Well Ducks Fans, the post-Mariota Oregon Football Purgatory has officially ended. It’s officially time to adopt Oregon’s newest starting quarterback. And by “new”, I mean new to town and just two weeks into his first official practice with the team.
This week, Vernon Adams Jr., an FCS phenom and recent transfer from Eastern Washington University, won Oregon’s starting quarterback job after just two weeks on campus, despite missing Summer workouts and the first part of Fall camp due to a now-famous failed math test that held up his official transfer. Though many expected Adams to win the starting job, few thought he would win it this soon. Now that he has, the message is loud and clear: This guy must be something special.
Could Adams be the X-factor the Ducks need to make a second consecutive run to the natty? Only time will tell but with Adams in the driver’s seat, fans can’t help but sense a very exciting season is just around the corner.
Of course, Adams is so new he isn’t even allowed to talk to the media. That will all change on Saturday September 5th, when he plays in his first game as a Duck but in the meantime, for those who haven’t yet done their own research, here are a few fun facts to help you get to know Mariota’s heir. . .
1. He slipped through the cracks. Adams landed at Eastern Washington after being overlooked by ALL FBS schools. Despite impressive high school stats, he was considered too short (standing between 5 ‘11”and 6’, depending on who you talk to) by FBS teams and was given a zero rating by rivals.com.
2. He nearly won the FCS’ most prestigious award…twice. While at Eastern Washington, Adams quickly made a name for himself and became a two time runner up for the Walter-Payton Award, the FCS’ equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.
3. His high school coach suggested he transfer from EWU. Shortly after Marcus Mariota announced he’d be entering the 2015 NFL Draft, Adams’ high school coach suggested that he seek a release to contact other schools. This request was granted and he was heavily recruited by several top programs including: Oregon, UCLA and Texas. Ultimately, Adams chose Oregon, which just so happened to be his dream school.
4. He was banned from EWU training facilities. Soon after announcing his plan to transfer to Oregon, Adams was barred from using any of EWU’s training facilities or training with EWU’s current players. Though much was made about this in the media, even Adams, himself, says it was the right call given the Oregon vs. Eastern Washington University match up on September 5, 2015.
5. Adams considers playing EWU in this season’s first game the worst part. Though fans are anxiously awaiting that UO vs. EWU match up, Adams told the Oregonian’s, Andrew Greif, it would be “weird” and “the worst part about all [of] this.”
6. Adams doesn’t like to run much. Though there is a tendency for fans to compare Adams to Mariota, his style of play is somewhat different. Though he played in a spread offense at EWU, Adams has not had to play at the same pace he will have to at Oregon. He is also not the runner that Mariota is. He recently told Fox Sports that he doesn’t “like to run much” and isn’t nearly as fast as Mariota. Fortunately, one of his many strengths is scrambling in the pocket and extending plays.
7. He ran track in high school. Though he says he isn’t much of a runner, Adams did run track in high school and has been working with his high school coach this Summer to become faster and more conditioned.
8. Adams quietly prepared for his transition to Oregon while in limbo. In order to prepare for his transition to Oregon, Adams had regular contact with Oregon Offensive Coordinator, Scott Frost, to learn the nuances of the Oregon Offense. He also spoke nearly every other day with his soon-to-be teammates, forming good relationships with several, including Dwayne Stanford and Bralon Addison. Though he had much of the playbook and could do some work on his own, Adams told the Oregonian’s, Andrew Greif that he is a visual learner and it was really his in-person meetings with Oregon coaches that helped him the most.
9. He trains with a mask. If you’ve watched any of Adams’ training videos, you likely noticed him wearing a strange-looking mask. In order to step up his conditioning, Adams wears a Training Mask that is designed to simulate high altitude. Mystery Solved.
10. He is a family guy. Adams is described by Oregon players as having a maturity about him. That might be because at 22 years old, Adams is a father of a 1 ½ year old boy, Vernon Kash Adams III. Looking at his social media accounts, all signs indicate Adams is an active and very loving father. He has said his decision to transfer to Oregon had a lot to do with providing a good future for his family and his son.
11. He is a man of faith. Adams is quick to give glory to God and shows incredible humility when talking about his successes. Throughout many interviews, Adams regularly talks about opportunities and successes as being blessings for which he is grateful.
12. He is active on social media. Yes, many college athletes use social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram these days, but for Oregon fans, having a starting quarterback who connects with fans on social media will be a new and likely welcomed surprise (It wasn’t a bad thing but Marcus Mariota was well-known for keeping a low profile and not having any social media accounts).
13. Adams is very animated on the field. From fist bumping a referee prior to a snap to dancing while in formation, Adams certainly brings something electric to the game. He recently told goducks.com Editor in Chief, Rob Moseley that if fans see him dancing, it’s just because he is so happy.
Well so are we Vernon, so are we.