Oregon has beaten Alabama in the sweepstakes for the coveted prospect most fans had never heard of one week ago, as Montana State quarterback Dakota Prukop reportedly elected to spend his graduate transfer season in Eugene.
An Austin native, Prukop ranked 11th among FCS passers in 2015, completing 216-of-344 passes for 3,025 yards with 28 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He also rushed 158 times for 797 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Prukop’s arrival will draw an obvious parallel to Oregon’s current quarterback – Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams. Adams was a more-heralded prospect, throwing for 3,485 yards with 35 touchdowns while rushing for another six more.
But, most importantly, he immediately adapted to Oregon’s Pac-12 schedule. Adams finished the regular season leading FBS in passing efficiency, connecting on nearly 65 percent of his passes for 10.2 yards per attempt with 25 touchdowns versus only six interceptions. In fact, Oregon’s midseason struggles were directly related to Adams’ absence. He played through a broken hand in the Ducks’ three-point loss at Michigan State, then missed most of Oregon’s loss to Utah and all of the subsequent overtime setback to Washington State.
Oregon went 6-0 after Adams’ return, led by a signal-caller that threw for 21 touchdowns and averaged at least 9.6 yards per attempt in five of the six outings.
If Prukop can approach Adams’ impact, Oregon should be fine in 2016. As for the state of Mark Helfrich‘s quarterback development? Well, let’s wait and see who’s on the Big Sky Conference transfer market before rendering judgment on 2017 and beyond.