Marcus Mariota enters NFL draft: Where does that leave Oregon?
To little surprise, three-year starter and Heisman winning quarterback, Marcus Mariota declared his entry into the 2015 NFL Draft Wednesday. Mariota has been projected to go has high as No. 1.
Where does this leave the Ducks?
Well, it leaves them with three options –Jeff Lockie (redshirt sophomore), Morgan Mahalak (freshman) and Travis Waller (incoming freshman) – at the quarterback position for 2015. All three will enter next year’s season with little to no experience.
Ty Griffin, brother of former Clemson quarterback Taj Griffin, is currently listed as one of Oregon’s quarterbacks, but with a recent change in mind, he may make the conversion to wide receiver.
Here’s a short description of the three main prospects:
Jeff Lockie, 6-foot-2, 200 lbs:
Lockie will have the most experience of the group. However, serving as Mariota’s backup for the past two season, he’s received minimal activity behind center.
Yet, he knows the ins and outs of the Oregon playbook, a must in the up-tempo offense, and also has received constant praise from players and coaches.
This season, Lockie completed 21 of his 28 pass attempts for 207 yards and one touchdown.
Morgan Mahalak, 6-foot-3, 195 lbs:
Mahalak and Mariota share one commonality: they both waited until their senior season to emerge as a serious prospect. Patiently waiting until his final year of high school, Mahalak burst onto the scene, earning California Division III first-team all-state honors as well as All-Metro acclaim by the San Francisco Chronicle his senior year.
Mahalak ranked 16th in the state in TD passes (38) and third in the North Coast Section in passing yards (2,795) in his final season. He also completed 160 of 260 passes (61.5%) in 2013, in addition to carrying the football 82 times for 575 yards (7.0 avg.).
The UnderArmour All-American Game participant not only brings tremendous upside, but he also boasts a stature that is comparable to this year’s Heisman winner.
Travis Waller, 6-foot-3, 194:
Invited to this year’s Nike Elite 11 camp, a competition for the nation’s top quarterbacks, Waller is among the best prospects at the quarterback position for the 2015 recruiting class. The four-star recruit from Anaheim, Calfornia, who signed with the Ducks back in July, was one of the Ducks’ standouts of their 2015 recruit class.
Similar to both Lockie and Mahalak, Waller is a dual-threat quarterback that is expected to fit right into Oregon’s up-tempo offense. Waller chose Oregon over schools like Alabama, Notre Dame and USC, among many others.
Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim
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