All of the sudden, the Ducks need some quarterbacks.
With both Jake Rodrigues and Damion Hobbs reported to transfer Oregon’s search for depth and potential at the position takes an urgent turn. It’s looking more and more like the Ducks will take two qbs in the 2015 class.
Last month the Ducks offered Florida three-star Deondre Francois, a 6-1, 195-lb. 3-star dual threat quarterback from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Francois has exceptional mobility, solid leadership skills and 4.6 speed in the 40, a package that’s earned him 20 offers including Auburn, Michigan State, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State and Florida.
He has his sights set on a being a starter at the Division One level after earning invites to the Elite 11 competition and The Opening. As a junior he passed for 1373 yards and 18 touchdowns playing at Olympia High before transferring to IMG in March after his head coach left for another school. He was a 54% passer in his two years as a starter for the Spartans.
The Ducks have had a great run of qbs in Kellen Clemens, Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas, and Mariota. They were blessed with a poised and mature backup in Nate Costa during the national championship run, got capable relief work from Bryan Bennett in the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl seasons. Attrition won’t cost them a shot at the conference title and college football playoffs this year: they’re a strong contender if Mariota stays healthy, a longshot if he goes down at any point in the season. The departures of Rodrigues and Hobbs leave the Ducks vulnerable to the Nightmare Scenario, like 2007 and 2008 when they went through five quarterbacks, but it does create a wide-open opportunity to sell opportunity to the outstanding prospects in the 2015 class.
To read more, see my column at Duck Sports Authority.