Vernon Adams passes final class to join Oregon
ANNE M. PETERSON
Aug. 14, 2015
Quarterback Vernon Adams passed the math he needed to graduate from Eastern Washington and join the Oregon Ducks.
Adams took the final test Thursday. After hours of speculation over his status, he posted to Twitter: "Thank God." He accompanied the post with a photo of himself in his cap and gown holding his son.
The star quarterback needed to complete his undergraduate coursework — specifically, a final math class — to transfer from Eastern Washington. NCAA rules allow players with eligibility who have graduated to transfer to another school without having to sit out a season.
An FCS All-American, Adams is vying to replace Marcus Mariota as Oregon's starter. Mariota, who won the Heisman Trophy last season and marched Oregon to the national championship game, was the second overall NFL draft pick by the Tennessee Titans.
Adams could join the Ducks for practice as early as Friday. He will compete for the starting nod with Jeff Lockie, Mariota's backup last season.
Lockie attempted 27 passes, completing 21 for 207 yards and a touchdown last season, playing mostly after Oregon had already built a sizable lead over its opponent. But the junior impressed many in the spring game, completing all nine of his passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns while leading his team to a 35-29 victory.
Adams, a two-time Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year, threw for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns in three seasons at Eastern Washington.
Two of Adams' most memorable games came against the Pac-12: He passed for 411 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards and two TDs in a 2013 win at Oregon State, and he threw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns in a 59-52 loss at Washington last season.
After declaring his intention to transfer in February, Adams was expected to wrap up his degree in recreation management in June. But he was still working toward his degree when fall camp opened for the Ducks on Monday.
Adams posted a statement to Instagram on Wednesday night, hours before his final.
"I just want EVERYBODY to know .. I never wanted ANY of this attention on me, good or bad. I wish I could have passed my math class the first time. But everything happens for a reason, right?"
Mariota set a Pac-12 single-season record for total touchdowns with 58, including 42 via pass, 15 on the run and one touchdown catch. He also set the conference mark for career touchdowns with 136.
The Heisman winner declared his eligibility for the NFL draft shortly after the Ducks fell 42-20 to Ohio State in the College Football Playoff championship game. Oregon finished the season ranked No. 2.
"I don't think anyone can fill Marcus' shoes — very few could do that — we're just trying to be ourselves and do what we do best," Lockie said of Oregon's quarterback group. There are six QBs on Oregon's roster, including Adams.
Coach Mark Helfrich said earlier this week that he had no timetable for choosing a starter.
"In my opinion you can't say that by August 29th, or whatever the date, you're going to name a guy. That has to play out," Helfrich said. "It's kind of like leadership."
Oregon will host Eastern Washington to open the season Sept. 5.