The state of Georgia is absolutely loaded at the quarterback position in the class of 2018. According to 247Sports, two of the nation’s top three overall players are quarterbacks who hail from the Peach State. And, as of now, neither player is committed to the University of Georgia.
Can that change?
Well, the top overall player, Trevor Lawrence from Cartersville, is strong in his pledge to Clemson. That isn’t happening. Lawrence, a pro-style passer in the mold of current Bulldog QB Jacob Eason, committed to the Tigers back in December. And he’s Clemson’s future.
So, that leaves the No. 3 overall prospect, Justin Fields, a dual-threat passer from Kennesaw, as Georgia’s best chance to land one of the state’s elite QB prospects for next year’s class. Until recently, Fields was committed to Penn State, however, after a strong showing at the Elite 11 Fields backed off his pledge to the Nittany Lions and suddenly became an option for the ‘Dawgs again.
@QBHitList Premium 2018 QB @justnfields #PennState commit, droppin' dimes here at the @Elite11 Finals #GetOpen @TheOpening pic.twitter.com/446IxsqY2M— QBHitList.com (@QBHitList) June 4, 2017
For the most part, Georgia has always preferred classic dropback-style quarterbacks. Eason, who was the No. 5 overall player in 2016, played in all 13 games as a true freshman, completing 55 percent of his passes to go along with 16 touchdowns. At times, Eason displayed the vast potential some believe could lead to him being a future No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Eason had his share of his struggles, too. But to be fair, Georgia’s offense featured a dearth of qualified weapons in 2016.
Georgia didn’t stop with Eason. In 2017, the Bulldogs signed another potentially elite passer in four-star Jake Fromm of Warner Robins, Georgia. Fromm doesn’t possess the size and arm strength of Eason, but he displays a bit more mobility. He is somewhat reminiscent of former ‘Dawg Aaron Murray.
No quarterback has the dual-threat capabilities of Fields. At 6’3”, 221 pounds, Fields has good size. He also has a big arm and has proven to be an accurate passer. Combine that with Fields’ unbelievable athleticism and you have a player who could change the fortunes of whichever school he decides to attend.
For as impressive as Fields is on the field, he’s just an impressive in the film room, according to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman.
Heard this from @Elite11 coaches abt #PennState commit Justin Fields: Just as impressive in there (filmroom/on board) as he is on the field.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) June 4, 2017
That’s high praise. Feldman, the author of the book ‘The QB’, is as plugged in as anyone as it pertains to quarterbacks.
Will the presence of Fromm and Eason—for at least one more year after the 2017 season is completed—cause Fields to look elsewhere?
Head coach Kirby Smart is certainly making Fields a major priority for the class of 2018. But, Florida, Florida State, Auburn and even Penn State are all in contention for his services. Florida could be his easiest path to playing time as a true freshman.
Winning the battles for the top talent in the state has always been key to UGA’s success. In Smart’s first full year in charge, the Bulldogs signed 11 of the top 16 players in the state. And when your state has the top two quarterbacks in the entire nation and you fail to land either of them, that isn’t good.
When it’s said and done, expect this battle to come down to Florida, Georgia and Auburn. Fields like Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, so the Tigers will be in this battle to the end.
Smart needs to do everything in his power to keep Fields home.