Former Utah St. quarterback Darrell Garretson is transferring to Oregon St. After receiving his release from the Aggies this spring, which he requested once fellow quarterback Chuckie Keaton was granted an additional year of eligibility in light of time lost due to injuries, Garretson has decided to walk on in Corvallis, where he will have to sit out the 2015 season, but will then have 2 years of remaining eligibility.
Garretson is 6' & weighs 200 lbs., and led Utah St. in passing last season, completing 91 of 135 passes, for 1140 yards, and 8 touchdowns, while throwing only 3 interceptions. He accomplished this in only 5 games, taking over for Keaton after Keaton suffered a season ending knee injury, before suffering his own season ending injury at Colorado St. The Aggies were 3-2 in the games Garretson got into, on their way to a 10-4 season that saw then use 4 starting quarterbacks. Garretson was sacked 9 times in 2014.
As a freshman in 2013, Garretson took over mid-season, again as a result of injuries, and led Utah St. on a 5 game winning streak that led to the Mt. West Championship game, which they lost 24-17 to Fresno St., before bouncing back for a 21-14 Poinsettia Bowl victory over Northern Illinois.
Garretson's abbreviated sophomore season saw him improve his accuracy, from 60.3% to 67.4% over his freshman campaign, when he completed 126 of 209 passes, for 1446 yards and 10 touchdowns. He did suffer 7 picks, and a troubling 20 sacks as a freshman. In his second season, he also improved his yards per attempt from under 7 yards to almost 8 1/2.
Garretson is not a notably mobile quarterback, and has run for only 37 net yards after sacks in the 13 games he has played in, which doesn't seem to fit in with new Oregon St. head coach Gary Andersen's preferred scheme, which saw true freshman Seth Collins emerge as the leader in this spring's quarterback derby to replace Sean Mannion, over Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion, primarily due to his running ability, although both Mitchell and McMaryion are notable for their mobility as well.
And unless all 3 fail this fall, or become casualties, by the time Garretson gets a chance to get further than the practice squad, one or more of them will be in position to be the quarterback for longer than Garretson will still be eligible.
Part of the explanation for Garretson's choice of course is quarterbacks coach Kevin McGiven, who recruited him to Utah St.,, and coached him the last 2 years as the Aggies' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. So while less mobile than the trio now at Oregon St., he is familiar with running the spread offense, and has considerable experience.
Garretson opted to walk on and attempt to earn a scholarship over several offers from FBS schools because of his desire to not only continue to compete at the FBS level, but "step up" in his words, to a "Power 5" program, and also considered Corvallis as a destination while in high school, having visited Oregon St. while being recruited as a 3 star quarterback prospect.
His other possibility was Washington, which is struggling through a quarterback transition as well, but that possibility was blocked by Utah St. The Aggies play the Huskies this fall, and wanted no inside intelligence leak to the upcoming opponent.
Andersen has demonstrated an open competition approach, and it is reasonable to expect Garretson to get a shot, and with the probability of attrition at the always vulnerable anyway quarterback position in a system that will expose whomever is at the position to more contact, that shot could come in the middle of a Pac-12 campaign in a year or two.