Will Masoli see the field in 2010?
In mid-March, when Oregon head coach Chip Kelly suspended Jeremiah Masoli for the 2010 season after the quarterback pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary at a campus fraternity, we all wondered if the likely Heisman Trophy contender would remain in Eugene, stay out of trouble and work extra hard in order to get back on the field for the Ducks in 2011.
Despite the suspension, Masoli remained on scholarship, went through spring drills and remained out of trouble — until early June, at least.
His last chance with the Ducks ended when the dynamic signal-caller incurred multiple charges following a traffic stop, and he was dismissed from the team immediately.
With Oregon’s quarterback battle now centered on senior Nate Costa and sophomore Darron Thomas, Kelly and his team are ready to move on from the Masoli era.
But what does the future hold for the troubled former Duck, who led the team to the Rose Bowl in January?
The overwhelming sentiment was that the 21-year-old would make himself available for the NFL’s supplemental draft on July 15. As of now, the premier player expected to garner the most interest is former BYU running back Harvey Unga, who had his request for fall readmission denied. But Masoli would certainly have intrigued multiple NFL teams.
So it made sense to move on from the college game despite the fact that another year of seasoning would help any quarterback, especially one who played in the spread.
However, it’s quite possible that we may not have seen the last of the former Duck on Saturday afternoons after all.
According to The Oregonian, Masoli did not submit an application for the NFL’s supplemental draft by the July 5 deadline, likely suggesting that he plans to use his final season of eligibility at the college level.
As of this moment, the dual-threat signal-caller has two options. If he wants to play at an FBS school (formerly I-A), he would need to sit out a full season, meaning he would be eligible to play in 2011. Sitting out a year also would apply if he wants to play at an I-AA school. The only way he would be able see a field in 2010 is if he transferred to a school in Division II or lower.
However, there are always exceptions to the rules. And Masoli, who tossed 15 touchdowns and ran for another 13 scores, may be able to utilize one of them if he has a diligent summer.
Kyle Veazey of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger wrote that Masoli is just two courses short of graduating, which means if he can complete his studies this summer, he could possibly employ the NCAA rule allowing players to transfer and see the field immediately if they enroll in a graduate program not available at their original school.
What this means is that if Masoli wants to go the major program route — assuming that a big-program head coach is willing to bring him aboard — he can practice graduate studies at a school that offers a program not available in Eugene.
The Oregonian reported that Masoli recently visited Louisiana Tech. No disrespect to the WAC’s Bulldogs, but it’s difficult to believe that Masoli would sit out a year in Ruston, La. Rather, we can only assume that he plans to finish his coursework this summer and go the graduate route so that he could play right away. In that case, playing there would make sense. Again, he must still be granted a waiver by the NCAA.
Louisiana Tech would be an intriguing landing spot for the Daly City, Calif. native, as the Bulldogs will be led by new head coach Sonny Dykes, who is entering his first season after taking over for Derek Dooley.
Dykes is very familiar with Masoli after serving as Arizona’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past three seasons. Masoli tossed three touchdowns and ran for three more scores last year in the Ducks’ 44-41 double overtime win in Tucson. In 2008, he completed 21 of 26 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 89 yards and three more scores in a 55-45 victory in Eugene.
Masoli excelled in the spread-option, although he is more run-oriented than most quarterbacks in Dykes’ pass-happy scheme. But with Louisiana Tech having road games at Texas A&M and Boise State in 2010, the ’09 All-Pac-10 second teamer would have a great opportunity — and more game film — to continue to show NFL front offices that he could excel at the next level.
Of course, all of this depends on whether a coach would be seriously interested in bring Masoli into the fold — and the answer is a resounding yes despite the off-the-field concerns — and also whether or not the NCAA waiver is applied.
It remains unclear whether he would be eligible to join the NFL as a free agent if he doesn’t continue on the college route or, because he never renounced his remaining eligibility, whether he would have to wait until the 2011 draft next April.
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