Eason back home at Washington, but ready to sit for a year
SEATTLE (AP) - Jacob Eason is ready to become arguably the most highly touted scout team quarterback in the country.
The former Georgia starter is nearing the end of his first spring with Washington and preparing for a season spent as a spectator. But waiting at the end of that long year of watching is the expectation that when 2019 begins, the transfer will be the Huskies' starter.
"This year is going to be a great year for learning and getting better in this program and making relationships with some of the guys and the coaches on this team," Eason said Monday. "It's going to be a different year for sure but that's doesn't mean I'm not going to compete like I can play. Every practice, every rep you've got to get better and better so that's what I'm going to do."
It's been a long journey for Eason to end up back where he started. He left the Pacific Northwest after graduating from Lake Stevens High School, about 35 miles from the Washington campus, and was expected to be the next great quarterback at Georgia. He was pretty good his freshman season, throwing for 2,430 yards and 21 touchdowns and leading the Bulldogs to an 8-5 record and a bowl victory.
But a knee injury early in his sophomore season opened the door for freshman Jake Fromm to step in. Fromm never relinquished the spot, leaving Eason to be a spectator for the majority of the Bulldogs' run to the national championship game.
It made sense for Eason to come home and the timing worked for all parties involved.
"It was pretty easy honestly," Eason said. "I grew up a Washington Huskies fan, being able to come down to games. I wanted to go somewhere I could play in front of my family and friends, and also under a great coaching staff and with great teammates. I felt this was the best place to do it."
The timeline for the quarterback succession couldn't work out better for Chris Petersen and his staff.
Jake Browning will be a fourth-year starter for the Huskies in the fall, but the rest of Washington's quarterback room is filled with youngsters. Eason will get the year to learn Petersen's system while Browning finishes off his college career and Eason will be the presumptive starter in 2019 with two seasons of eligibility remaining. If the pull of the NFL leads Eason to leave after the 2019 season, then Washington should have at least one of its young QBs ready to take over.
Eason committed to Georgia shortly after Petersen arrived at Washington, but the door was never closed. When Mark Richt was fired at Georgia after the 2015 season - the coach Eason had committed to - Eason made an official visit to Washington before reconfirming his decision to go to Georgia. Petersen told Eason he could always return if the opportunity presented itself.
"He said, 'You've always got a spot if it doesn't work out.' Obviously, I remembered when he said that because I was able to come back and now I'm playing for him," Eason said. "Ultimately, once I got my release from Georgia I talked to coach Pete and we hadn't talked in two years but it really wasn't like that. That's how coach Pete is. That's the kind of man and coach he is and a great guy to be around."