4 SEC five-star early enrollees who starred this spring
Jacob Eason stole the show.
In the process, Georgia’s five-star, early enrollee freshman might have stolen the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback job.
Here’s a look at four SEC five-star early enrollees who separated from the pack this spring:
Jacob Eason, QB, Georgia
Eason looked the most polished, the most prolific of those vying for the starting job. Granted, the hands-off rules set up him to play catch, but Georgia’s other quarterbacks — including incumbent starter Greyson Lambert — were playing under the same rules.
As a pure passer, the competition isn’t close; he showed touch and downfield accuracy.
It’s everything else that goes with the position that could keep him from winning the job this summer.
The spring game was never going to expose Eason’s biggest weakness — inexperience — but we still saw snippets in which he didn’t see what he will see a year from now.
That’s all part of the process.
Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia
Nauta doesn’t have nearly as much on his plate as Eason, and physically, he already looks the part.
Georgia has depth and talent at tight end, so there’s no need to expose Nauta as a developing blocker in the run game, but he showed he could catch balls in traffic and play through contact in the spring game.
The highlight, of course, was a touchdown catch from Eason, but he finished with six catches for 56 yards.
He was the top-rated tight end in the country, and he and Eason will be a tandem to watch for at least the next three years.
Shea Patterson, QB, Ole Miss
The Rebels didn’t have a spring game, so 60,000 couldn’t settle in to measure Patterson’s progress.
Which, reportedly was significant.
Patterson benefitted from Chad Kelly’s injury, and reportedly made the most of the extra reps.
Patterson and Eason went back and forth in the recruiting rankings, with Patterson finishing No. 1, just ahead of Eason, in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
Hugh Freeze told reporters after the first practice that Patterson was not a typical freshman. Going against IMG Academy teammates like Saivion Smith (a four-star who shined for LSU this spring) no doubt helped prepare him.
Kelly’s return means there’s no need to rush Patterson into a game, but there’s no reason to redshirt him, either.
Recent draft history suggests quarterbacks of his caliber aren’t sticking around for four seasons, anyway, much less five.
Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston left for the NFL after their redshirt sophomore season. Cal quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, was a junior. Rising junior Deshaun Watson, a potential No. 1 pick next year, likely will leave Clemson after this season.
Hugh Kellenberger, a columnist who covers Ole Miss, already has suggested giving Patterson snaps early in 2016.
Freeze obviously is aware of the new timeframe.
“You got to worry about the new world we live in,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “There’s a lot of three-and-dones and all those things.”
McTelvin Agim, DL, Texas A&M
Agim was the No. 2-ranked defensive end in the country and by the end of spring already was earning first-team reps.
He also slid around the formation. He’s not huge by SEC defensive tackle standards — listed at 288 pounds — but far quicker.
“It’s been good,” he told Arkansas’ website. “When you’re inside, you have to be able to work your moves quicker. And I’ll be faster than most guards because I’m pretty explosive. So me moving (inside) is pretty nice for me.”
Telvin said he felt pressure to prove himself this spring.
“Most of the D-line is seniors,” he said. “They’re not going to want me on the field if I can’t compete with the best. So I felt like I had to come in and show that I could play right now. I feel like I stepped up to the plate.”