ATHENS — Jacob Eason may live across the country, and he may have committed to Georgia very early in the process. But Kirby Smart, even while Alabama’s defensive coordinator, knew all about the five-star quarterback recruit.
Eason visited Tuscaloosa at one point. Every school keeps tabs on all the elite quarterback prospects, for another thing. And then there’s the fact that Mike Bobo, who helped secure Eason’s commitment for Georgia in 2014, is one of Smart’s close friends.
So when Smart boarded a plane last week for Washington state, right after his introductory press conference at Georgia, it wasn’t like he needed a briefing on the kid he was able to meet.
“Thank goodness I was able to walk into a situation where he was hand-delivered. He was already here,” Smart said. “We just had to make sure we could pitch him that this was the right place for him.”
That’s what Smart and his new Georgia offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney, attempted to do this past weekend, as Eason made his official visit to Athens. He has been here plenty of times, but this was the first time when the head coach wasn’t Mark Richt, whose firing opened the door for Florida.
Eason is expected to make an announcement soon on whether he will enroll at Georgia as planned, or go to its SEC rival.
“I think his visit went great this weekend,” Smart said on Monday. “I would certainly like to think it did.”
The last week wasn’t much more frantic than it would have been anyway, Smart said, because he had to prepare for the SEC championship, then get hired on Sunday and get going. That would have basically been the case had he still been recruiting for Alabama.
The so-called dead period began on Monday, which means no meetings or phone calls. Smart said he felt good about how his one week of recruiting for Georgia went.
“I was able to communicate with a lot of kids, which you always try to do,” he said. “You’re face-to-face with as many as you can. You try to be strategic about your head coach because he only gets one in-home visit. So that’s always important to do that the right way and use it the right way. Right now we’ve focused on the mid-year guys that were attacking, made sure I was able to see those guys. We got our other coaches out, get in front of people. But January’s gonna be a critical time, it always is.
“I mean, recruiting if you can go 10 or 20 percent a lot of times that’s great because there’s only so many great players and everybody wants them. So you’ve gotta accept that you’re not gonna get them all. But you’ve gotta get in enough fights that you can get enough players to support your program. And I feel good about where we are recruiting.”