Jacob Eason, the former Gatorade National Football Player of the Year, announced Friday he is leaving Georgia.
The expectation is Eason will return home to play for the Washington Huskies. The Lake Stevens native, should he come to Montlake, won’t be eligible to play for UW until 2019 and by then, he’ll be the heavy favorite to replace a soon-to-be four-year starter in quarterback Jake Browning.
Eason’s path out of Athens became something of a season-long saga.
A first-year starter in 2016, Eason sustained a first quarter injury in the 2017 opener against Appalachian State.
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It opened the door for true freshman Jake Fromm, who led the Bulldogs to a 31-10 win. Fromm, a week later, guided UGA to a 20-19 victory at Notre Dame.
Fromm became the team’s No. 1 quarterback. He would throw for 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions to help Georgia reach the College Football Playoff final where it lost in overtime to Alabama.
Eason, on the other hand, only threw four passes all season.
Other factors likely played a role in Eason’s departure.
The two coaches who recruited Eason — Mike Bobo and Mark Richt — are no longer at Georgia. Second-year Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has pieced two, Top 3 recruiting classes with an emphasis of keeping the state’s best talent at home.
Fromm, who is from Warner Robins, Georgia, was a five-star prospect and member of Smart’s first recruiting class at UGA.
Georgia’s 2018 class, which is ranked No. 1 by Rivals, has another five-star passer in Justin Fields. Fields, the No. 2 prospect in America, is also from The Peach State.
Should Eason choose the Huskies, it would give him a year to learn the team’s system while providing UW with flexibility.
Huskies coach Chris Petersen and his staff signed two four-star quarterbacks in Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff for the 2018 season.
Potentially adding Eason means Sirmon and Yankoff will receive more time to develop under new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan. Hamdan is currently the quarterbacks coach with the Atlanta Falcons and will join the Huskies once the NFL season is over.
Eason’s recruiting profile started rising during his sophomore year at Lake Stevens. He threw for 2,941 yards and 23 touchdowns.
A year later, he threw for 2,829 yards and 32 touchdowns while completing 68.6 percent of his passes.
By his senior season, Eason was the most sought-after quarterback in the nation. He was the consensus No. 1 pro-style quarterback and showed why in his final year.
Eason threw for 3,585 yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. He completed 69.5 percent of his passes and averaged nearly 276 yards per game.
He would go to Georgia and in his first season, he guided the Bulldogs to an eight-win campaign. Eason would throw for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 55.1 percent of his passes.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark