The Gatorade State Football Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For the complete list of Gatorade State Football Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Jacob Eason
School: Lake Stevens (Wash.)
Weight: 220 pounds
Athletic achievement: He completed 235-of-338 passes for 3,585 yards and 43 touchdowns against just six interceptions this past season, leading the Vikings (12-1) to the Class 4A semifinals. A national Elite 11 quarterback camp invitee and ranked as the nation’s No. 16 recruit in the ESPN 300, Eason has been selected to play in the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Academic excellence: Eason has maintained a 3.83 GPA.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) in association with the Jesse Rees Foundation to fight childhood cancer and as a youth football coach.
“Eason has the fastest release I have ever seen,” said Kai Smalley, head coach at Snohomish High. “It is actually very deceiving if you aren’t watching him for a long time. He makes such quick and correct reads, then has the ability to get rid of the ball with great mechanics. For being as long as he is, you would think he would have a long release but it happens so quickly, it’s nearly impossible for a high school defensive back to get a break on the ball.”
THE FUTURE: Taking advantage of NCAA early signing rules, Eason inked a financial-aid agreement that paves the way for him to enroll at the University of Georgia. He is expected to graduate from high school this month and begin classes in the spring semester, however, major media outlets and social media have reported that Eason is visiting the University of Florida this week. According to Lake Stevens High head coach Tom Tri, Eason is exploring his options in the wake of Mark Richt’s mutual decision with UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity to step down as head coach. Eason has until early January to make his enrollment at Georgia official or not.