Man of the Year in Sports: QB Jacob Eason of Lake Stevens

A dream of every high school football coach is to have the chance someday to coach a truly special player.

And if that player turns out to be as special as Jacob Eason, there is no guarantee of ever having the chance to coach someone that good again.

So it is for Tom Tri, who said it is “not going out on a limb at all” to describe Eason as a once-in-a-career kind of player. “I certainly hope I get the opportunity to coach someone like Jacob again,” said Tri, the Lake Stevens High School coach, “but that’s probably not the reality of it. Because to have a player with all the intangibles he has, and with the physical and mental skills that he has, it would be hard to replicate that.”

In his senior season of 2015, Eason collected not only a bunch of local and state awards, but also some prestigious national awards — the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year, the USA Today Player of the Year, and the Maxwell Football Club National High School Player of the Year.

And to these honors is added one more — The Herald’s 2015 Man of the Year in Sports.

All the acclaim is the result of a senior season in which Eason completed 235 of 338 passing attempts for 3,585 yards and 43 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He led Lake Stevens (12-1) to the Class 4A state semifinals at the Tacoma Dome, where the Vikings fell to Skyline 37-34.

“He really has all the tools,” Tri said. “If you start at the bottom, he’s got great feet. He’s not the fastest kid on the field, but he has really an innate ability to buy time. His ability to move around in the pocket, to take a couple of steps to the right or the left, and then to create a play where there is no play, that’s what he’s been really good at since he was a sophomore.

“And then his arm strength, holy cow. The kid can chuck the ball 65-70 yards downfield. And he’s very accurate. … When I say he has all the tools, he really does have all the tools.”

During the college recruiting process, recruiters from most of the nation’s elite programs were stopping by Lake Stevens High School to woo Eason, who by this time had grown to almost 6 feet 6 inches and upwards of 220 pounds — the stature of a prototypical pro-style college quarterback.

“(Recruiting) got a little crazy,” said Tri, a teacher at the school. “A lot of times my classes got interrupted when those guys showed up. Just about every day he had coaches coming by. It was pretty hectic, to say the least. But it was also really a fun process for me (to be part of).”

Eason ended up committing to the University of Georgia, and then started classes there in January after graduating from Lake Stevens at the semester. The school’s athletic department did not make him available for an interview for this story.

About the only accomplishment Eason missed in his remarkable high school career was a Class 4A state championship. And that one, said Tony Eason, his father, was the greatest disappointment of all.

“But even though they didn’t finish up as a team the way he wanted to, holding the state trophy over his head, the process of being with his brothers meant everything to him,” Tony Eason said. “He was playing with guys he grew up with. Guys that grew up in the community and that he’d played ball with since they were all 9 and 10.”

Though Jacob Eason had opportunities to transfer to a different high school, “he didn’t want to run off to a private school or to a school on the Eastside … and find a greener pasture. Jacob was steadfast. He said, ‘I’m a Lake Stevens boy, these are my buddies,’ and he was going to do what he could for his community.”

And in hindsight, said his father, “And I don’t think he would trade (his high school experience) for anything in the world.”

For that matter, neither would Tri. The chance to coach Eason was likely unique and wholly unforgettable. And the amazing thing, the coach pointed out, “is that he was just a kid, just one of the guys.”

During Eason’s years with the Vikings, and in spite of all the accolades, “he was always very humble and very gracious to his teammates and to the supporters of Lake Stevens,” Tri said. “He was never in it for the glory. He was in it to win games and to play with his buddies.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Who’s that frog? A local high school tennis player, that’s who

Arlington tennis player Robbie Balderas worked as AquaSox mascot Webbly this season, and the busy junior also runs a landscaping business.

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones is pulled to the ground by a diving Nicholas Mouser of Monroe on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at Monroe High School in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Swarming Monroe defense keys win over Terrace in Wesco 3A South showdown

The Bearcats slow down the Hawks’ potent ground game, and quarterback Blake Springer tosses three TDs in a 35-10 victory.

Arlington players lift the Stilly Cup in the air after beating Stanwood on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington reclaims Stilly Cup after short hiatus, routs Stanwood 42-7

Leyton Martin registers 277 yards, 4 TDs as Eagles notch fifth straight game with at least six TDs.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Marysville Pilchuck’s Dominik Kendrick (9) runs with the ball during a football game between Marysville Pilchuck and Stanwood at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Marysville Pilchuck takes the win, 36-7. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville Pilchuck proud of 4-0 start, but has loftier goals

The Tomahawks aren’t listening to the outside noise, including a No. 1 WIAA RPI ranking, as a tough stretch lies ahead.

Stanwood players react to their coach bringing them the Stilly Cup on Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington. The Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry matchup last year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
4 games to watch in Week 5 of the prep football season

An in-depth look at the best games the area has to offer, plus a full schedule of the local action in Week 5.

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Neris (50) gestures to Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodríguez (44) after striking Rodríguez out to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
MLB investigating Astros pitcher’s alleged use of homophobic slur

The incident occurred during a heated exchange between Houston’s Hector Neris and M’s star Julio Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Most Read