Jacob Eason and Dylan Morris met as Washington high school quarterbacks on Nov. 21, 2015. A little more than three years later, Morris is set to sign with UW, join Eason in the quarterbacks room and chase a national championship.
The future of Washington football met at Graham-Kapowsin High School on Nov. 21, 2015.
Not that either Dylan Morris or Jacob Eason knew it at the time. After all, Morris was a relatively unknown 6-foot-1, 14-year-old freshman, a first-year starting quarterback flourishing in five-star offensive tackle Foster Sarell’s massive shadow.
Eason, meanwhile, was a five-star prospect of his own, but the senior Lake Stevens gunslinger had long been committed to the University of Georgia.
A little more than three years later, Eason and Morris will improbably reunite in Seattle this spring. Morris — a consensus four-star recruit and early enrollee — is set to sign with the Huskies when the early signing period begins on Wednesday, the first verbal commit in a 2019 class that has grown 20-deep.
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Soon, the former Washington high school signal callers will share a sideline at Husky Stadium.
But what happened the first time Eason and Morris shared a field?
“They killed us,” Morris said succinctly last week. “But it was fun to watch him play, because he’s one of those guys you look up to. The whole state of Washington was just crazy about him because he was such a good player.
“Me being a young quarterback watching him was just crazy – seeing how he carried himself and the talent he had and arm strength for a high school kid.”
Morris saw all of it. In a 49-14 Lake Stevens victory, Eason completed 16 of 26 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.com. He also rushed for 43 yards.
Graham-Kapowsin’s freshman quarterback made note of his every move.
“When we were on defense, even though they were torching us, I had my toes right on the sideline, just hawked on him, watching everything he did,” Morris said. “He made some crazy throws in that game. His arm strength was just insane. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a guy I want to be like when I’m older.’”
Three years, one Morris verbal commitment and one Eason transfer later, the two highly touted quarterbacks will arrive at the same destination.
But it’s worth noting that they got there in very different ways.
“Eason was the big, physical, strong-armed quarterback who had the whole country wowed by him. He had the big arm.” said Brandon Huffman, national recruiting editor for 247Sports.com. “Dylan was never really this big guy. He was 6-1 as a freshman and 6-1 as a senior. He didn’t have the physical tools Eason did, but really from a quarterback makeup standpoint had what you want. He was able to process things. He was able to read defenses.
“It’s funny, because they played against each other when Dylan was a freshman and Eason was a senior and the two people everybody talked about that day were Foster Sarell and Eason. So even then the whole town wasn’t stopping to watch Dylan like they were with Jacob Eason. Eason kind of was the face of the community, where Dylan wasn’t even the face of his team until his junior year.”
That isn’t to say that Morris wasn’t a highly-coveted recruit. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback is currently ranked the No. 5 pro-style quarterback and No. 176 overall prospect in the 2019 class by Rivals, and the No. 5 pro-style QB and No. 220 overall recruit by 247Sports. He earned scholarship offers from the likes of California, Nebraska, Oregon and Notre Dame.
But Washington was his first offer.
And that, too, tethers Morris to the quarterback he’ll study under this spring.
“That’s where the connection (between Eason and Morris) is very appropriate,” Huffman said. “One of the things that (Washington head coach Chris) Petersen did when he got to Washington is he didn’t offer Jacob Eason right away. He already had offers from the SEC schools at that point. He had all these big national offers, and Petersen waited and didn’t offer him and he ended up leaving the state.
“So with Dylan Morris and with (current freshman UW QB) Jacob Sirmon, they offered both those guys early in their sophomore year to prevent those top in-state quarterbacks from leaving. Eason was kind of a cautionary tale for a lot of in-state kids that leave to go somewhere else. But I think he was also a good wake-up call to Pete and his staff.”
But realistically, there was never much risk of Morris leaving the state. The Graham native’s grandfather owned Washington football season tickets for many years and routinely took Morris’ mother to games. Little Dylan grew up with stories of fall Saturdays spent inside Husky Stadium. He wore a Jake Locker jersey everywhere and dreamed of being a Dawg.
Morris made a verbal commitment on July 16, 2017. Nearly a year and a half later, nothing has really changed.
“Once I committed I knew that was the best decision I was going to make and I never wavered from it,” Morris said. “I’ve wanted to be a Dawg my whole life, and I’m going to be a Dawg my whole life. Nothing ever steered me away from it.”
Not even the fact that when Morris arrives this winter, he’ll be one of five scholarship quarterbacks — along with Eason, redshirt sophomore Jake Haener and redshirt freshmen Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff — competing for available reps. Of course, Eason is the presumed starter in 2019. But should the 6-6, 227-pound signal caller jump to the NFL after a single season, Morris could certainly grab the baton in 2020.
First, the freshman quarterback will study Eason’s every move. Doesn’t that sound familiar?
“It’s definitely weird how we ended up in the same room,” Morris said. “I’m going to learn from him and it’s still going to be crazy, because I still look up to him and idolize him. I’m going to mimic some of the things he does and see how he carries himself and try to bring it into my game.”
Still, as Huffman noted, Eason and Morris are very different players.
But for one season, at least, they’ll be standing on the same sideline, chasing a common goal.
“That’s just awesome, that two high school quarterbacks (from Washington) are going to be able to play in front of these fans,” Morris said. “These are the best fans in the country, in my opinion. We’re just representing the state of Washington and showing that this state produces good players, and hopefully in these next few years we’ll get a national championship, too.”