In response to my Saturday post about Fromm pushing Eason, a Twitter thread popped up in which Dan Wolken shared this:
To which my first thought was wondering whether Eason’s inaugural season was worse than I thought. Plenty of commenters here have already compared it to the last time time Georgia started a true freshman, Stafford’s 2006 season, and found that it was a better one statistically.
Then, there’s also this chart Phil Steele compiled of 2016’s top 50 true freshmen quarterbacks and their impact on the last season. The first thing to notice there is that the vast majority of them either redshirted or played very little, as only six of those on the list had more than 100 pass attempts. (BREAKING: Starting as a true freshman quarterback isn’t easy.)
Far be it from me to say Eason had a season for the ages in 2016, but notice that no quarterback who attempted more than 100 throws managed to top a 140 passer rating. Jalen Hurts did turn in a fine year when you factor in his running stats, but he had a much better surrounding cast than did his Georgia counterpart.
All of which brings me back to the point I’ve been making about this whole Eason/Fromm deal, which is that the odds of replacing one true freshman quarterback’s season with another that will turn out significantly better seem rather long. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that Fromm’s intangibles exceed Eason’s (who, remember, should have finished last season with two game-winning touchdown throws), he’s still going to be working with the same playbook and offensive coordinator, most of the same receiving corps and another rebuilding exercise on the offensive line. Somebody needs to explain to me how that’s a recipe for success.
I’m not trying to knock Jake Fromm here. He appears to have a great future at Georgia. But unless he turns out to have an unprecedented rookie season as a roaring success, the only two things I can see likely resulting from him being named the starting quarterback over Eason is that Georgia would be headed for a second straight throwaway year and Eason would be headed to another football program.
Speaking of which, here was my second thought after reading what Wolken tweeted.