Less than two weeks ago, a report surfaced that, after much consideration, Bryan Bennett had decided to remain at Oregon. That report came after Bennett was all but out the door in August before staying, as well as late last month that he was once again strongly considering a transfer.
According to DuckTerritory.com, and confirmed through two sources close to the situation, Bennett has decided once again to leave the Ducks. Bennett will transfer to Southeastern Louisiana, the website says, where he will enroll as early as this week.
As Southeastern Louisiana is an FCS program, Bennett will be eligible to play immediately — provided the decision to transfer sticks of course. At his new school, Bennett will get the opportunity to play the quarterback position; the website notes that Bennett would likely have been moved permanently to the defensive side of the ball had he stayed at Oregon, probably as a linebacker.
Oregon has yet to comment on Bennett’s future with the football program.
Bennett had been considered the heir apparent at the quarterback position after Darron Thomas inexplicably left UO early for the NFL. However, Marcus Mariota performed well during spring practice last year and was officially named the starter toward the end of camp last August. Given the fact that Mariota was a first-team All-Pac-12 performer and is just a redshirt freshman, the path back to a starting job was all but blocked for Bennett.
The redshirt sophomore Bennett attempted just 83 passes the past two seasons, including 37 in 2012. A four-star member of UO’s 2010 recruiting class, Bennett was rated as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country.
UPDATED 2:44 p.m. ET: Oregon confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Bennett has decided to transfer from the Ducks.
The will he, won’t he transfer rumors surrounding Oregon’s backup quarterback, Bryan Bennett, have reportedly been put to rest once again.
Per a report from 247Sports, Bennett (pictured right) will not transfer from the program after sitting behind Marcus Mariota in 2012. Bennett, who just finished his redshirt sophomore year with the Ducks, lost Oregon’s quarterback battle to Mariota before the season despite being the presumed favorite to succeed Darron Thomas.
The decision by Chip Kelly to start Mariota led to rumors last August that Bennett would seek a transfer, but that was ultimately quashed following a meeting with Kelly. However, the rumors picked back up toward bowl season when the Ducks were preparing to play Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The report notes that Bennett could move to defense, which the quarterback reportedly dabbled in during practice this season out of necessity. Bennett played defensive back in high school.
Keeping Bennett would give Oregon great QB depth — provided he stayed at the position, of course. In two years, Bennett has appeared in 20 games (starting one).
Yesterday brought word that, due to injuries that have piled up on the defensive side of the ball, running back De’Anthony Thomas could possibly see time at cornerback against Stanford.
A day later, another of Oregon’s offensive players is getting a defensive look.
Again citing a UO football source, the Oregonian reports that backup quarterback Bryan Bennett has been getting reps as a defensive back the past couple of practices in case an emergency arises Saturday. The paper writes that Bennett “has been learning some of the defensive calls and formations.”
Not surprisingly, head coach Chip Kelly wasn’t inclined to discuss what may or may not be going on behind closed practice doors.
“We don’t really talk about how we practiced,” Kelly said. “If we did, we’d let you guys (in the media) in every day. Just like injuries, we just don’t talk about it.”
Bennett, who was widely considered the heir apparent to Darron Thomas in the offseason, lost the quarterback competition in spring practice and summer camp to Marcus Mariota, seeing very little action under center for the top-ranked Ducks. Like Thomas, though, Bennett played defensive back in high school.