Home » blog » Ducks to Take Flight with Freshman QB

Posted by on August 29th, 2012 in blog, CFF Features, Dan Pierson | No Comments

How does one of the most prolific, explosive and fast-paced offenses in all of college football become even scarier?  By naming a freshman as their QB, naturally!  This past weekend Chip Kelly tabbed Marcus Mariota (from Honolulu football juggernaut St. Louis HS) as his new offensive ring-leader and Ducks fans nation-wide rejoiced.  While naming a freshman to spearhead the attack of a team predicted by all experts to be in the national title hunt, coach Chip Kelly surely isn’t taking the safe path; however, Mariota is poised to become the best QB to ever wear a yellow, white, black, green, graphite or silver Ducks uniform.  By all accounts Mariota is the first true dual-threat QB the ducks have had since Dennis Dixon, and is considered by many to be the perfect player to lead Kelly’s fast-break offense.  In his senior year of high school he threw for 32 TD’s and only 5 interceptions, and rushed for an additional seven scores on the ground; at 6’4” and 211 lbs he has plenty of size to go with his 4.4 speed.  Even though he’ll have bumps along the way, Mariota will make a dangerous Ducks offense downright frightening.  As Mariota himself said, “We have so many playmakers here that all I have to do is distribute the ball and they’ll make the plays.”  Scary to think that the distributor might end up being the most dangerous weapon on the team.

Speaking of Oregon QB’s, has there ever been a stranger situation that what has happened to former starter Darron Thomas?  For those of you who may not remember, Thomas helmed the Ducks offense for the past 2 seasons and was a bona-fide star.  The Ducks played in 2 BCS games and won the 2012 Rose Bowl behind Thomas, and his 66 career TD passes are the most in Oregon history.  Most observers assumed Thomas would be back and ready to chase a national championship as a senior this year.  Thomas had other ideas though and declared early for the NFL draft – but wasn’t taken, nor even signed as an un-drafted free agent (he had a few NFL tryouts, but didn’t stick anywhere).  I don’t have enough time in the day to research this, but has there ever been a QB to declare for the draft early but not be drafted or signed?  I can’t imagine there has been.  Why did he leave?  According to this article  , it was because he wanted a bigger challenge than being back at Oregon could provide, he was tired of school (takes a rare individual to be tired of college life) and didn’t want to be overshadowed by Matt Barkley.  I’m not going to sit here and judge a man I’ve never met, but if those were truly his motivations to leave Oregon then that’s just really sad.  Some rumors have floated lately that he was threatened by Mariota’s talent and had allegedly been told the starting job was not going to be his without an open competition, so it’s possible there was a behind-the-scenes dispute between Thomas and Chip Kelly.  Any way you slice it, the Darron Thomas story will go down as one of the most bizarre tales in the history of college football.

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