Oregon Fall Camp Preview: Is Jeff Lockie Mariota’s Successor?


As the 2015 Oregon Duck football season fast approaches, one question remains at perhaps the most critical position in the world’s most intricate and elite American football offense: who will the starting quarterback be?

Many fans jumped on the Vernon Adams bandwagon early. Many remain confident that he will deliver the silver bullet the Ducks need to be successful just six weeks from now.

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FCS accolades aside, many issues remain unsettled. How will a highly accomplished performer at a lower level fare week in and week out versus top tier competition? Given recent reports of academic complications, how will this particular transfer student fare at the University of Oregon? Moreover, as a graduate transfer, how will he fare in a competitive graduate academic program where he may spend his time without the team-based support of fellow football-player classmates?

And how about that intricate offense? It’s no secret that Chip Kelly installed one of the most complex multi-layered offenses ever devised. The former head coach won for a reason. The Ducks have since relied on that offense to earn more victories than any other team in the Pac-12 conference. Can Vernon Adams, or any other transfer student-athlete quarterback for that matter, really ascend to the level of effective mastery required to steer the Ducks through the Pac-12 season?

Amid all the smoke and circumstance surrounding Adams, a humble stable of homegrown Duck talent actually does exist. Both Morgan Mahalak and Travis Johnsen proved very talented during the 2015 Oregon Spring Game. Transfer student-athlete Ty Griffin impressed as well. However, the heir apparent being seemingly overlooked really is Jeff Lockie.

Lockie was a four star prep who emerged from a conference loaded with other highly talented signal callers. He can pass more effectively as efficiently than his predecessor. He can run pretty well too. That predecessor is none other than Marcus Mariota, Oregon’s Heisman trophy-winning quarterback who redefined what it is to be the best in the college game.

That you haven’t seen much of Lockie on game days means little. Once upon a time the Ducks had a very good quarterback named Darron Thomas who led the Ducks to the Rose Bowl and won for the first time since 1958. He left early as in came this virtual unknown three star kid from Hawai’i. Fans cried foul and said the coach made a mistake by not starting the other guy, Bryan Bennett. We all know how that worked out. Mahalo Marcus.

Thomas went on to play for the AFL’s Portland Thunder. Bennett went on to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Mariota, as most know, was picked second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.

There’s no question Jeff Lockie knows more about the intricacies of the Oregon offense than anyone else in the quarterback stable. There’s also no question that Lockie, the humble champion that he is, learned a lot from Mariota. He’s confident, strong, focused, driven, and most of all committed.

It has been said that hard work is the only reward for hard work. With the most explosive backfield in college football, and one of the most prolific receiving units as well, the Oregon Ducks have an opportunity to contend for a national championship again this season. Who the starting quarterback will be remains a highly debated question of intrigue, but the chants grow louder every day as many say, “I stand with Jeff.”

Is the starting nod his to lose? You decide! One thing is certain, whoever stands under center in 43 days will have the honor and privilege of leading the best offense in the world toward a championship. Go Ducks!

Next: ESPN: Oregon Is Pac-12's Top Offense