Morgan Mahalak's first-year numbers as a starting quarterback compare favorably to Jared Goff, the quarterback who preceded him at Marin Catholic High and started as a freshman at Cal, and Marcus Mariota's dazzling senior season at St. Louis High in Honolulu.
Like Mahalak, Mariota had a Division One quarterback ahead of him as a prep and had to wait until his senior year to start.
Hat Dance: in a set-up that offers a wicked send-up of the traditional hat ceremony, Morgan Mahalak offered a twist, making a suspenseful choice between four Oregon lids. No Juju Smith fakeout to insult a fan base on his big day.
The tale from the stat sheet:
Jared played 16 games, going 14-2. Morgan played 13, going 12-1. Marcus played 12 going 11-1.
Jared: 235/368 63.9%, 3696 yds, 40 TDs with 12 Ints. Yards per comp: 15.72, Yards per attempt: 10.04 103 Rush attempts for 332 yds (3.2) with 8 TDs. Total YDS: 4028. Total touches: 471 (8.55) 48 total TDs.
Morgan: 160/260 61.5%, 2795 yds, 38 TDs with 4 Ints. Yards per comp: 17.46, Yards per attempt: 10.75 82 Rush attempts for 575 yds (7.01) with 7 TDs. Total YDS: 3370. Total touches: 342 (9.85) 45 total TDs.
Marcus: 165/255 64.7%, 2597 yds, 32 TDs with 5 Ints. Yards per comp: 15.73, Yards per attempt: 10.18 60 Rush attempts for 455 yds (7.58) with 7 TDs. Total YDS: 3052. Total touches: 315 (9.68) 39 total TDs.
Mahalak isn't as fast as Mariota. No one is among 100 years of Oregon quarterbacks. But it's interesting that his rushing numbers are comparable. He's an athletic runner who gets north and south while protecting the football, similar in style to Bryan Bennett, nimbler than Darron Thomas. Just 6-3, 190, he'll need to fill out as a collegian, but he has the work ethic to do that.
It's as a passer that the Kentfield, California product shines. He's cool in the pocket, with great technique, throwing with his legs in a whip-powerful consistent motion, delivering the ball on time and into tight windows accurately. Like Mariota as a high school player he makes good decisions, throwing just four interceptions in 260 attempts.
Only time and effort will make Morgan an Oregon starter, if ever. But it's evident from the numbers and the film that he has the potential to be capable and effective in the PAC-12 a couple of seasons from now.