FCS All-America QB Vernon Adams to transfer to Oregon
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams, an FCS All-American, said Monday he will transfer to Oregon, where he will be eligible to play next season and compete to replace Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
“Oregon it is!” Adams posted on Twitter, with an Instagram of the Oregon logo.
Adams has been a record-breaking, three-year starter at Eastern Washington and is on target to graduate in May with a degree in recreation management. NCAA rules allow players who have graduated to transfer to another school without having to sit out a season.
The Ducks are looking to replace Mariota, who declared for the NFL draft after his junior season, giving Adams a chance to start immediately.
“I want to thank all of Eagle Nation for all the love and support,” Adams wrote Monday. “Want to thank every single one of my teammates for pushing me to be a better man/athlete everyday these past 4 years.”
Adams also thanked coach Beau Baldwin “for being the first school to ever offer me.”
He said the move was best for himself and his family.
Oregon and Eastern Washington will open the 2015 season against each other on Sept. 5.
Adams has passed for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns, with 31 interceptions at EWU. He also helped the Eagles upset Pac-12 team Oregon State two seasons ago and nearly beat Washington last year.
Oregon officials said little about the transfer.
“As has been the case with all of our previous prospective student-athletes who have signed financial aid agreements, we choose to reserve comment until they have formally enrolled at the University of Oregon,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said.
Eastern Washington athletic director Bill Chaves wished Adams well and thanked him for his efforts with the Eagles.
“The chance for him to pursue this opportunity is certainly a unique one given the fifth-year transfer rule,” Chaves said. “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.”
Under the transfer rules, Eastern Washington had to sign off on the deal.
Baldwin also expressed good wishes to Adams.
“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,” Baldwin said.
Oregon was looking at its options at quarterback following the early departure of Mariota. He set a Pac-12 record for total touchdowns last season 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.
Mariota declared his eligibility for the NFL draft shortly after the Ducks fell to Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff championship game. Oregon finished the season ranked No. 2.
Mariota’s backup last season was Jeff Lockie, who attempted 27 passes, completing 21 for 207 yards and a touchdown.
There has been a lot of anticipation surrounding Adams, a two-time runner-up for the Walter Payton Award given to the top player in the FCS. He will have one year of eligibility at Oregon.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Adams was lightly recruited out of Alemany High School in Pasadena, California, but played immediately at Eastern Washington.
The Eagles, a perennial FCS power, are left with only one returning quarterback with college experience. Jordan West started four games last fall, winning three, when Adams was sidelined with a broken foot.
AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo in New York contributed to this report.