Jacob Eason is a 5-star quarterback who has committed to play at UGA for a man who could have the hottest seat in college football right now. If Mark Richt does not return, what happens to Eason?
His father Tony Eason told DawgNation that the rumors of Richt’s job security at UGA are a concern, but that his son’s commitment to UGA has not wavered.
The Eason family believes UGA will recover. Yet what happens if the skid continues and a change in leadership occurs? Does UGA then lose both Richt and Eason?
“If things fell apart and things that are out of our control happen, you have to have relationships with other people as a backup or a ‘Plan B’ or whatever you want to call it,” Tony Eason said. “A contingency plan even. It would be stupid not to.”
What’s the “Plan B” scenario? The only plausible one is if Richt does not return and the next UGA coach runs an offense that’s counter to what the pocket passer is looking for at the next level. That should put UGA fans at ease.
“You hit it right on the head there,” Tony Eason said. “If they brought in a Georgia Tech-style system where they don’t want a quarterback like Jake, then no he’s not going to go there. He wants to go to Georgia. I don’t have any indication (a coaching change) is going to happen. First of all, I don’t think this coaching staff is going anywhere and I think they would bring in another Pro-Style guy even if that did happen. But I have faith that things are going to work out.”
Jacob turned a lot of heads this week when he followed Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on Twitter. His father explained to DawgNation that it was because they had a previous relationship when Nussmeier was recruiting him at Michigan.
“There really isn’t a story here,” Tony Eason said. “It just gets blown out of proportion. Like the Nussmeier thing. That guy flew out here when he was a coach at Michigan and met Jake personally. So he’s seen the guy. He came out and saw him back when he was on the Michigan staff. He was recruiting him to Michigan. Now he’s at Florida so the timing is not perfect on that.”
Tony Eason described how that communication with Nussmeier went:
“He’s just been telling Jake that they want to be No. 2 in case something happens at Georgia,” his father said. “And then Jake said ‘Yeah. Thanks, coach’ and that’s about it. Jake is just trying to be polite.”
His father said he was not aware of any other conversations between his son and any other college coaches aside from the ones at UGA.
“We’re trying to be as smart as we can about this whole thing in case everything backfires,” Tony Eason said. “He doesn’t want to be the guy who has the blinders on. He’s got faith that the things at Georgia are going to work out.”
Eason said his son has already spoken to both Richt and UGA offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer this week. They’ve naturally tried to counter the growing speculation about Richt’s future at UGA.
“When you are 3,000 miles away and read all the press clippings and think things aren’t going really good there, it concerns you,” Tony Eason said. “Then you talk to the internal people there and it is not as bad as it seems.”
His son has been committed to UGA since July of 2014. It was so long ago Tony Eason said he can not recall which school might have been his second choice or if there was even one.
“Jacob is not out shopping for another college,” Tony Eason said. “He just has a relationship with a lot of coaches around the country he has met along this journey. … The last thing he wanted to do is come across like he’s not loyal to Georgia or anything. He’s probably tried to be the most loyal commit to Georgia that the man has ever had.”
Eason wants to run a Pro-Style offense in college.
“He doesn’t want to be a running quarterback,” Tony Eason said. “He wants to learn a system that is going to get him ready and have success in college and utilize those skills that will hopefully prepare him for the next level the Good Lord willing. … He really likes Georgia and he likes the offense. I don’t want to take anything from the coaches and say that is just the system he likes at Georgia. He loves Coach Richt. We really like the guy. He’s a big reason why he committed there.”
He also acknowledged that his son has ingrained himself in the UGA culture since his commitment. UGA fans from as far away as Savannah have traveled to the Pacific Northwest to watch his high school games. That has made an impression on Eason.
Tony Eason disputed a ChatSports.com report that infers his son is already lining up options in the event that Richt does not survive. He said that his son is not turning his back on UGA.
“He’s torn up right now when he watches Georgia play like all the other fans,” Tony Eason said. “He wants to see the team win. He wants to see his team do well. It is stressful. He wants to see that offense put some points up. He wants to see victories and hear people say good things about Georgia. To him, it is like hearing somebody bad-mouth a family member. He takes all of this personally.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.