Vernon Adams Has Arrived, QB Situation Gets Interesting

Who will be the next starting QB for Oregon?

The Marcus Mariota years are a thing of the past for Ducks’ fans, as sad as it is we will see a new face leading this incredible offense next season. The question is this: who will that quarterback be? Vernon Adams announced this week that he has officially committed to transferring to Oregon from Eastern Washington and is the leading candidate. Adams has had a strong career at Eastern Washington, racking up more than 10,000 yards and 110 passing touchdowns. While he may not have the same blazing speed that made Mariota so fierce, Adams is no slouch, rushing for 605 yards in 2013 and six touchdowns in 2014.

While he is no Mariota, we are not expecting him to be. He can throw, he can run, and he has three years of experience under his belt. No, the FCS is not the same as the FBS, but when Adams faced Washington this year he threw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns. The problem, as Chantel Jennings of ESPN.com reports, is time. Adams will not be able to work with the team until June, ruling him out of spring practices and leaving the starting quarterback position for the spring game up for grabs.

Jeff Lockie will be the first name that comes to mind for most of us, as we have seen him backing up Mariota for the past two seasons. If it comes down to experience with the offense, Lockie is the most likely to step up (you can’t work with Mariota for two years and not learn a thing or two). The problems with inserting Lockie into this role are his lack of experience– he only attempted 28 passes all season– and competition from sophomore-to-be Morgan Mahalak as well as a new face in Travis Waller.

Mahalak may have a chance to prove himself this spring

Kevin Cline

Mahalak may have a chance to prove himself this spring.

Mahalak was a four-star prospect in the 2014 recruitment class. SBNation.com ranked him as the fifth-best dual-threat quarterback prospect and the 21st best in California. Despite a lack of experience, physical talent does not just disappear, and we can be sure that Mahalak is looking forward to his shot at stardom.

Waller is a four-star prospect who ranked as the third-best dual-threat quarterback in this year’s recruiting class by Rivals.com. Waller put together impressive numbers in high school, passing for 3,361 yards and 26 touchdowns, 2,133 rushing yards and another 26 touchdowns on the ground over 23 games. As Jennings points out though, despite these numbers and unless he has an exceptional spring, he will most likely redshirt his freshman season.

Which brings us full circle to Adams, who despite not having a chance to work with the team until June will most likely be the one calling the shots on the field this season. What is important to remember is that Adams is a senior, and even if Mahalak and Waller don’t get the chance to play in 2015, their battle has already begun.

Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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Max Thornberry

Max Thornberry

My name is Max Thornberry, and I am a sophomore at the University of Oregon studying journalism. I am from Ventura, CA but fell in love with Oregon when I visited last year and came to the Oregon vs. Cal game. I love sports and my hobbies mainly include fantasy baseball and football as well as playing sports video games. Growing up watching sports center and espn news I always wondered what I had to do in order to get a job where I got to talk sports every day, so when I saw an opportunity to intern for a sports news website (FishDuck.com) I couldn't wait to get involved.

  • worldwidewebfoot

    Welcome to Vern Adams. However, I see that at EWU he has worn jersey #3. That is already assigned to Duck redshirt freshman quarterback Ty Griffin. It would be not nice to take that number away from Ty and move it to Vern. Tweet, Unsportsmanlike conduct.

    • Randy Snauer

      Unless of course, if Ty is moving to defense, in which case he could keep his #3.

  • JM

    Mahalak will be a RS Feshmsn not a sophomore

  • Anthony Joseph Gomes

    if i have to guess based on what i see then i guess vernon adams this year travis waller next year. the coaches wouldnt have gone after adams if they thought he couldnt beat out lockie i dont think. as for mahalak he went to the sparq camp and got a score there of 50….worst of anyone there. mahalak seems to have a good arm but he isnt as athletic as prior duck QBs. his forty yard dash was a very unmariota 4.95. marcus mariota had a 102 SPARQ rating when he was still in high school. i dont know what waller runs the forty in but he looks like 4.5-46 somewhere in there and could maybe get just a click faster if he works at it. then you have seth green who is probably the best passer of the bunch but doesnt seem to like to run much…speed listed at 4.7 forty…not sure if he is really a true dual threat guy.

    what i dont like about adams is he seems to have trouble throwing the short ball and a lot of oregons plays call for that to spread the field. ironically that is probably jeff lockies strong suit, but if he can overcome that then he should be the man. when adams can step into the throw he is about as good as it gets.