While there is no question that Marcus Mariota will lead the Oregon Ducks from under center in 2014, there was plenty of intrigue around who would be the No. 2 QB next fall. Throughout the spring, Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie battled back and forth to try and secure the backup quarterback job for 2014. But after a spring that saw little to no separation between the pair of redshirt sophomores, the quarterback situation has taken care of itself with the news that Rodrigues will be transferring from Oregon for the 2014 season.
Rodrigues was a promising recruit coming out of high school, ranked by ESPN as the No. 12 QB in the 2012 recruiting class. However, a broken leg in his senior season derailed his progress at Oregon as he continued to recuperate his first year on campus. Last season, he split time as Mariota’s backup with Lockie as he worked off some of the rest that had developed while he was away from the game. He finished the 2013 season completing 3-of-6 passes for 67 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
This spring was the healthiest Rodrigues had been since joining the Ducks and he felt confident that he could win the No. 2 quarterback job outright. In the spring game, Rodrigues struggled, completing 7-of-18 passes for 66 yards and an interception, though he augmented his production with 42 yards rushing. Lockie completed 7-of-12 for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Head coach Mark Helfrich wasn’t blown away by either backup QB, describing their play as “Meh” when asked to evaluate them after the spring game. He did not distinguish one over the other, leaving the position up in the air seemingly until fall camp. After meeting with Helfrich, however, Rodrigues took the choice out of Helfrich’s hands by transferring and seemingly handing the No. 2 job to Lockie by default.
Despite losing Rodrigues, the Ducks are in good shape in terms of quarterback depth heading into the 2014 season. Behind the Heisman Trophy candidate Mariota, Oregon has Lockie penciled in as the primary backup ahead of redshirt frehsmen Damion Hobbs and walk-on Taylor Alie. This fall, the Ducks will also get Morgan Mahalak onto campus after signing the No. 9 rated dual-threat quarterback in their 2014 recruiting class.
For Rodrigues, the opportunity to play just wasn’t materializing at Oregon and he will take his talents elsewhere in 2014. In the process, he’s helped add some clarity to the Oregon depth chart for next fall and taken one question off the table for Helfrich this summer.