Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason is “in a holding pattern” with his commitment to play football at Georgia after the firing of coach Mark Richt. “Door is open” for Eason at UW, too.
Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason is “in a holding pattern” with his commitment to play football at Georgia after the firing of coach Mark Richt, according to Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri, and was paid a visit Monday by Washington State coach Mike Leach.
Eason, a five-star recruit who committed to the Southeastern Conference school in 2014 before his junior year, did not return text messages or phone calls from The Seattle Times on Monday. Tri said Eason turned off his phone Sunday after hearing about Richt’s firing that morning on Twitter, just hours after the top-ranked Vikings were knocked out of the Class 4A state playoffs in an upset semifinal loss to Skyline of Sammamish.
Tri said Eason might be open to other options, depending on whom Georgia hires, and when the decision is made. He also said Leach was in Lake Stevens on Monday to talk to Eason, and that a home visit apparently was hurriedly set up.
Tri said he had not heard from UW coach Chris Petersen, but that he talked with Petersen last Tuesday when Lake Stevens practiced at the Dempsey Indoor practice facility.
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“Any time Jacob’s ready to commit, the door is open,” he said of the Huskies’ approach. “They’ve got a shot. We’ll see what happens. Selfishly, I wouldn’t mind him staying in the state, whether it’s UW, WSU — somewhere local where we can keep watching him and keep our tabs on him. But ultimately we want what’s best for him.”
The coach said Washington was on Eason’s original short list, with UCLA, Alabama, Michigan and Stanford.
Eason has signed a financial-aid agreement with Georgia and planned to enroll Jan 11. Tri said wherever Eason ends up going, he intends to enroll next month.
Despite the tight deadline to make a decision, Richt told Eason to be patient and wait until after his replacement is named, a Georgia newspaper reported.
“I talked to Jacob (Sunday) night,” Richt told The Telegraph in Macon. “I said, ‘Be patient. See who the next guy is. You might get really excited about that, and the rest of the guys might get really excited about that. I’m not saying don’t check out other options, but don’t jump the gun. You chose Georgia for a reason, and it was more than just me or (offensive coordinator Brian) Schottenheimer.”
Tri agreed there was more to the decision than who was coaching, but added, “definitely the coaching staff was a big part of it. The school environment, just the whole campus, everything, he fell in love with. But Richt was a big part of that for sure.”
Eason, considered one of the top quarterback recruits in the nation, passed for 3,737 yards and 44 touchdowns this season, but his Vikings’ undefeated season ended Saturday with a loss in the semifinals.
“He’s feeling it right now,” Tri said. “He’s stressed. He’ll be all right, but he’s just trying to get over the game still, then he has more devastating news. …”
“He wants to see who Georgia hires before he makes any decision and then kind of go from there. But we don’t have any idea when a replacement will be named … If it takes a long time, which it may, Jacob’s going to probably explore another place or two. I think he’s still committed as of right now, but if he doesn’t know what’s going to happen, he’s got to pursue other options.”