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Jake Fromm’s Standard of Excellence

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The only totals that Jake Fromm focused on were wins.

The numbers Jake Fromm compiled, nor the games he won, account for all that he did for and meant to Georgia football. Those totals are merely a starting point. Going all of the way back to the beginning, there has been a very real energy to Fromm and his efforts. That presence now comes with a place in history.

From stabilizing Georgia's season as a true freshman after an unfortunate injury to talented starting quarterback Jacob Eason, to his notable success in Jacksonville and in bowl games, Fromm's legacy has long been one of leadership. Since game one, he has proved ready for that responsibility. Fromm consistently embraced the moment and, playing for a coach who has famously deemed pressure a privilege, seemed comfortable, at his best, even, on the big stage.

Under the bright lights, the gleaming "G" on Fromm's helmet often blended into a grin.

A Warner Robins-native, Fromm grew up a Georgia fan. His upcoming journey to the professional ranks is, literally and figuratively, tracked in red clay. That passion helped power the Bulldogs to the next level; three consecutive SEC Championship Games for the first time ever, the second Rose Bowl win in program history and the first national championship bout in a generation-plus. Fromm's resume, one for the ages, goes well beyond just records. His optimism gave his team conviction. 

Hungry but humble, productive and poised, Fromm helped elevate the status quo in Athens; swagger with a style. Expectations are and could not be higher. After Fromm led Georgia to the College Football Playoff Final as a true freshman, and very nearly an all-time victory, the Bulldogs now expect such results. Anything less than competing for a national title is now considered somewhat of a disappointment.

As Kirby Smart's Georgia vision has taken shape, Fromm, a sturdy 6'2'', 220 pounds, has been the form and foundation.

Year-by-year, each season, for Fromm, came with individual achievement and acclaim. As a newcomer, he ranked eighth nationally with a passer rating of 160.09, earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors. For an encore, Fromm finished fifth in the country in quarterback rating, tying for tenth in the game with 30 touchdown passes. Fromm, even through some relative ups and downs this past year, still had the second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the league at 24-to-6.

A number of signature showings stand out. In Fromm's SEC Championship Game debut, he completed 16-of-22 passes with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The very next game, the Rose Bowl, saw Fromm throw for 210 yards and two scores with no turnovers. His second SEC Championship Game showdown, though in a losing effort, saw Fromm throw for 301 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama. The Sugar Bowl, Fromm's final game, came with 250 yards and three more scores.

In three critical matchups with rival Florida, Fromm completed 41-of-61 passes for 620 yards, six touchdowns, just one interception and, most importantly, three wins. 

Overall, Fromm's career statistics are quite impressive: 63.3% passing, 8,224 yards and 78 touchdowns. He is one of just two SEC quarterbacks the past 20 years with those minimums, joining the legendary Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. A unique compliment for Fromm is that his numbers truly are historic in nature, but he was so consistent from so early on that those elements of his successes often overshadowed his own performance and proficiency.  

The only totals that Fromm focused on, however, were wins. 

What tells the story, with Fromm, isn't just what he did, but what his team did as well. Each of Fromm's three seasons in Athens finished with Georgia as a front page-part of the national narrative; trips to the College Football Playoff, three SEC Championship Games, the Rose Bowl and two Sugar Bowls stand as testaments to his tenure. Memories, ones that will be talked about for years to come, are what marked Fromm's tenure. 

Through it all, Fromm had a feel for the moment. 

Against Georgia's four primary archrivals, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech and Tennessee, Fromm went a combined 12-1, ultimately avenging his lone loss to the Tigers in a much more important rematch in Atlanta mere weeks later. Fromm wasn't just poised in the Bulldogs' hotly-contested showdowns, he was almost perfect. Such was Fromm's standard. Winning, and winning the games that mattered most, helped he and the Bulldogs reach and exceed expectations.

Fromm's career was a comprehensive one. In addition to becoming the first starting quarterback ever to advance to the SEC Championship Game as a freshman, sophomore and junior and serving as a team captain, he also made the most of his opportunities off the field. Fromm recently received CoSIDA Academic All-District team honors. He won Georgia's community service award at the team's postseason banquet as well. All of those roles, for the Bulldogs, are ones that Fromm embraced. 

It was a classic run in the Classic City. One of the great players in Georgia history, Fromm played a leading role as the Bulldogs worked towards a spot amongst college football's elite. It's an individual distinction he both earned and exemplified as well.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports