From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Football Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior quarterback, Lake Stevens (Wash.)
Greatness Present: Nobody’s perfect, of course. But for much of the first half of the 2015 varsity football campaign, Jacob Eason has been exactly that for undefeated Lake Stevens (6-0).
In fact, through the first five games of the season, not only had the Vikings never trailed at any point, but Eason had thrown 16 touchdown passes without an interception while completing better than 70 percent of his passes. Naturally, it was a bit alarming when the Georgia commit found himself trailing 14-0 in last week’s contest against Monroe, having handed over his first two picks of the season.
The 6-foot-6 Eason, who showcases elite mobility, pocket presence and decision-making, was quickly able to right the ship. He sparked Lake Stevens to 42 unanswered points in a 42-14 win while completing 11 of his final 12 passes, proving once again why he is a top 10 national recruit and a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection.
With 16 touchdowns, two interceptions and 1,551 yards on 92-of-126 passing (73 percent), he also happens to be in the mix of candidates for the National Gatorade Football Player of the Year.
Eason’s bloodlines could have something to do with his success. His father is Tony Eason (no, not the Tony Eason who failed to complete a single pass in the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots nearly three decades ago). Instead, dad played wide receiver at Notre Dame in the mid-80s.
Primarily a pocket passer, the chip off the ol’ block may not be as fleet of foot as his old man was back in the day, but that didn’t stop him from scampering for a 25-yard touchdown run in a 48-7 run over Snohomish earlier this season. Plus, given that he has already unleashed a pair of eye-popping passes for better than 60 yards this season, it’s safe to say Eason likes to let his talented right arm do the talking. Thus far, you can’t argue with the results.
Greatness Past: As a junior in 2014, Eason completed 197-of-287 passes (68.6 percent) for 2,829 yards with 32 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His efforts earned him Second Team All-State honors on offense and helped lead Lake Stevens (9-2) to the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
Greatness Future: Eason was recruited by the likes of Washington, Florida State, Alabama, Stanford and Notre Dame but has verbally committed to play at Georgia next fall.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Football Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.