First team All PAC-12 and Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota returns at quarterback to lead the Ducks to what should be another great season. With last year’s backup Bryan Bennett transferring to Southeastern Louisiana, the competition continues to heat up for the number two position. Battling for that all-important number two spot are redshirt freshmen Jeff Lockie (6’2″, 195) from Danville, California and Jake Rodrigues (6’3″, 218) from Rocklin, California.
Like Mariota, Lockie was an underrated 3 star recruit coming out of high school. Lockie was twice named MVP in a league that included 4 star QB recruits Bart Houston and Zach Cline, both of whom were featured in the Elite 11 show on ESPN. I have personally suffered from some of Lockie’s greatness, having actually played against his Monte Vista High School team, which was a rival of my high school team. He displayed great poise that may have been overlooked because of the strength of the league at the time.
Four-star recruit Jake Rodrigues is generally thought to have a slight edge. While both have similar skill sets, have the ability to throw with accuracy and are athletic enough to get outside the pocket, Rodrigues, though coming off a bad foot injury, has a little more speed than Lockie. He has fully recovered from the injury and is ready to compete.
Top photo by Gary Breedlove
In addition to the backup job for this year, at stake also is an inside track to Oregon’s starting QB position once Mariota leaves for the NFL — the keys to college football’s proverbial Lamborghini. Projected to join the competition in another year is early 4 star commit Morgan Mahalak. Despite having so much at stake, the quarterbacks at Oregon are a close-knit group, often assembling for a game of pick-up basketball at the Rec.