This week, we’re continuing our team-by-team look at some of the intriguing freshmen on SEC teams and who among them could be instant-impact players.
QB Jacob Eason: You can just call him the next best thing or even "The Chosen One" in Athens. The top-rated quarterback left the state of Washington and is already making quite the impact at his new school. He had celebrity status well before he even got on campus, as many believe he'll be a household name at Georgia and in the SEC. The Gatorade National Football Player of the Year in 2015, Eason threw for 3,585 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior to just six interceptions. He also threw for more than 10,000 yards 99 touchdowns during his high school career. Eason enrolled before the spring and slowly started to see his legendary status grow. Even though he began the spring as the third-team quarterback, he was the best quarterback the Dawgs had to offer during their spring game, completing 19 of 24 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown. Kirby Smart has eased Eason along the right way and even if he isn't the immediate starter this fall, he'll have every chance to take over at some point in the season. He's just too good to sit, especially with the inconsistent play from presumed starter Greyson Lambert last year.
ATH Mecole Hardman: The Dawgs are searching for playmakers at the skill positions, especially on offense, and Hardman has a chance to be special on either side of the ball for Georgia. Smart recently said that Hardman will begin his career at cornerback, but that could certainly change because of the need at receiver. The Dawgs have a relatively unproven receiving corps, so adding a top-notch athlete like Hardman to the mix would be very beneficial. But having a game-changing athlete like Hardman in the secondary isn't so bad, either. Georgia already has a very talented secondary, but Smart would like to add more firepower to that unit. It's kind of a win-win situation for Georgia at this point, and there's a high possibility that he'll make an immediate impact for the Dawgs, no matter where he plays.