Georgia, Florida in recruiting battle for Lake Stevens QB Jacob Eason

LAKE STEVENS — The last seven days quickly turned into a “pretty crazy week” for Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason.

Hours after the Vikings’ season ended in the 4A state semifinals, Eason found out Georgia head coach Mark Richt, who Eason committed to before his junior season in the summer of 2014, had been fired.

With his phone lighting up with calls, texts and tweets from coaches and media, Eason turned his phone off and spent the day with his family.

“Sunday I was getting over the game and all that stuff. Saturday night was kind of rough,” Eason said. “Then I wake up Sunday morning to a text from Ben Cleveland — he’s a Georgia commit too, he’s a left tackle — saying, ‘Did you hear the news about Richt?’ I thought he was joking and then he sent me a picture saying he got let go at Georgia. I didn’t really know what to think then. I was like, ‘Whoa. This is my future. I’d been committed there like 18 months, so what am I going to do now?’”

Two days later Eason was on a plane for an official visit to the University of Florida. Eason bonded with Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who coached at the University of Washington from 2009-11 and played at the University of Idaho, and head coach Jim McElwain, who played quarterback for Eastern Washington University from 1980-83.

“I knew Florida was a pretty good option because Coach Nuss and Coach Mac both are from around here,” Eason said. “So I set up a trip there to go check that out and ended up really liking it. There’s a lot of good things. Coach Nuss coached at U-Dub and Coach Mac graduated from Eastern Washington and they’ve both got good track records. There’s a lot of good things I got out of that trip.”

Eason, a five-star quarterback, is one of the top recruits in the country. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior passed for 3,585 yards and 43 touchdowns this season while leading Lake Stevens to a 12-1 record and berth in the state semifinals. Last Thursday, Eason was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Washington state and he will participate in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl on Jan. 9 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

As of right now, Eason is still officially committed to the Bulldogs. He signed a financial aid agreement with Georgia over the summer, but said that is non-binding and “just allows the coaches to be able to have unlimited communication” with him.

Eason said new Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, who was introduced in a press conference on Monday, was flying to visit Monday evening and that Eason would fly out on an official visit this weekend.

“Right now, I’m still committed to Georgia,” Eason said. “I took my trip to Florida and I’m still waiting to see who Georgia hires as (offensive coordinator). I have a couple options opened but I’m still committed so we’ll see what happens.”

Eason has talked to Smart on the phone a few times and is excited to meet the new Georgia coach in person.

“He seems like a great guy over the phone,” Eason said. “He’s coming out tonight actually, I’m going to meet him in person, and then I’m going to fly out there Friday and see what they’ve got going on. He seems like a really good guy over the phone, he’s going to try to get the best situation possible at Georgia. We’ll see how it goes.”

After returning from Georgia, Eason plans to talk things over with his family and make a final decision. Eason, who is graduating from Lake Stevens in December, plans to enroll early at whichever university he attends. He is eager to get the process done and just go back to worrying about football.

“I’m still committed (to Georgia) but I’m going to have to decide between the two. The positives and negatives and all that stuff,” Eason said. “Over this year, with coach Richt getting fired and all that stuff, (Florida) kind of popped up. The coaches have been wanting me to come down for awhile so I came down and I liked it a lot. It’s a great school and a great opportunity there too. It’s going to come down, ultimately, to what I decide and where I feel comfortable.

“I’ll come home and talk with my family and my dad and figure everything out.”

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