowl games. The national championship is a whole ‘nother level above the semifinal if you believe every guy that’s ever played in one. It’s another challenge for him, but you’d be wrong to doubt the guy based on what we’ve seen.”
Alabama saw it, too. Fromm was committed to Alabama, but when Georgia coach Kirby Smart arrived in Athens, he went after the Houston County, Ga., player. In March 2016, Fromm decided he’d follow Smart to Athens.
“We thought he was a great player,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban, who praised Fromm’s instincts and decision-making. “We had him in camp and we were excited to have him be a part of our program, but we also understood when Kirby went to Georgia and Kirby was recruiting him that there was a chance of that happening.”
Fromm has completed 63.7 percent of his pass attempts this season and thrown for 2,383 yards and 23 touchdowns with five interceptions. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
And he’s shown no sign of the freshman jitters.
Georgia has trailed at halftime just three times this season. Fromm, the 2017 SEC Freshman of the Year, has led them back to wins twice. On both occasions, Georgia trailed late against a ranked team.
Against Notre Dame, Fromm led a nine-play, 63-yard drive with under seven minutes left to set up a go-ahead field goal. In Georgia’s double-overtime win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, Fromm was 3 of 4 for 48 yards on a 7-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a touchdown from Nick Chubb on a direct snap with under a minute left to tie the game and force overtime.
“I just know God’s not going to put me in a situation I can’t handle,” Fromm said after the Rose Bowl victory. “That calms me down. And I know the guys I have with me, those guys are awesome football players. I know as long as I put the ball in their hands, they can make plays.”