Jacob Eason Named 2015-16 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2015

Photo credit: 247Sports

Quarterback Jacob Eason was honored for his fantastic 2015 season Tuesday, as he was named the winner of the 2015-16 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year Award.  

Jason Butt of the Telegraph was the first to report that Eason secured the prestigious honor.

The Class of 2016 product is coming off a monster campaign at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington, as he threw for 3,585 yards and 43 touchdowns to go along with just six interceptions, according to USA Today.

In addition to being named Gatorade National Football Player of the Year, Eason announced his commitment to the University of Georgia Tuesday, per Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Eason is rated as a 5-star prospect by 247Sports, as well as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback and the No. 4 overall recruit in his class.

He joins an elite class of past Gatorade National Football Player of the Year recipients, which includes Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith and future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

Eason succeeds Texas A&M signal-caller Kyler Murray, who won the award last year and showed some flashes this season as a true freshman for the Aggies.

The son of former New England Patriots quarterback Tony Eason has all of the makings of a star at the collegiate level, and Lake Stevens head coach Tom Tri has little doubt that he'll fulfill his promise, per TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune:

I think he's the best quarterback I've seen in 20 years of high school football. He's good. He's the real deal. He's got good feet, he's got good presence in the pocket, he sees the field, he doesn't make mistakes. It's effortless. ... He's probably going to play on Sundays if he continues to progress the way he is progressing now. I see no reason why he can't continue to have that success at the next two levels.

Although there are no guarantees regarding immediate playing time with the Bulldogs in 2016, Eason certainly has the talent to press for a starting job as a freshman.

While some big names have taken home the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year Award before, it can be argued there is a bit of a dry spell, as USC quarterback Matt Barkley was the last player to really make it big collegiately.

In terms of true NFL stardom, Manning is the most recent, although 1996 winner Tim Couch was a No. 1 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns.

If anyone has the ability to turn things around, however, it may very well be Eason.

The Gatorade National Football Player of the Year distinction brings an added dimension of pressure to the table, but Eason’s status as the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country affords him a great opportunity to live up to expectations.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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