It appears the wait is over.
Washington appears to have settled on junior Jacob Eason as its starting quarterback, three sources confirmed to The Seattle Times on Thursday, after a report on Twitter earlier Thursday by KJR-AM’s Dave Mahler.
Eason — a 6-foot-6, 227-pound junior from Lake Stevens — had been primarily competing with sophomore Jake Haener throughout the spring and summer. A former five-star recruit, he threw for 2,430 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, completing 55.1 percent of his passes, as a freshman starter at Georgia in 2016. After being injured and then overtaken by freshman Jake Fromm the following fall, Eason transferred to Washington and sat out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA eligibility requirements, though he was named the program’s offensive scout squad MVP.
On Sunday, UW coach Chris Petersen said: “I don’t know who the quarterback is. We’re making progress. We really have. I think the thing that’s been really pleasing is, all four of those guys (with redshirt freshman Jacob Sirmon and true freshman Dylan Morris also included) have done a nice job. I said that earlier.
“It’s just nice to see everybody there playing at a higher level. In some ways, that doesn’t make our job any easier — figuring this out. But it’s probably a good problem to have.”
Petersen has been famously tight-lipped when it comes to announcing his starting quarterback. In 2015 it wasn’t announced at all. Freshman Jake Browning — who had been competing with K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jeff Lindquist — simply trotted onto the field for the first offensive series of the season against Boise State. The year before, Lindquist was named the Week 1 starter over Troy Williams exactly one week before the season opener.
The Huskies’ sixth-year coach is scheduled to meet the media at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
On Tuesday, UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan added that the QB who would start against Eastern Washington on Aug. 31 would have to start getting more reps in practice “pretty soon here. I think it’s something where we’ll narrow it down here by the end of the week and make our decisions pretty soon.”
Two days later, it seems a decision has been made.
In four games as senior Jake Browning’s backup last season, Haener — a 6-0, 194-pound sophomore — completed 9 of 13 passes for 107 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
In a decorated prep career at Lake Stevens High School, Eason threw for 9,813 yards and 102 touchdowns, completing 64.6 percent of his passes. He was named the 2015 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was ranked by 247Sports as a five-star prospect and the No. 4 overall recruit in the 2016 class.
“You can’t sugarcoat it,” Eason said of the quarterback competition this month. “We all know it’s there, and I think we’re all just doing our individual job and trying to be a good teammate and put the team first. Everyone in that room has done that in this camp, and fortunately we’ve all gotten better.”
But Eason, it appears, has been a little better than the rest.