Jacob Eason meets with reporters after Monday’s practice
Choosing to return home, even if it meant sitting out for a full season, was still a pretty easy decision for new Washington quarterback Jacob Eason.
Eason, who transferred after two seasons at Georgia, spoke Monday with reporters for the first time since his arrival. NCAA transfer rules state Eason, who was a five-star prospect while playing for Lake Stevens, cannot play until the 2019 season. The 6-foot-5 and 235-pound quarterback can practice with the Huskies and is using spring camp to acclimated.
"It was pretty easy, honestly," Eason said of leaving Georgia for UW. "I felt like I grew up a Washington Huskies' fan and used to come to all the games. I wanted to go somewhere where I could play in front of my family and friends and also under a great coaching staff and great teammates.
"I felt like this was the best place to do it."
Several schools pursued Eason. He was the composite No. 1 player in the state of Washington, the No. 2 pro-style passer and the fifth-best prospect in America during the 2016 recruiting cycle. As a senior, he completed 69.5 percent of passes while throwing for 3,585 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Eason said he and UW coach Chris Petersen's relationship really started developing during his senior year at Lake Stevens. That's when Petersen told him should things not work out in Athens, the Huskies would welcome him with open arms.
Years later, it led to Eason calling Petersen about the idea of playing for UW. Eason said both he and Petersen were "generally excited" when they first discussed him transferring to Montlake.
"I remember 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. It was like we hadn't talked in two years but it really wasn't like that. That's how Coach Pete is and that's the kind of man and coach he is. Just a great guy to be around."
Eason said he and Petersen talked "less about football and more about life" in their initial discussion.
The transfer was made official in February when the school tweeted Eason would be in camp alongside Jake Browning, Jake Haener, Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff.
If you're counting that's four players who answer to Jake, which can get a little confusing.
"(Huskies offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan) calls us different things," said Eason of having four quarterbacks with the same first name. "I'm J.E. We got J.B., Haener, Sirmon and then of course, you got Colson. He manages. It's always a joke when you're meeting new people and you're sitting in the room. There's four Jake's in there. You got introduce yourself and you have four people coming up, 'Hey. I'm Jake,' it's funny.
"It's unique. That's another cool thing about the room. That's pretty rare."
Eason said because he's from the area, his transition to UW has been mostly smooth. He said he's learning the offense "really well" and he's enjoying himself while being with the Huskies during spring camp.
He said making the move from Athens to Seattle, when it comes to football, was different from when he made the jump as a high school senior.
As a college freshman, he was unsure of what to expect. But here's what makes this adjustment different. For one, he's had two years of collegiate experience playing in the Southeastern Conference.
"I knew guys on this team when I went to Georgia, so coming back I knew guys and had talked to them," Eason said. "The transition wasn't bad because I'm also 45 minutes from home and my family can come down whenever. I'm excited to be here and contribute to this team."
Eason's is currently the No. 5 quarterback on the Huskies' depth chart.
Browning, a three-year starter, is followed by Haener. Sirmon and Yankoff have alternated at times but Sirmon, who was also the No. 1 prospect in Washington as a high school senior, is third.
UW hasn't used Eason in many 11-on-11 situations this spring. He has, however, seen a few 7-on-7 reps. Eason's strongest throw came last week when he tossed a high-arching pass with a bit of power that sophomore receiver Jordan Chin caught while fending off a cornerback.
"You know, I think he looks really good," Huskies junior receiver Andre Baccellia said of Eason. "I think all the quarterbacks look really good actually. I like the way they're all coming out and competing against each other. They're all trying to earn a spot, so, it's really fun to watch."
Baccellia said UW players were excited for Eason's transfer because it meant adding "another good player" on the roster.
"I've watched a couple of his games and seen him play," Baccellia said. "I know he's a really excellent player."
Eason said he is using spring and will take the upcoming season as a chance to learn more about the offense while getting to know his teammates too.
He's already had the chance to learn from Browning while also helping out younger players like Sirmon and Yankoff make the adjustment from high school to college.
"It's going to be different year for sure," Eason said. "I'm going to still compete like I am, like I can play. Every practice, every rep, you gotta get better and better. That's what I am going to do."
Eason committed in July 2014 to Georgia and then-coach Mark Richt before his junior year. Richt was fired after a 9-3 season and was replaced by Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
As a true freshman, Eason won the starting job and led the Bulldogs to eight wins in Smart's first campaign. He finished the 2016 season with 2,430 yards and 16 TDs.
Despite Georgia landing five-star quarterback and local star Jake Fromm in 2017, Eason began the year as the Bulldogs starter.
Fromm, who is from Warner Robins, Ga., replaced Eason after he was injured early in the first game. Fromm played the rest of the game and then beat Notre Dame in the following game. From there, Fromm was installed as UGA's starter and led the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff final where they lost in overtime to the Crimson Tide.