ATHENS — Jacob Eason will get his first start as Georgia’s quarterback this Saturday against Nicholls State, people with knowledge of the situation confirmed to DawgNation on Thursday.
Eason will become the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Bulldogs since Matthew Stafford in 2006. He played extensively in a reserve role behind fifth-year senior Greyson Lambert last Saturday in Georgia’s 33-24, season-opening win against North Carolina.
Eason was 8-of-12 for 131 yards and one touchdown in that game. Lambert was 5-of-8 for 54 yards and no touchdowns. Lambert was sacked three times, Eason once, and neither threw an interception.
Eason signed with Georgia out of Lake Stevens, Wash., as the No. 1-rated, pro-style quarterback prospect in America. He was the Gatorade national player of the year and the Bobby Dodd national back of the year. He enrolled at Georgia in January.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was able to avoid questions about the quarterbacks for the first 58 minutes of his hour-long radio show Thursday night, which was conducted before a live audience of Georgia Power associates at the Butts-Mehre football complex. Finally, at the very end, host Scott Howard had to ask Smart if he’d decided on a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game.
“Don’t kill the messenger,” Howard cracked at the end of his question.
Smart laughed but claimed the coaches still have not decided two days before the home opener against Nicholls State.
“I understand that everybody wants to know and you have a right to know once we know,” Smart said. “And we don’t know right now. Again, it’s a situation for us where we feel like both young men did a good job. They were in two different situations. One guy was in the game when we were behind more than the other. And they both had their strong points, and those strong points are different. So we’ll continue to develop both guys, get both guys reps and make a decision when we have to.”
Even if Eason starts as it appears, Lambert will also play Saturday. And Smart’s comments indicate the competition will continue into next week as the Bulldogs get set to open SEC play on the road against Missouri.
“I don’t want people to think we have to settle on one guy,” Smart said. “It was quoted (Wednesday) as saying that we’ve got to make a decision. That was for this game, not that we have to make a decision permanently, by any means. We’re going to continue to have competition each week regardless of who trots out there first on Saturday. There will continue to be competition.”