There are two things we can be certain of after Jacob Eason, the reported walk-across-water recruit, reaffirmed Tuesday that he is going to play football for Georgia.
• New coach Kirby Smart did a good job selling himself and his vision for the future in Athens after the firing of coach Mark Richt.
• Absolutely nothing else.
Eason, a quarterback from Washington state, has been labeled The Next Great Thing by recruiting websites, which I go to great lengths to avoid because I find obsessing over the decisions of 17- and 18-year-olds to be a little creepy. Also, I have a life. But every major college program wanted Eason so that says something about the young man’s talent and potential.
Because of Georgia’s significant quarterback problems this season, Eason has a good chance to start as a true freshman. He will have two great running backs (Nick Chubb and Sony Michel) to hand off the ball to and likely a pretty good offensive line. But true freshmen quarterbacks, as a general rule, struggle out of the gate and expectations should be kept in check.
I also think that anybody who suggests Eason’s tenure will define the success or failure of Georgia football under Smart would be making a mistake. Smart and his coaching staff, including new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and line coach Sam Pittman, will succeed or fail on their own. This is about a new start and direction for a program. It’s not about one player, one game, one season or one recruiting class.
Georgia has had tremendously talented rosters in the past and not won to the degree some people projected, just as they’ve achieved success in some games and seasons when there were deficiencies. Alabama doesn’t have a chance to play for another national championship because it has a great quarterback (it doesn’t). It wins because of everything surrounding the quarterback, primarily a structure, direction and identity that coach Nick Saban brought.
If the Bulldogs reach a level of success next season and beyond, it will because of Smart’s direction first and everything else (including Eason) second.
But this much we know: Eason is buying whatever Smart is selling.
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