The second-most important position in football is a subject with many compelling different points of view. But few would be willing to debate the fact that the single-most critical member of any football team is its quarterback.
That one guy can make a bad team good or a good team bad. In a league full of wide open, powerful offenses like the Pac-12 it takes on even more significance.
Because of this, most teams try to keep around five scholarship quarterbacks in their pipeline. Not only is depth critical during a game and a season because of injury, it is also important strategically as a program graduates and replenishes year-after-year.
In April, middle of spring camp, new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart got the unpleasant news that redshirt freshman dual-threat quarterback from Del City, Oklahoma Terry Wilson had decided to transfer.
That left three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, returning sophomore starter Justin Herbert, redshirt sophomore Travis Jonsen and true freshman Braxton Burmeister. Though Herbert started seven games for the Ducks in 2016, the team was not good and finished with an abysmal 4-8 record, leading to the ouster of head coach Mark Helfrich and his entire staff.
During Oregon’s spring game in April, Herbert reinforced his hold on the starting position with a 16 for 26, 327-yard four touchdown performance. Jonsen was 5-15 for 86-yards and an interception that same afternoon.
On Monday, Aaron Fentress of CSNNW reported that Jonsen has decided to transfer from the program as well.
Oregon will now enter the 2017 football season with two quarterbacks on roster, one redshirt sophomore and a true freshman. Willie Taggart’s job of returning a top Pac-12 program to its traditional place in the league hierarchy just got harder.