While Oregon fans embrace the moment and savor the success of the mighty Ducks, their worried eyes can’t help but look to the future seeking the answer to one question on everybody’s mind: Who is going to replace Marcus Mariota?
From a leadership standpoint, one answer is that it may be someone from an entirely different position. Fans have already seen glimmers of what true freshmen Royce Freeman, Tyrell Crosby, and Charles Nelson will bring to Oregon football in the coming years. They all possess the character traits and athletic prowess worthy of the title, ”Men of Oregon.” Indeed, the future looks bright in all the position groups. But who is going to be Oregon’s signal caller?
It might be Ty Griffin, a redshirt freshman transfer from Powder Springs, Georgia. Griffin is joined at Oregon by his younger brother, five-star running back and redshirt freshman Taj Griffin, both of whom surprisingly left their home state of Georgia for the Pacific Northwest. Ty Griffin is a 6-foot, 200-pound dual threat quarterback who was all but guaranteed the starting position at Georgia Tech. Griffin decided to try something new. “Georgia Tech is just not the school for me,” Griffin told SB Nation.
Griffin’s senior year at McEachern high school was impressive; he ended the season with 1,149 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. On scouting reports he is listed as an athlete with a 40-yard dash clocking in under 4.5 seconds and a 39-inch vertical leap. Griffin’s high school coach, Kyle Hockman, believes Griffin could play just about anywhere. “He’s such a good athlete; he can play safety or outside linebacker, too. He’s that powerful, that fast and strong. He has a good arm, too,” Hockman told the press.
At practice, Griffin shares snaps for the scout-team with Morgan Mahalak, a true freshman quarterback also eyeing the looming vacancy. But Griffin has caught the attention of the coaching staff with his arm strength and running ability, drawing comparisons from teammates to former Oregon lightning bolt and Kansas City Chief, De’Anthony Thomas. Now, close your eyes and imagine a player with Thomas’ freakish speed and Mariota’s arm: Scary. Griffin very well may become the new nightmare for Pac-12 coaches next year and for Duck fans, the more monsters the better.
While redshirt sophomore Jeff Lockie has seen the majority of snaps in games this year, Oregon’s ”Win the Day” philosophy has created an exciting culture in Eugene where no job is safe and seniority has little meaning. It is about finding the best man for the job, period. While this magical season nears its undoubtedly exciting conclusion, a battle is being waged at the starting quarterback position for your 2015 Oregon Ducks. And you can bet that next fall, Ty Griffin will be in the mix.
Top photo by Thomson20192