Eastern Washington

Oregon targeted Vernon Adams Jr. over Braxton Miller

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Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman has an excellent feature on Oregon transfer Vernon Adams Jr. up, which is well worth a read.

There’s some interesting stuff in there — Adams’ decision to transfer from FCS side Eastern Washington to the No. 2 team in the nation wasn’t easy, and he’s training in a strip mall with what sort of looks like a Bane mask. But this stuck out regarding Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller:

Adams’ decision came down to Oregon or staying at Eastern Washington. Texas tried to recruit him but came in too late in the process, he said. Adams talked to UCLA and considered taking a visit there the week after he visited Oregon, but opted not to after thinking more about his situation. He said he had no idea what Miller might do, and that “Oregon told me straight up that they were coming after me and, if they didn’t get me, then maybe they go after him, but they said they were coming after me first.

Miller, of course, has yet to announce if he intends to leave Ohio State as a fifth-year graduate transfer. But if/when he does, it’ll trigger a free agent feeding frenzy Oregon was expected to participate in.

With Adams — who threw for 110 touchdowns and rushed for 11 more in three years at EWU — already in the fold, though, the Ducks likely will stay on the sidelines as teams try to woo Miller (and Notre Dame’s Everett Golson, if he decides to leave South Bend this spring). That’s high praise for a guy in Adams who didn’t have a single scholarship offer from an FBS school coming out of high school.

Adams would appear to be the frontrunner to replace Marcus Mariota, though he’ll compete for the job with junior Jeff Lockie, freshman Morgan Mahalak, incoming freshman Travis Waller and Georgia Tech transfer Ty Griffin.

FCS coach lobbies to end NCAA’s graduate transfer rule

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When quarterback Vernon Adams decided to transfer from Eastern Washington to Oregon, Montana State head coach Rob Ash said he would “cheer for him.” But the move has Ash questioning the FCS’s standing within the grand scheme of major college football.

Adams was one of the best players at the FCS level. Ash is worried that his school and others of its ilk might develop into a feeder system for much bigger programs.

“We’re Division I like the other level,” Ash said in a telephone interview, via ESPN.com. “Our guys need to start and finish at the same school. We cannot be perceived as a farm system or Triple-A ballclub or anything like that.”

A loophole in the NCAA’s rules has been exploited in recent years. A graduate student is allowed to transfer without sitting out a season if his previous school doesn’t offer graduate studies in his preferred area. It’s become a way for student-athletes to control when and where they play.

Russell Wilson made the rule famous when he transferred from North Carolina State to Wisconsin, and Adams is simply the latest example of a talented player taking advantage of the situation.

“I’m really opposed to this rule the way it’s starting to be manipulated by FBS schools,” Ash continued. “As FCS coaches, we need to lobby now to get this rule changed. It’s going to be potentially a very difficult, bad situation for FCS with really good players that we recruit, we develop, being tempted to move on for that fifth and final year.”

Fellow FCS coaches are worried they won’t get to benefit from their work with certain players.

“It’s not what the rule is intended for,” Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said. “… Ultimately we feel like, you know what, we were also the ones who developed [Adams] from a level where obviously out of high school he wasn’t at that level.”

Due to Baldwin’s stance on the transfer, he won’t allow Adams to work out in the team’s facilities before his transfer is official.

The school, however, still supports Adams’ decision.

“We wish Vernon the best in his future endeavors and thank him for all that he has done for Eastern,” athletic director Bill Chaves said in a statement. “The chance for him to pursue this opportunity is certainly a unique one given the fifth-year transfer rule. 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. We will continue to work through the process of this transfer based on the rule as it stands now.”

Vernon Adams’ former coach doesn’t want him working out at EWU before Oregon transfer

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Vernon Adams is no longer an Eastern Washington Eagle, having announced his intention to transfer to Oregon on Monday. But he’s not an Oregon Duck yet either, not until he arrives in Eugene in June.

That kind of leaves him in no man’s land, since Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin doesn’t want him around the program.

“We’re not rolling out the red carpet around here for a guy that’s playing against us Game One,” Baldwin told ESPN700 in Spokane (via The Oregonian). “He’s going to have to figure out where to work out.”

One one hand: that makes sense. Eastern Washington wants every edge it can possibly get in its attempt to take down the defending Pac-12 champs and national runners-up, no matter how crushing the odds are. Letting the opposing starting quarterback in your huddle usually doesn’t fall under that umbrella.

On the other hand: come on, dude. He already knows the plays, and game-planning doesn’t normally take place until August, anyway. And strange as it sounds, Adams winning the starting job and leading the Ducks to another College Football Playoff appearance probably gives Eastern Washington more exposure than anything the Eagles can garner on their own.

Baldwin, no doubt frustrated his crown jewel turned into the equivalent of a Triple-A call-up, fired some shots at Oregon’s quarterback development.

“Obviously Oregon doesn’t feel like they recruited or developed a guy to the same level we did in Cheney, Washington,” he said. “When you’re Oregon, and over the last three or four years you’re not recruiting a number of guys that can fill in when Marcus leaves, I’m kind of asking the question — I’m flattered, I guess — of what are they doing over there?”

In the meantime, Adams has morphed into your high school-star buddy working himself up try out for the team.

“That’s one of the tough parts,” Adams told The Oregonian. “Definitely going to work out twice a day at our rec center and probably trying to find some guys who used to go here or something for me (to throw to). Trying to keep my arm loose. That’s going to be the toughest part.”

Oregon hosts Eastern Washington on Sept. 5.

EWU QB Vernon Adams announces he’s transferring to Oregon

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Add one more quarterback to the competition in Eugene, Oregon to replace Heisman Trophy quarterback Marcus Mariota. Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams announced Monday on his Twitter account he is transferring to Oregon for his final season of eligibility.

Adams is a two-time runner-up for the Walter Payton Trophy, which is the FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. He was named the Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year each of the past two seasons and is expected to be a good fit in Oregon’s offense once he gets his hands on the playbook and begins working with his new team.

There were some previous concerns over whether or not this sort of transfer would be a possibility. Adams is scheduled to graduate this spring, so he would be eligible to play at any FBS program in the fall under standard NCAA transfer rules regarding FBS programs.

As fate would have it, Oregon’s first game of the 2015 season will be at home against Eastern Washington. Whether or not Adams will be the starter for Oregon will be determined later, although he certainly arrives in Eugene with plenty of skill and experience to be a solid contender for the starting job following the early departure of Mariota.

Oregon’s interest in Adams appeared to spark the interest of other major programs in need of a quarterback in the fall, including UCLA and Texas. Might this be a new trend in college football, where FBS programs look for FCS stars set to graduate in the spring to help pad the roster or even fill needs on the roster for the following fall?

Texas, UCLA interested in star FCS QB Vernon Adams

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Regardless of whether Vernon Adams can make the transition from the FCS to the FBS, Oregon will have some competition for the quarterback’s services.

The Eastern Washington star’s high school coach, Dean Herrington, told The Oregonian that, in addition to Oregon, Texas and UCLA have called him expressing interest in the potential transfer. “They want him,” Herrington said of the Longhorns and Bruins.

That said, Herrington fully expects his former player to opt for the Ducks when it comes time to pull the trigger on a transfer. As for a timeline on a decision, the high school coach said “[i]t’ll be sooner rather than later,” adding that Adams is “definitely not trying to drag this out for weeks.”

Jan. 28, it was reported that Adams would be visiting Oregon as he was contemplating a transfer. It’s unclear if he will visit any other schools that have called expressing interest.

The day after reports first surfaced about Adams’ interest in moving up the college football ladder, EWU released a statement acknowledging that it had granted the player permission to explore a potential move.

Regardless of where he actually ends up, Adams certainly has the credentials to come in and compete for a starting job immediately as he would be a grad transfer.

In a 49-46 win over Oregon State in 2013, Adams accounted for 518 yards of offense and six total touchdowns — 411 and four passing, 107 and two rushing.  A year later, Adams passed for 475 yards in a 59-52 loss to Washington.

Over the past two seasons, Adams has thrown for 90 touchdowns and ran for another 10.  In 2013, he was runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the FCS.  He was a finalist for the same award in 2014.

Oregon and UCLA are both looking to replace long-time starters in Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley, respectively, while Texas is simply looking for someone to be a standout — or even passable — at the position for the first time since Colt McCoy’s eligibility expired following the 2009 season.  Regardless of where he ends up, Adams won’t be a participant in spring practice at his new home as he won’t graduate from EWU until May.