Consider Kirby Smart unofficially 1-0 at Georgia.
The new head coach, who has yet to coach a single game with the Bulldogs or even fill out his first staff, already has a winning record in Athens after ESPN 300 member and No. 2 quarterback prospect Jacob Eason reaffirmed his commitment to Georgia on Tuesday. Who knows if Smart sweated through the process with Eason, who looked around after Mark Richt's firing, but this is huge for the program.
Smart can finally rest easy through the dead period. Not only did Smart get his quarterback of the future for a team desperate for some good quarterback play, but the Lake Stevens, Wash., prospect's decision to stick with the Dawgs should give Georgia's already very impressive 2016 recruiting class a boost during the home stretch. After losing three commitments over the weekend, including ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Bailey Hockman, Georgia got some momentum after Smart and new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney were able to meet with Eason during his official visit over the weekend.
Maybe Eason never fully wavered on his commitment that he made in July of 2014, but he sure did do his due diligence to consider his other options -- and rightfully so -- after Mark Richt was let go. He checked out instate Washington and took an official visit to Florida, a school he grew very fond of. But Eason stuck with Georgia, and Smart's late recruiting efforts helped make sure that he got a key member for a team that might need him to play immediately.
Snatching the early enrollee also made sure Florida's Jim McElwain didn't corner the market on quarterbacks before Smart could even get any sort of footing in Athens. McElwain already had ESPN 300 quarterback Feleipe Franks -- another early enrollee -- committed and is also bringing in three-star project Kyle Trask. If Eason had committed to the Gators, Smart would not only have to see Georgia's prize recruit in bitter rival colors, McElwain would be ahead in the incredibly valuable quarterback department.
But Smart doesn't have to worry about that. The next step is to have Eason ramp up recruiting for a class that already has nine commits in the ESPN 300 or ESPN JC 50 and then get ready to immediately compete for Georgia's starting job. The Greyson Lambert experiment at Georgia didn't work, Faton Bauta has transferred and Brice Ramsey was moved to punter during the season. According to recruiting experts, Eason looks college-ready now.
Smart, who is an elite defensive mind, doesn't need to worry about his quarterback situation in Year 1. Yes, a heap of expectations is being dumped on a true freshman, but such is life in the almost big leagues. Eason is enrolling early, and a team in need of a quality quarterback will push Eason to have every opportunity to earn the starting job. And he'll have a head start going into the 2016 season by competing this spring.
Even if Eason doesn't turn out to be an immediate star, he's the QB of the future, and getting him in the present is a major first victory for Smart and the Bulldogs.