After anointing Seth Collins and Nick Mitchell as "1A" & "1B" in the Oregon St. quarterback competition on Wednesday, Beavers head coach Gary Andersen confirmed this morning that sophomore Luke Del Rio will be transferring again.
Del Rio, who transferred from Alabama to Oregon St. a year ago, and eventually became the primary backup to Sean Mannion (he was the only other quarterback to see the field for the Beavers in 2014, completing 8 of 18 passes, just 44%, in 3 games, for 141 yards), was initially installed as the front runner in what started out as a 7 way competition for the starting job this year, with Mannion on to the NFL.
But freshman Seth Collins and red-shirt freshman Nick Mitchell quickly moved past Del Rio, as both mobility and accuracy proved to matter in Andersen's system.
Andersen narrowed the field to 3 part way through the first session of Oregon St.'s split spring ball season, with Collins, Mitchell, and Del Rio getting the reps with the 1s and 2s.
Junior Brent Vander Veen, who was Mannion's backup before the arrival of Del Rio, and generally in Mannion's mold, a tall but not overly mobile pocket passer (Vander Veen is 6'5"), and general purpose athlete redshirt freshman Tanner Sanders both switched to the Tight End/H-Back position group, and redshirt sophomore Kyle Kempt transferred over spring break.
Del Rio continued to get ample opportunities to win the job, but as practice sessions continued this week, performance on the field prompted Andersen to declare Collins and Mitchell the co-contenders, with Collins perhaps in the lead. Del Rio was relegated to taking snaps only with the 2nd team in practice.
That prompted Del Rio's decision.
"Luke has decided to transfer, and we will support him," Anderson said after today's practice. "He has handled the transition very well, and has done everything asked of him. However, he feels it is time to start a new chapter in his life."
Del Rio has not indicated where he will transfer to this time, but added "I want to thank Coach Andersen for the opportunity, and wish all of my former teammates the best of luck this season, and in the future."
Marcus McMaryion, another red-shirt freshman, whom appeared to be close in the initial competition with Mitchell, being the more mobile of the two, remained at quarterback, and at the moment is the only other qb on campus, and Andersen did not sign any in the incoming recruiting class besides Collins.
McMaryion will become the #3 QB, and presumably return to getting some rotation snaps.
McMaryion was eliminated by Andersen in the initial competition due to flaws in his throwing motion, and was given the directive to "Fix your delivery."
Unless Vander Veen is moved back to the position (Sanders is more of an "athlete", and his inclusion in the log-jam of 7 always seemed odd), the Beavers will probably carry 3 quarterbacks this coming season, which could be a bit of a concern, given the sometimes dangerous nature of being a "mobile" quarterback.
Former Utah St. quarterback Darell Garretson, who also decided to transfer from his school during the recent spring break, is reportedly seriously considering Oregon St. as a destination.
Garretson played in 8 games in 2013 for the Aggies as a true freshman, including starting the last 7 games of the season, and also played in 5 games last year.
Garretson was recruited to Utah St. by Andersen, before he left for Wisconsin, and current Oregon St. quarterbacks coach Kevin McGiven, and played the last 2 years for McGiven, who was the Utah St. Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks coach before he left to join Andersen/'s staff in Corvallis.
Garretson would need to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules unless a waiver could be obtained, but does have a red-shirt season available to use during that time, leaving him 2 seasons of eligibility.