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Running Huskies’ scout team, 5-star QB transfer Jacob Eason ‘definitely made us better,’ UW defense says

Eason is the favorite to succeed Jake Browning in 2019, but don’t count out redshirt freshman Jake Haener.

Adam Jude

LOS ANGELES — Jacob Eason is the overwhelming favorite to succeed Jake Browning as the Huskies’ quarterback in 2019, and members of Washington’s starting defense had the closest vantage point of the Georgia transfer when Eason ran UW’s scout-team offense this season.

“He’s definitely given us a great look. He’s going to be a great quarterback for sure,” UW defensive tackle Greg Gaines said Saturday. “He’s got a hell of an arm.”

All that said, Gaines was quick to say that he’s not counting out another Jake — redshirt freshman Jake Haener — in that upcoming QB competition.

“I think it’s going to be an interesting battle,” said Gaines, a senior. “Spring ball will be interesting. Haener is pretty good too. It could come down to a pretty good battle. I won’t be there, but I might come back to watch practice. Because I want to see it.”

Eason is not here in Los Angeles as the No. 9 Huskies prepare for Tuesday’s Rose Bowl against No. 5 Ohio State. Per NCAA rules, transfers are not allowed to travel with teams to road games, including bowl games.

But UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said the 6-foot-6 Eason made his presence felt during practices this season. Teammates voted Eason as the scout team player of the year.

“It’s been awesome, and it’s been competitive,” Lake said. “Our two hard-work days of the week — our Tuesday and Wednesday practices — we let him go. He has the scout card, but it’s like, ‘Eason, let’s go. Try to dice us up. Try to beat us.’ And it definitely made us better, for sure, to have an elite quarterback like that to face week in and week out.

“And he really took the responsibility — he’s been around, he’s a veteran. So was like, ‘You know what, I know this is going to make our team better.’ And sure enough, he made us better. He’s a big-time talent. Great kid and he had a great command of the scout team. He watched all the tape from week to week of what we were expecting him to do, and he carried out those responsibilities.”

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