Remember the days when Sean Mannion was the clear-cut starter going into to spring ball? It seems so long ago, considering Oregon State’s struggles at quarterback the past two seasons.
In fact, struggles might be sugar coating it, as the Beavers ranked among the worst in the nation. And while they doubled their win total last season, the Beavers played three different QBs and it wasn’t until the third one played that there was any semblance of consistency.
The good news is that OSU returns all their quarterbacks and then some in the addition of JUCO gunslinger — meaning that again all eyes will be on the quarterbacks this spring.
- Marcus McMaryion (junior): Played in six games (five starts) last season, completing 101 of 170 passes (59.4 percent) for 1286 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions; rushed for 1 touchdown.
- Darell Garretson (senior): Played in six games (all starts) last season, completing 73 of 143 passes (50 percent) for 617 yards with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions; rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns; suffered season-ending injury against Utah.
- Conor Blount (sophomore): Played in four games last season, completing 19 of 35 passes for 183 yards (54 percent) with two interceptions; suffered season-ending injury against Utah.
- Mason Moran (redshirt freshman: Redshirted last season.
Jake Luton (junior): The 6-foot-6, 235 pounder out of Ventura Community College was the 38th-ranked JUCO prospect in the nation. He threw for 3,551 yards and 40 touchdowns last season, while completing 56 percent of his passes and throwing 15 interceptions.
3 Things to Watch
1. McMaryion led the Beavers to two wins to finish the season, including the Civil War. While he wasn’t a world-beater, the team appeared to rally behind him and he does have the most time in the system under his belt. He’s earned a shot to be number one this spring and it will be interesting if he seizes the opportunity. If he can come out strong this month, it bodes well for the Beavers, because the competition will be stiff.
2. There’s a lot of hype and anticipation surrounding Luton, not just because of his video game numbers in 2016. He’s a stark departure from the rest of the Beavers quarterbacks, as he’s a gunslinger. But it is a big jump from JUCO to the Pac-12, so how quick will Luton pick up things? Can he and the receivers, who struggled to get separation last year, mesh well? The defensive backs Luton faces this spring will be tougher than the ones he torched in 2016.
3. There’s a chance Garretson might not be ready to participate in spring ball, but regardless, it will be interesting to watch how he handles all the competition. Could he be the odd man out, now that Moran is no longer a redshirt? Speaking of which, it will be nice to see how Moran has progressed physically. He’s a heck of an athlete who can add more versatility to the position.
Bringing in Luton was a clear signal that the OSU coaches want to see more improved and consistent play from their quarterbacks. Let’s be honest, it’s one thing to have depth at a position, it’s another to be strong at the position. This spring will be big for all of the quarterbacks on the roster, as QB figures to be one of the key concerns heading into the 2017 season. It’s very possible that spring could lead to a shakeup for fall camp. One thing is for certain, it would be great if someone performs well enough that the coaches could name a clear number one going into fall. But with all the options available, don’t be surprised if this battles rages into September.