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Oregon Gets Marcus Mariota Replacement In Vernon Adams
The defending national runner-up Oregon Ducks have arguably the biggest hole to fill in college football this upcoming season as they must replace the best quarterback in school history and the 2014 Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota. The team might have found his replacement, however, in former Eastern Washington star and FCS All-American Vernon Adams, who is transferring to Oregon and will be eligible to play this season. The Ducks are currently 25/1 on Bovada to win the College Football Playoff.
After three huge seasons at the FCS school, which is a powerhouse at that level, Adams announced that he will make the rare jump in subdivisions. A short time after Adams made the news public, Oregon announced he had signed a financial-aid agreement with the school. Once the 6-foot, 190-pound Adams graduates, he will be able to enroll at Oregon as a graduate student.
In three years at Eastern Washington, Adams threw for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns with 31 interceptions while completing 64.8 percent of his passes. He was a runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS' best offensive player, the past two seasons and has twice been named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year. In two career starts against Pac-12 teams, Adams turned in two of his best performances.
In a 59-52 loss at Washington in 2014, he completed 31 of 46 passes for 475 yards and seven touchdowns without an interception. That came a year after he led the Eagles to a 49-46 win at Oregon State in which he threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns with 107 yards rushing and two more scores.
With the move from Cheney, Washington, to Eugene, Adams will become possibly the first quarterback to transfer for his final season "up" a level, from the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision to its Bowl Subdivision. He places a big bet on whether he'll emerge from Oregon's six-wide competition to succeed Mariota as the starter.
Adams won't be able to officially join the locker room until the summer. The quarterback battle will go on without him in the meantime, with junior Jeff Lockie, Mariota's former backup, sophomores Ty Griffin and Taylor Alie, redshirt freshman Morgan Mahalak and true freshman Travis Waller, an early college enrollee, all earning reps in spring practice in April.
The fact that Adams has already experienced success at the college level makes him an instant front-runner for the job. The Ducks were interested in Adams because a surefire successor to Mariota hadn't emerged, and Adams represents a possible "bridge" that could allow the younger quarterbacks to develop with more time. Much of the allure is that Oregon's spread-option offense appears tailor-made for a player of Adams' running and passing skills, though Eastern Washington's own spread attack didn't design as many quarterback runs as Oregon's will.
Adams possesses a similar type of physique as the Seahawks' Russell Wilson. He throws and runs like Wilson. He transferred to another school for his final season like Wilson did during college, and Wilson's final season at Wisconsin was a huge success.
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