For the first time in four seasons, a quarterback not named Marcus Mariota will lead the Oregon Ducks, and head coach Mark Helfrich has been given the difficult task to find an heir apparent to the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback.
The search received a major boost Monday when the school announced that Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams will be transferring into the program.
Adams announced the news via Instagram, and Oregon verified that the two sides had agreed to a financial aid package. The senior-to-be will first finish his undergraduate degree at Eastern Washington this spring and immediately enroll into Oregon’s graduate program.
Adams, who was named an FCS All-American, will make the rare transition from the FCS to FBS, but has earned his stripes against some of the nation’s finest. In two prior starts against Pac-12 competition Adams has defeated Oregon State and most recently fallen at the hands of the Washington Huskies. During those two contests, Adams was able to make his mark throwing for a combined 886 yards, 13 total touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The move to Oregon makes him the instant favorite to earn the starting gig and could even thrust him into the Heisman Trophy discussion.
While a member of the Eagles, Adams was twice voted runner up for the Walter Payton Award given to the best FCS offensive player. Over the course of his career, Adams threw for 10,438 yards, 110 touchdowns, and just 31 interceptions. The Eagles were extremely grateful for his contributions to the program and his former head coach thanked him for his efforts.
“I am very thankful for everything Vernon has done for Eastern and our football program these past four seasons,” Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said in a statement. “I wish him nothing but the best in his senior season. We are very confident in the quarterbacks in our program, and our expectations and goals are the same for what we are capable of accomplishing in the 2015 season.”
Before committing to Oregon, Adams received interest from UCLA and Texas, but the Ducks offense is best suited for his dual threat abilities.
*Section Photo credit to Dean Hendrickson, Billings Gazette; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jaime Valdez, USA Today Sports