After the first couple of spring practice earlier this year, Nick Bawden was third in San Diego State’s quarterback pecking order. Exiting spring, he was at least fourth.
Now, as the Aztecs are about to embark on the start of summer camp, Bawden is off the quarterback depth chart completely.
Head coach Rocky Long confirmed to the San Diego Union-Tribune that, following the conclusion of spring practice, he gave Bawden a choice: switch positions or transfer somewhere else if he wanted to continue playing quarterback. The 6-3, 220-pound Bawden decided to take one for his current team and agreed to move to fullback/H-back moving forward.
While Long’s not really certain about the fullback part of the equation, he praised Bawden for his selflessness in making the move.
“There are very few of those guys left,” Long told the Union-Tribune. “You appreciate those guys. I don’t know if he can play fullback. He’s a good athlete; he weighs 230 (officially, 220) pounds. Just the attitude … ‘I want to be on this team. Tell me where I can play and I’ll do the best I can.’ That’s great stuff.”
Bawden began the spring behind Kentucky graduate transfer Maxwell Smith and Oregon transfer Jake Rodrigues. He left behind those two as well freshman Christian Chapman.
As a true freshman last season, Bawden started two games in place of the injured Quinn Kaehler. In those two games — one win, one loss — he completed 13 of 37 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran the ball 11 times for 43 yards.
It hasn’t taken Maxwell Smith very long to make a name for himself at his new workplace.
In January of this year, it was confirmed that the quarterback would be transferring from Kentucky to San Diego State to finish out his playing career. The grad transfer left the Wildcats in search of a place where he could contend for a starting job, and it appears he he may have just picked the right spot.
While the Aztecs have used just three of their allotted 15 spring practice sessions, the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Smith has seemingly distanced himself from the other five competitors for the the starting spot. From the Union-Tribune:
With six guys competing, it’s like they come and go through a revolving door in drills, but there’s little question for me who’s looked the sharpest: Kentucky graduate transfer Maxwell Smith.
At 6-feet-4, Smith is the most imposing of the bunch and he’s shown the best arm strength and accuracy. Most impressive has been his targeting on outside curl routes by receivers, with Smith zipping the ball into spots where only his wideouts can catch it. He looks very poised and capable. I don’t yet have a strong read on his mobility, and that might be a concern given the issues with the offensive line (more on that later).
Also competing for the job is Oregon transfer Jake Rodrigues, although the paper stated that he hasn’t had the best start to the spring. That should be at least mildly concerning as Rodrigues has been in the offense for nearly a year, having left the Ducks for the Aztecs in May of last year.
The paper writes that “[o]ur standings after Week 1: Smith, [sophomore Christian] Chapman, [sophomore Nick] Bawden, Rodrigues, [JUCO transfer Adam] Wood and second-year walk-on Drew Anderson.”
With news that Marcus Mariota is entering the 2015 NFL Draft, it is already time to shift ahead to see who will be leading the Oregon offense on the field in 2015. The job of filling the shoes of Mariota will be no easy task, but somebody has to do it. Barring the transfer of a player like Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, there are a couple options to watch during Oregon’s spring practices.
Jeff Lockie appears to be the frontrunner as things stand just by looking at the depth chart for the Ducks. Lockie made a brief appearance on the field in place of Mariota during the College Football Playoff national championship game against Ohio State, after Mariota was taken to the ground by Buckeyes defensive lineman Joey Bosa. Lockie, a former three-star recruit according to Rivals, is currently a redshirt sophomore, and is currently the most veteran of Oregon’s young quarterback stable. Lockie joined the Oregon program in the same recruiting class that landed four-star quarterback Jake Rodrigues to Oregon under former head coach Chip Kelly. Rodriguez eventually landed at San Diego State as things did not work out with the Oregon program. Rodrigue transferred to San Diego State prior to the 2014 season and will be eligible to play this fall.
Oregon’s other quarterbacks on the roster today are all freshmen or redshirt freshmen. Eugene native Taylor Alie and California product Ty Griffin are each redshirt freshmen, but neither are expected to make a serious run for the starting job this spring. Alie held a job as Oregon’s scout team quarterback in 2013. Both entered the same recruiting class as Damion Hobbs, a three-star recruit from Texas that has already transferred to Utah State.
True freshman Morgan Mahalak may have the most potential to replace Mariota in the fall. The former four-star recruit from California did play for Oregon this season but is used to waiting for his opportunity. He did so in high school before excelling to be one of the top passers in California. He was the only quarterback added to the Oregon roster in last year’s recruiting class, and now could be his time. The pro-style quarterback was the 11th-ranked pro-style QB in last year’s class according to Rivals could easily benefit from a strong showing in the spring as head coach Mark Helfrich attempts to settle on his next starting quarterback.Oregon also has four-star quarterback
As the spring opens up, the starting job could come down to Lockie and Mahalak. Oregon also has four-star quarterback Travis Waller lined up for the Class of 2015 (already has signed a letter of intent). As things stand now, there are no other quarterbacks in Oregon’s Class of 2015.
As you may or may not have heard, Jake Rodrigues opted to transfer from the Oregon football program earlier this offseason. In late May, the quarterback decided to continue his playing career at San Diego State and transferred to the Aztecs.
What you likely don’t know, however, is the back story that led Rodrigues to the school. From a profile on the player from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
After four turmoil-filled years that featured the birth of his son, the loss of his best friend, career-threatening injury and three surgeries, Jake comes to the Aztecs battle-hardened to the game of life.
It’s a very well-written and ofttimes emotional feature by Stefanie Loh on Rodrigues, who will be forced to sit out the 2014 season but will likely be a (the?) favorite to win the starting job when 2015 rolls around.
Again, this is exceptionally done and it’d be well worth you time to click HERE to read it. And be prepared to root for Rodrigues from here on out, whether you’re an Aztecs fan or not.
For the sixth time the past three months, a playing member of the Oregon football program has decided to fly the Ducks coop.
The latest to leave Eugene is Oshay Dunmore, who 247Sports.com reports is transferring out to an undetermined location. No reason for the decision to move on from the Ducks was given, and UO, for what’s it’s worth, has yet to confirm the departure.
Dunmore was a three-star member of Oregon’s 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Oregon. After redshirting as a true freshman, Dunmore played in 10 games in 2013.
Also joining Dunmore on the UO transfer train are linebacker Tyrell Robinson and defensive back Eric Amoako this month; quarterbacks Damion Hobbs and Jake Rodrigues last month; and wide receiver Tony Dungy in March.
Hobbs (Utah State), Rodrigues (San Diego State) and Dungy (USF) have all since found new football homes.