For five years, Jacob Eason has kept local college football fans continuously wondering what he might do next.
In 2014, as a Lake Stevens High School quarterback, Eason made a much earlier than usual commitment to Georgia, choosing the SEC school over Washington and another dozen candidates. He had just completed his sophomore year at LSHS.
“It just was the place for me, a perfect fit,” he said at the time.
A year later, Eason reopened his college recruitment once Georgia fired coach Mark Richt, only to reconnect with the Bulldogs after taking official visits to Florida and Washington, and hosting Washington State coach Mike Leach at his home.
In 2017, Eason announced he was leaving Georgia after getting injured early in his sophomore season as the starter and losing his job to Jake Fromm, presumably to join Washington.
His presence in Seattle prompted two scholarship QBs to transfer out–Colson Yankoff to UCLA and Jake Haener to Fresno State.
And now two years later, the hard-throwing Eason has until Jan. 20 as an underclassman to decide whether to enter the NFL draft early or return to the Huskies for his senior campaign.
As he leads the UW into Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl, Eason offers no clues to how he’s leaning. He has only a standard response to those who pester him about his football future.
“I’m just focused on playing Boise State and the Vegas Bowl,” he’s said without wavering.
Well, that not’s entirely true. Eason has millions of dollars at stake should he turn professional, which is hard not to think about. The pros consider him an elite quarterback in the making, possibly the fourth or fifth QB to be drafted.
“He has tremendous arm talent,” an NFL personnel executive told Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated at midseason, preferring anonymity. “He’s big. He’s smart. He’s got a lot of the traits that we look for in a quarterback.”
Yet that same exec regards Eason as a work in progress, someone who could use more college seasoning, a quarterback still putting his game together.
“I do think he needs more time taking snaps and live action in games to be prepared,” the exec said. “I would like to see him return to college for another year.”
Another NFL scout spoke in similar glowing and cautionary terms about Eason to ESPN just this week.
“With him there’s a lot of inexperience, and it’s hard to evaluate quarterbacks if you don’t see them go through situations more than once,” the NFL insider said. “If he comes out, there will be a limited amount of tape to evaluate him. But you can feel the arm strength and the athleticism.”
Fans chided Eason for not becoming the instant savior they’d pined for, but he’s had his moments, throwing three touchdown passes or more in five games. He’s sitting on 2,922 yards and 22 scores while throwing 8 interceptions. Hey, he helped beat USC, no small feat at Washington.
Eason likely won’t make an announcement on his football future immediately following the Vegas Bowl, but watch this game closely because it could be his final appearance for the Huskies.
He stands to be the second top NFL prospect to play just one season for the UW, matching running back Corey Dillon, who bolted for a big pro payday in 1996.
The accompanying video clip, taken following the Apple Cup, provides a good Eason metaphor. He’s looking around, not exactly sure where he wants to go.
Standing next to Eason, in the headband and long hair, is redshirt freshman quarterback Jacob Sirmon, his backup and potential starter for the 2020 opener against Michigan at Husky Stadium.