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Junior of the Year: Five-star QB Jacob Eason

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Drama can be intoxicating when it comes to the recruiting process. For 2016
No. 1 prospect Jacob Eason, the limelight and the big stage were the
last things he wanted.
The Lake Stevens, Wash., five-star quarterback is the Rivals.com Junior of the
Year -- the top-rated player after tremendous sophomore and junior seasons --
and he's not waiting to make his college choice on national television with a
climactic hat ceremony.
Eason camped at Georgia this summer, felt incredibly comfortable with
everything in Athens and quickly made his commitment to the Bullogs in mid-July.
That's it. Over and done.
"I committed early because Georgia was the place," Eason said. "I saw it and I
saw a couple other schools before that and I didn't really feel like waiting.
There was no reason to really make a big national TV commitment or whatever and
wait it out.
"I committed and got it out of the way so I could focus on recruiting other guys
to come in there and build that bigger class around me. I wanted to focus on
high school and play ball here for my senior year and be a kid again."
His father, Tony, played at Notre Dame but never pushed his son to the
Irish. Everybody and their mother offered or were involved early on but Georgia
gave Eason everything he was looking for so he ended it.
Eason, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound prospect who threw for 2,829 yards with 32
touchdowns and three interceptions as a junior, respects coach Mark Richt.
Georgia switched offensive coordinators from Mike Bobo to Brian Schottenheimer and that was not an issue. Tony Eason called the new hire a
"home run" and "icing on the cake."
"He came out and I finally met him in person," Eason said. "I've been on the phone a lot with him. He's a great guy, Bobo was a
great guy, but we're not going to miss anything with Schottenheimer, either. He
has that pro experience and he knows how to get guys to the next level so I'm
excited."
It was not just a singular aspect of Georgia that convinced Eason it was the
right place. Everything seems to have worked for him.
"You can't really pinpoint one thing," Eason said. "The coaching staff with
coach Richt, he's a great guy. Now they have coach Schottenheimer. I didn't know
that back then, because they had coach Bobo but they have coach Schottenheimer
now which is another great fit for Georgia.
"The academics are great. They have some good stuff going there. The fan base
and the community, I felt really welcome when I went down there. The overall
feel of the place, it just felt right to me."
And then there are the Matthew Stafford comparisons. The big arm, the
No. 1 quarterback ranking, the pocket presence and ability to deliver the ball
down the field.
"Eason reminds me of a taller Matt Stafford at the same level of development,
very strong arm, good footwork, solid accuracy and excellent touch on the ball,"
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell said. "He needs to tighten
his release a little bit, but that's natural for a long, tall quarterback. He
will be much taller and likely thicker in the end than Stafford and his ceiling
is higher because he is still early in his development. He sees the field very
well, has a good feel in the pocket for pressure and I can see him having a ton
of success in the Georgia offense where he will have a great run game to support
him. He can work off play action quite a bit."
For Georgia's coaches, it is a tremendous recruiting tool. For Eason, living up
to the Stafford billing is certainly high praise but something that intrigues
the Lake Stevens standout.
"That is one of my goals, to be like him," Eason said. "I'm nowhere near anything
like him yet. I do look at that as a goal to get to, but I don't feel any
accomplishment with the comparison yet."
Eason has been committed for a little more than six months and already there
have been storylines that could have affected his recruitment.
The Bulldogs have switched offensive coordinators. New Michigan coach
Jim Harbaugh's plane was tracked to tiny Arlington Municipal Airport
last week and news broke that Harbaugh was in town to meet with Eason -- the
same day Schottenheimer was there.
The 2016 five-star said he plans to be courteous to all the coaches that will
continue recruiting him like Harbaugh tried last week.
Others will come and go -- and Eason said he plans to be respectful along the
way.
"You don't want to close any doors," Eason said. "You don't know where these
guys are going to pop up in the future. Harbaugh could go back in the (NFL), so
I don't want to close the door on him and treat him like crap. I want to keep
everything open and be nice to everybody."
Nice to everybody and still committed to Georgia, unless an unforeseen complete
upheaval occurs over the next year or so.
"If something does happen at Georgia then maybe I could keep these options open
so I can look at some other schools," Eason said. "If nothing happens and
everything is clean then Georgia is the place."
Free of drama, like it's always been with Eason.
 
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