The camera is focused on Jake Fromm, who can barely get out of his father’s Ford F-150 pickup truck. Fromm, wearing a sleeveless gray Nike tank-top, grabs onto his father, Emerson Fromm, and his high school football coach, Von Lassiter. Holding onto them briefly, Fromm then begins to walk under his own power and into an urgent care facility.
For the third consecutive year, Fromm has gone into full body cramps following a Houston County football practice. Just about every muscle has tensed up, with the phenom quarterback needing intravenous fluids to hydrate him.
It’s August and the heat is scorching. Yet Fromm put his body through a rigorous day of training to prepare for his final season as Houston County’s quarterback.
“What are you going to do when you go off to Georgia and try to do this stuff?” Emerson asks, as Jake has an IV in his arm.
Further reminded that this has now occurred three years in a row, the younger Fromm gives a pointed response.
“I’m trying to be the best I can be,” he said.
This scene is depicted in the 10-episode docuseries QB1: Beyond the Lights, which premiers Wednesday on Complex Networks’ Rated Red on go90.com. The series follows three highly-recruited quarterbacks – Fromm, Las Vegas’ Tate Martell and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Tayvon Bowers – in their final seasons of high school football.
In a recent interview, Lassiter, who has since taken the head coaching job at Bleckley County, recalled that moment when Fromm’s body essentially went into shock.
“He works extremely hard to get his body in the best shape it can be in,” Lassiter said. “He fuels his body with nutrition and hydration. He works extremely hard in the weight room to be the biggest and strongest he can be. But his metabolism is so high that he works himself up so far during practices, and he sweats a lot, but he’s not ever going to take a play off or say, ‘Hey, I don’t feel good.’ He’s never going to do that.
“You’re wasting your time if you try to get him to back off. You’re wasting your breath if you tell him not to do something. And I think that’s just the competitor in him.”
Lassiter noted that the older he gets, the more aware Fromm should be about when to dial it back in practice. But it’s that kind of mentality that led Fromm to 12,745 career yards and 116 touchdowns. He never threw more than nine interceptions in a single season.
The QB1: Beyond The Lights filmmakers, executed by Peter Berg of Friday Night Lights fame, followed Fromm and Houston County’s football team for an entire season. At first, Lassiter said various players on the team enjoyed jumping in front of the cameras. Over time, it became second nature to have them around.
With Fromm in the spotlight, Lassiter said he’s hopeful viewers will get a good glimpse of not only his star quarterback but the person he is in everyday life.
"He follows Jesus. He’s a person who wants to make disciples," Lassiter said. "He’s bold about his faith and carries it well. Second of all, it’s how much he prepares for the game. He studies the video he watches. The things he does for the players to hold them accountable. He’s a coach on the field as well. I really hope that’s portrayed well in the video."
Fromm’s expertise of the quarterback position is an area showcased, highlighted by a scene in the second episode.
In an offensive meeting, Fromm helps break down a particular concept in front of his teammates.
The way Fromm explains it, he could pass for a coach himself. That became commonplace during Fromm’s four years at Houston County, Lassiter said.
“He did it daily. He was a teacher as well,” Lassiter said. “His senior year, which went really good, we had some changes on the coaching staff. He really stepped up and helped lead his group. It made him better because he’s not going to be embarrassed. He’s not going to go out and do something he doesn’t know the answer to. He studied up so he could help and step in to take that role.”