Jacob Eason was unquestionably the most talented quarterback in the recruiting class of 2016. A 6’6, 235-pounder out of Washington State with elite arm strength and an uncanny ability to drop balls over defenders, Eason was offered by every major school in the country and ultimately chose Georgia, sticking with the Bulldogs even after UGA fired Mark Richt and hired Kirby Smart.
While Eason had the best physical tools coming out, I did not consider him the most college-ready prospect at the QB position. The competition he played in high school was not top notch, and other quarterbacks had better footwork and made quicker decisions, thus perhaps representing a higher floor. But none had the potential of Eason.
And that is what makes his debut so impressive. Eason came in for the Bulldogs in relief of Greyson Lambert. Eason didn’t have any meltdown moments when things didn’t go well. And late in the third quarter with Georgia trailing, he identified a matchup of a receiver on a linebacker, but instead of staring it down, he first looked off before coming back to it and dropping the ball over the linebacker and in front of the safety for a 51-yard completion to Isaiah McKenzie.
Georgia never looked back. Eason finished 8-of-12 for 131 yards, with one touchdown and no turnovers.
Elsewhere in the SEC, the QB play was rather poor.
QBs for 6 losing SEC teams in Week 1:— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) September 4, 2016
15 passes of 20+
7 TD & 5 INT
The winners weren't much better.
I still believe the SEC is the best conference, but the gap does seem small than in previous years and one major part of that is the quarterback play. The league also seems more top-heavy than ever with Alabama carrying the brunt of the load.
Speaking of Alabama, the Tide obliterated one of the best recruiting teams in the nation 52-6 behind a freshman quarterback. I am feeling really smart having written about Jalen Hurts two weeks ago. He averaged almost 11 yards/attempt on 11 passes.
I found a few opening betting lines (courtesy BetOnline.com) to be quite interesting from a recruiting perspective. These can and almost certainly will change over the next week, but Pitt is favored over Penn State by 4.5 points. If the Nittany Lions do not beat Pitt, it is hard to see them taking the next step in recruiting needed to catch the Wolverines, Buckeyes and Spartans on the field, and it would open up the possibility of losing five or six games. Penn State needs to pull the upset. A win for Pitt would also really help recruiting in Pennsylvania. The dynamics here are interesting.
South Carolina is a touchdown underdog at Mississippi State. After beating Vanderbilt Thursday, if the Gamecocks can somehow use the extra two days rest and beat a reeling Mississippi State which just lost to South Alabama, it’s possible South Carolina could go bowling. That would be a big deal in Year 1.
Arkansas plays TCU in Texas and the Horned Frogs are favored by nine. Texas is a major recruiting territory for the Hogs. A win could help Arkansas convince more Texas prospects to come to Fayetteville.