ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Quarterback Jacob Eason said Friday he is leaving Georgia, an expected decision after he lost his starting job to freshman Jake Fromm.
Eason made the announcement on his Twitter account.
”Thank you UGA for an incredible two years,” he wrote. ”The memories and relationships I have made will truly last a lifetime. I will miss suiting up in red and black, but Athens will always be a place I can call home.”
Eason didn’t indicate where he intends to play next, but The Seattle Times reported this week that he is expected to transfer to Washington. Eason played his high school football at Lake Stevens, Washington, and would be in position to take over the Huskies’ starting job after sitting out a year under the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Jake Browning is returning for his senior season at Washington, which is expected to be one of the nation’s top teams in 2018.
After starting for Georgia as a freshman, Eason began this season as the No. 1 signal-caller ahead of Fromm. But a knee injury in the opener against Appalachian State knocked Eason out of the lineup, and he never got the job back .
Fromm guided the Bulldogs to a 13-2 record, their first Southeastern Conference title since 2005 , a thrilling victory in the Rose Bowl and a spot in the national championship game against Alabama .
The Tide rallied from a pair of 13-point deficits to beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime.
Eason was a five-star recruit who initially committed to the Bulldogs with former coach Mark Richt. After Richt was fired, Eason hinted that he might go to another school but wound up staying at Georgia under new coach Kirby Smart in 2016.
As a freshman, Eason completed 55 percent of his throws for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns, with eight interceptions.
This season, he wound up playing in only two more games after the opener, both in mop-up roles with Fromm firmly entrenched as the starter. Further dampening any hopes of Eason regaining the starting job, Georgia signed one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback prospects, Justin Fields, during the early signing period.
During the lead-up to the Rose Bowl, Eason acknowledged that it was quite a change to be relegated to a backup role.
”It’s something you have to learn to adapt to and figure out along the way,” Eason said. ”I’ve gotten used to it now. I’m going to do whatever for this team, this program and do anything I can to help them out.”
Smart praised Eason for the way he handled the demotion and for remaining supportive of the new starter. Shortly after losing to Alabama, Eason lingered in the tunnel at Mercedes-Benz Stadium so he could walk off together with Fromm .
”Jacob Eason has been the most loyal teammate, one of the best teammates there is,” Smart said. ”The best thing about him, he’s worried about this team.”
Eason said the experience should help him down the road.
”You still prepare like it’s the same as last year, like you’re the man,” he said. ”Ultimately I’ll get better in that regard. My game’s improved with a lot of practice. It’s been different role but I’m glad I’ve had that experience.”
For more AP college football coverage: www.collegefootball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-Top25