The Ducks’ recent rise to a national college football superpower has been predicated by elite play from the quarterback position. Players such as Dennis Dixon and Darron Thomas have been superior athletes who understood the QB position within the confines of the Spread. Current signal-caller Marcus Mariota’s elite physical tools have taken the offense to an unprecedented level of production, and have him well on the way to becoming the most accomplished QB in Oregon history. (Remember when Duck fans were worried about Darron Thomas going pro?)
Behind Mariota, the Ducks have a bevy of young QBs, who will all compete for the starting job once he departs. Redshirt freshmen Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie have both seen significant action in the second half of games this season, and both have shown promise. Expect a spirited battle in fall camp to decide the heir apparent, but I think Rodrigues’ superior physical tools will win him the job.
True freshman Damion Hobbs is another intriguing prospect; he nearly led his team to an upset win in the Texas 5A State Championship his senior year. Hobbs is a big, athletic body who looks more than capable of handling the pounding of a running QB in the Pac-12. His opportunity should come when Mariota decides to move on.
One recruit who should make noise when he arrives on campus is Morgan Mahalak, a senior QB at Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Ca). Mahalak is a more-heralded version of Marcus Mariota coming out of high school, he seems more polished as a passer, though a tad less fleet-of-foot. Check out his highlight tape, I like how he already uses his eyes so well at this stage of his development and throws well out of the read-option look. If Mahalak is ready to play after a redshirt season it should make for some intense competition! Go Ducks.
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