Oregon lands replacement for Mariota
Eight days after returning from an official visit to Oregon, Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. is ready to make the move from the Big Sky to the Pac-12.
The star FCS signal-caller announced via social media on Monday that he is headed to Eugene to play a final season of college football with the Ducks as a fifth-year graduate transfer.
Adams is making the rare jump up from FCS to FBS for a final season of play, and he just may be the Ducks' starting quarterback when they open the 2015 season against EWU, Adams' former school. Mark Helfrich and his offensive staff must replace NFL-bound and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota as the starter.
While his scholarship offer two weeks ago did not guarantee a starting spot, the California native has a good arm, elusiveness and is one of the nation's most exciting players. He will be competing with Jeff Lockie, who was this year's backup, Georgia Tech transfer Ty Griffin, redshirt freshman Morgan Mahalak, Taylor Alie and Class of 2015 dual-threat Travis Waller, a U.S. Army All-American who has been given high praise by a wide range of recruiting analysts not just for his running ability but for his accurate passing as well.
Adams won't be able to officially join the Oregon program until the summer when he has graduated from EWU with a degree in recreation management, so he will be behind the other signal-callers that will be around for spring practice reps. But his talent is intriguing to say the least.
With the Eagles, the 6-foot, 200-pounder completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns against 31 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,232 yards. Adams was named the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, which is the FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, in 2013. He finished second again last season despite missing time with a broken foot.
Adams is no stranger to Pac-12 competition, either. In 2013, he passed for 411 yards and four touchdowns and ran for the game-winning score to lead EWU to a three-point upset of then-No. 25 Oregon State on the road. This past fall, Adams torched the Washington secondary for 475 yards and a school single-game record seven touchdowns in a near-upset on the road. In those two games against Pac-12 squads, he went a combined 54-of-76 passing for 886 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero picks (plus two rushing scores). Quite simply, he is a big-time talent.
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.