GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Georgia freshman quarterback Jacob Eason has been up and down at times in his first college season, but Florida coach Jim McElwain has seen enough to be convinced about the much ballyhooed rookie.
“This guy, in my opinion, is the future of the SEC. I mean he’s that good. And his ability to push the ball downfield is something that is very impressive,” McElwain said Monday.
The No. 14 Gators (5-1, 3-1 SEC) meet Georgia (4-3, 2-3) in their annual rivalry clash in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday.
Eason was rated as a 5-star recruit, the No. 5 overall prospect in his class and the No. 2 pro style quarterback, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
He had also considered the Gators before signing with Georgia.
Florida redshirt-senior safety Marcus Maye brought up that point Monday in talking about facing the quarterback.
“I guess he was on the fence between here and Georgia and he chose those guys, but I mean, he has a great arm, he’s going to be a great quarterback in the future and stuff like that,” Maye said. “He can make all the throws. He’s young, but he’s learning as he goes so I’m excited, we’re excited to go out against him and see what he(‘s) got.”
Maye acknowledged the Florida players were following Eason’s college decision through the end of that process.
“I guess a good amount because we were one of his top schools, but eventually he made his decision to go with those guys. It’s all going to be fun Saturday going against him,” Maye said.
Eason has completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,366 yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this fall. He threw for 346 yards and a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ last game against Vanderbilt to bounce back from an off performance at South Carolina in which he completed just 5-of-17 passes for 29 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Overall, Eason has two 300-yard passing games already, having thrown for 308 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT against Missouri in Week 3.
“You know, the learning curve, natural for anybody at that position, and yet man he can hurt you in a hurry,” McElwain said.
Florida has given up the second-fewest passing yards in the country, holding opponents to 132.8 yards per game through the air.