ATHENS, Ga. — Quarterback Jacob Eason, who has started 13 straight games for Georgia, won’t play Saturday at Notre Dame due to a sprained left knee ligament he sustained in the first quarter of the Bulldogs’ season-opening win.
Coach Kirby Smart said Monday that the sophomore won’t need surgery and a full recovery is expected this season.
“He’s performing rehab daily, started yesterday,” Smart said. “Not sure the length of time he’ll be out…we don’t know that yet. It will be week to week.”
Smart said Eason naturally took the setback hard. Coaches asked tailback Nick Chubb, whose sophomore season was cut short by a knee injury, to speak to Eason.
“He was down a little bit, but he’ll be back from it, be back this year and we’re actually fortunate it wasn’t worse than it was,” Smart said. “So that’s the good news. …I’m just disappointed for Jacob for how hard he worked and how much he grew and how much better he had gotten. He really didn’t get to showcase that and show it the other day.”
True freshman Jake Fromm will become Georgia’s sixth quarterback to start in a game since November, 2013. The Bulldogs went from Aaron Murray to Hutson Mason to Greyson Lambert to Faton Bauta back to Lambert to Eason and now to Fromm.
So the Bulldogs will enter their second game of the season with a true freshman quarterback making his collegiate starting debut. It was Eason last year in a 26-24 home win over Nicholls State.
Fromm will become the sixth true freshman quarterback to start for Georgia joining Eason, Matthew Stafford (2006), Quincy Carter (1998), Eric Zeier (1991) and Johnny Rauch (1945).
Fromm led a Georgia offense that scored 31 straight points after entering the game for an injured Eason in the first quarter of a 31-10 win Saturday against Appalachian State. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
“I thought he came in and managed the situation well and every situation will be different because App State obviously wasn’t planned for him,” Smart said. “Jake Fromm’s a mature freshman that’s going to be able to take over the offense and go out execute. He’s got some good players around him. He’s got to use those guys.”
Redshirt senior Brice Ramsey, who threw interceptions on both of his passes Saturday, will back up Fromm. The Bulldogs also have walk-on quarterbacks Sam Vaughn and Stetson Bennett IV.
Smart said Georgia has “a couple of other athletic guys,” that can play quarterback. He didn’t mention names but Mecole Hardman was a high school quarterback.
The 6-foot-, 172-pound Bennett, who played at Pierce County, “is a talented player,” Smart said. “He’s been on the bright surprises of our camp….He’s got great arm strength. He sees the field well. He’s not exceptionally tall but you can ask the defensive players he’s been a hanful down there on the scout team.”