Vernon Adams headed to Oregon

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Monday, February 9, 2015

Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams is headed to Oregon, where he immediately becomes the favorite to replace Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

After three prolific seasons at the FCS school, Adams announced Monday -- just over a week after visiting Eugene -- 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.

He is the favorite to replace Mariota but will not join the competition with five other quarterbacks -- including Mariota's primary backup the past two seasons, junior Jeff Lockie -- until after receiving his degree in the spring.

Once the 6-foot, 190-pound Adams graduates, he will be able to enroll at Oregon as a graduate student and be eligible to play right away.

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.

Adams' success hasn't been limited to lower-level competition either. In two 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.

The Ducks weren't alone in their pursuit of Adams. He also fielded interest from UCLA and Texas, according to The Oregonian.

"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."

Eastern Washington athletic director Bill Chaves also wished Adams well but questioned the intent of the transfer rule that will allow Adams to play right away.

"We wish Vernon the best in his future endeavors and thank him for all that he has done for Eastern. The chance for him to pursue this opportunity is certainly a unique one given the fifth-year transfer rule," Chaves said in a statement. "We are not sure that this was the actual intent of the legislation when it was approved, but it is the rule currently in place that we and potentially other schools have to adhere to. We will continue to work through the process of this transfer based on the rule as it stands now."

Sophomores Ty Griffin and Taylor Alie, redshirt freshman Morgan Mahalak, early enrollee Travis Waller and Lockie will all take part in spring practice.

Oregon will host Eastern Washington in its season opener Sept. 5.

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