Quarterback Shopping

In recent years, the University of Oregon has become a veritable quarterback factory and the Ducks can afford to be very picky when shopping for the next signal caller to install in their talented pipeline.

Reports are that the Ducks have offered four quarterbacks for the 2002 class, with the intention of taking only the first one who accepts a scholarship to play for UO. Lefty Ben Olson of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is one they like a lot and he may be the highest rated quarterback in the country. But Ben doesn't appear to be looking seriously toward Eugene.

Drew Stanton committed to MSU.
Former Lake Oswego quarterback Drew Stanton appeared to be the most likely candidate to commit to the Ducks and earlier this year he had listed them as a strong favorite. Even as he entered the recent Elite 11 Quarterback camp Drew still listed Oregon as a favorite along with UCLA and Michigan St. However, Stanton now lives in Harrison, Mich., and his parents are both MSU alumni, so it wasn't much of a surprise when he committed to the Spartans on Tuesday.

So, whom does Oregon focus on now? Also attending the Elite 11 camp was Matt Gutierrez, a 6-5, 215-pound, 4.8 Dream Team-rated quarterback from famed De La Salle High School who has also fielded an offer from the Ducks. Everyone wants Matt; it took some serious thinking on his part to even narrow his favorite school list down to single digits.

Marcedes Lewis and Matt Gutierrez
at the Elite 11 camp.
Oregon is one of those nine schools and since most players have a desire to stay near home, the big competition might come from his other favorites on the West Coast, which include Cal and Washington. Matt looked good at the Elite 11 camp in spite of the fact that he is recovering from surgery to repair a broken avicular bone in his throwing wrist, but a full recovery is expected.

The fourth quarterback the Ducks have offered remains more of a mystery. This guy is probably more of a sleeper than the other three and there is a lot of speculation that the player is either Carl Bonnell or Sawyer Smith from the state of Washington. Other names may emerge, but with the talent already stockpiled in Eugene, the Duck coaches should hold out for a quarterback that they truly covet. There is no need for compromise. With football scholarships scarcer for the 2002 class than in recent years, they can afford to wait.

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