By David Krueger Herald Writer
Jacob Eason didn’t plan to make a college commitment when he arrived at the University of Georgia last weekend.
But after touring the campus and talking with the school’s football coaches, the Lake Stevens quarterback couldn’t envision playing anywhere else.
Over the weekend, Eason, considered one of the top QBs in the nation in the Class of 2016, made a verbal commitment to play for the Bulldogs.
The commitment is non-binding. Eason can’t officially sign an NCAA letter of intent until February of 2016.
“I really didn’t have any intention of committing on my way down there,” he said. “I was going to go check out a few schools and make my decision a little later. But I went to Georgia and everything fit perfectly. I love the school, the area, the coaches and the academics. I figured, ‘Why wait?’ I didn’t want to lose the spot.”
Eason’s visit to Geogia was part of a trip through The Deep South with his mother, father and sister that included unofficial visits to Alabama, Florida State and, finally, Athens, Georgia.
“I had high expectations going into Athens,” Eason said. “Everything was awesome. I love it down there.”
The Georgia coaches, including offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo, were some of the first to recruit Eason. Their dedication and commitment played a large part in his decision to commit early.
“They’ve always been the school,” Eason said. “The coaches have been the most involved. Coach Bobo came all the way up to Washington to watch me throw twice. That’s more than any other school and that’s a four-and-a-half-hour flight. That’s a lot of commitment.”
Among the other schools Eason considered were Washington, Notre Dame and Stanford.
As a sophomore last season, Eason threw for 2,941 yards and 23 touchdowns, quickly earning himself a name among those who follow college recruiting. The website 247Sports lists him as the No. 1 recruit for the state of Washington in the Class of 2016 and No. 14 in the country.
ESPN.com rates the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Eason as the nation’s top pocket passer in the Class of 2016.
Lake Stevens head coach Tom Tri said he wasn’t surprised Eason committed to Georgia.
“I just want him to go to the right fit and have a chance to be successful and get a good education and have a chance to play on Saturdays,” Tri said. “I know they’ve been recruiting him very hard and have been very, very interested.”
Eason’s commitment over the weekend set social media ablaze, with several blogs and Georgia fans tweeting that Eason is the Bulldogs’ biggest recruiting catch since quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford played three seasons at Georgia before entering the NFL draft. The Detroit Lions made him the No.1 pick in the 2009 draft.
Eason enjoyed the comparison.
“That is cool,” he said. “We were down there in the film room and coach Bobo and the coaching staff were showing us some video (of Stafford). We’re a similar playing style, both strong pocket guys with big arms. It’s awesome being compared to Matthew Stafford. He was a first-round draft pick and that’s what I would love to do.”
Along with Eason, Georgia got another top commit last weekend in Ben Cleveland, the No. 3 offensive tackle in the Class of 2016, according to 247Sports. Eason and Cleveland met at a camp in Baltimore and became fast friends. Eason plans on rooming with Cleveland, who lives in north Georgia, when the two join the Bulldogs in 2016.
“I feel comfortable now getting a big guy like that protecting my blindslide,” Eason said. “… We lived thousands of miles apart but we’re great friends. Now we’re going to be going to school together. It should be fun.”
With his commitment out of the way, Eason is eager to get started on his junior season.
“Now I can just go back to Lake Stevens and focus on the high school season,” he said. “The future is taken care of. I can focus on high school and winning a state championship with my team.”