The nation’s No 1 quarterback, Jacob Eason, was zipping passes through the night air under the lights at UGA’s Dawg Night football camp on Saturday.
Anybody who’s ever seen a big-time Masters gallery on a Sunday charge day would understand the Eason vibe on Dawg Night. Cell phones were up. Tablets were also filming. Everyone was watching. They also wanted to be able to share what they saw.
The 5-star from Lake Stevens, Wash., was the star attraction at UGA’s camp, and the rising senior was joined in the spotlight by McEachern’s Bailey Hockman. Both quarterbacks are committed to the Bulldogs, with Hockman being a part of the 2017 class.
The Eason effect won’t be going away anytime soon. What did the 5-star QB think of another Saturday night in Athens? His father Tony Eason shared the 411 with the AJC on Sunday afternoon.
JACOB EASON’S DAWG NIGHT: Here’s the 5 things to know
1. No worries on 2016 class – There’s just one reported commitment so far. Eason was one of four Dawg Night verbals last year.
Guess what? That’s okay.
“Everyone has got their own time frame or way they’ll make a commitment,” Tony Eason said. “If the timing is not right for some of these guys to do it then it is not. But I do think some of these guys know their intentions or are pretty close to it.”
The incoming recruits aren’t worried about it.
“I think if you asked Jacob how he feels about guys and where they are going to wind up I’d say he feels pretty darn good about this past weekend. Maybe it won’t show with five commitments on Dawg Night. Everyone looks for those headlines, but I think internally the team feels it was a big success. Jacob is feeling pretty good about respecting the individual about how they want to go about making their commitment the way they want to do it.”
“The big thing is if you want to grade whether Dawg Night 2015 was a success, then do that in February of 2016 and not the Sunday right after it.”
2. The Big-Boy Arm – “He overthrew some guys here and there,” Tony Eason said. “The day was more of a showcase for his arm. I saw him hit some guys in the numbers, but I saw some balls being dropped. He did fine.”
Eason doesn’t play with a lot of 4.4 speedsters on his high school team so it is an adjustment even when he’s spent time on the camp circuit. The intent was not to underthrow some guys this week.
Relationships were the focus this year. Last year was about ripping spirals through the air.
“There were just a lot of timing things,” his father said. “I wasn’t really focused on his completion percentage. He wasn’t out there trying to get a scholarship last night. He had an offer last yeart, but he really wanted to show (former offensive coordinator) Mike Bobo what he could do. This was a totally different Dawg Night compared to last season.”
3. Leadership skills – Playing quarterback isn’t solely based on the big arm. If that was the case, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Jeff George would have a bust in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Tony Eason said he paid very close attention to how his son handled a wave of attention and a flurry of requests from his time this weekend.
“For me as a father watching him, I was paying close attention to that and I thought he blew it out of the water,” he said. “He was being that guy representing Georgia. He took time with the kids to take pictures. He shook a lot of hands. He was interrupted a lot while trying to focus on a camp workout. He handled all that with a smile on his face. I thought he did a great job meeting and talking to guys and selling UGA to all the guys the staff really hopes to recruit with him to this year’s team.”
That role was just as important this year as putting balls right on guys.
4. Connection with Mecole Hardman Jr. – Hardman is the 4-star athlete from Elbert County who could play receiver or cornerback in college. “He tried to jump up in line whenever Jacob was up,” Eason’s father said. “I think him and Mecole have a pretty good thing going. He tried to throw to Mecole quite a bit.”
Tony Eason said Jacob was very appreciative Hardman worked out. Archer’s Kyle Davis is on his way to becoming the top-rated receiver in the country if he isn’t already. He decided to hang out on the sidelines. Savannah’s Demetris Robetson is the nation’s top-rated athlete, also decided to sit out.
5-star tight end Isaac Nauta and major WR target Charlie Woerner were also in street clothes.
Hardman took advantage. He took a lion’s share of the reps with Eason on Saturday that otherwise would’ve been divided among those five elite recruits.
5. Schotty time: Eason wanted to work out for new UGA offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer -– “He really enjoyed getting the chance to work with Schotty a bit and get coached up on a few things. He enjoyed being on the field with his future coach rather than more conversations in an office. It was nice to get on the field in a pair of shorts with a ball and keep it as simple as that to see how that relationship goes. That went well. He really likes how Schotty coaches on the field and that was all good.”
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.