It seemed ludicrous four weeks ago that the Oregon Ducks football team would find a replacement for Marcus Mariota anytime soon. On Monday, that seemingly crazy idea suddenly got a little less wacky, as Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams announced he was transferring to Oregon effective immediately.
Adams has no guarantee of getting the nod as the Ducks starting quarterback for the 2015-16 season, but his chances are pretty high.
Immediately after the College Football National Championship Game, CFB fans’ imagination ran wild with the idea of one of Ohio State’s three NFL-prospect QBs bolting to Eugene to take up the reins of their Championship opponent. That doesn’t appear to be happening.
But where FCS football is concerned, Adams’ decision to transfer to the University of Oregon is no less impactful.
Adams is a two-time finalist for the Payton Award, a recognition given to the best player in FCS schools. This past season, the senior QB passed for 3,843 yards and 35 touchdowns. Over his career, he has had 20 300-yard passing games.
That in and of itself doesn’t mean the Ducks have found a replacement for Marcus Mariota, the Heisman-winning and NFL-bound quarterback who broke multiple Oregon football records. After all, Adams racked-up those stats in FCS, not the higher-profile FBS.
However, Adams is capable of putting up gaudy numbers against FBS schools. This season the Eastern Washington Eagles played the University of Washington, with Adams going 31-of-46 for 475 yards and seven touchdowns in the Eagles’ 59-52 loss. The year before that, Eastern Washington played against the Oregon State Beavers, also a Pac-12 school, and Adams led the Eagles to a win on the road.
Adams’ decision to transfer to Oregon followed an announcement on January 29 that Eastern Washington had granted him permission to explore other schools. Though Oregon was a prime target, both for its regional proximity to Eastern Washington and its need for a starting QB, the thought of Adams joining the Ducks football team still seemed somewhat far off considering the program’s profile.
In Adams, though, the Ducks have landed the best quarterback from an FCS school, and one who should fit nicely with Mark Helfrich’s blur offense.
Ironically, the Oregon Ducks will open the 2015-16 season on Sept. 5 against Eastern Washington. If Adams gets the nod as the Ducks starting quarterback and the replacement for Marcus Mariota, expect all manner of “facing his former teammates” storylines leading up to the Ducks’ season opener.