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2017 Position Preview: Quarterbacks

Who will start at quarterback for the Beavers in 2017?

NCAA Football: Boise State at Oregon State Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

The Personnel

  • Conor Blount (SO)
  • Darell Garretson (SR)
  • Jake Luton (JR)
  • Marcus McMaryion (JR)
  • Mason Moran (RS-FR)
  • Aidan Willard (FR)

Definitely/Could Be Gone

Nobody: The Beavers return every quarterback expected to be in the mix for 2017 but there’s a chance that one of the group could leave, considering the heavy traffic at the position. At the moment however, it looks like Oregon State will head into Spring with six gunslingers on board.

New To The Mix

Jake Luton and Aidan Willard: A former quarterback at the University of Idaho, Luton was a JUCO All-American last season at Ventura College (CA), where he threw for 3,551 yards and 40 scores. As an early enrollee, it looks from the outside that Luton could be in the mix to fight for a starting job from day one.

Willard, the son of two OSU alums, is a three-star, pro-style quarterback out of Napa, California, who chose the Beavers over offers from Cincinnati, Hawaii, New Mexico and Toledo. It is likely that Willard will use his redshirt season as a freshman, a decision that could benefit his long-term success with the program.

Who Will Start?

Check Back After Spring?: The biggest burning question that will surround the Beavers all off-season long is the position battle at quarterback, where head coach Gary Andersen has three legitimate options to consider.

Garretson, last year’s opening day starter, had a roller-coaster 2016 campaign that ended prematurely, when he broke his ankle in a 19-14 loss to Utah. However, when Garretson was healthy, the team’s offense was considered mostly lackluster and stagnant.

McMaryion may have lost his first four games as a full-time starter but he did help the Beavers to finish 2016 on a two-game winning streak, which included a five-touchdown performance in a rout over Arizona and a ten-point victory over Oregon in the Civil War.

Luton, the newcomer to the group, is coming off a prolific JUCO season and will probably be the number one challenger to McMaryion and Garretson for the position as the off-season progresses. Luton is said to have come a long way since his time with the Vandals, but he’s yet to prove it against high-level Division I competition.

What To Expect?

The Unexpected: The mounting injuries last season caused then-walk-on freshman Conor Blount to see some playing time, Marcus McMaryion to start the last six games of the season, Mason Moran to be placed on stand-by and graduate assistant/former Utah State standout Chuckie Keeton to step in as the scout team gunslinger. Talk about a wild ride for Beavers fans.

Reasonable expectations would say that you’ll likely see Garretson, Luton and McMaryion all seriously contend for position, while probability states that 2017’s quarterback season can’t possibly be as chaotic as 2016’s was. Right? Blount and Moran will likely start the campaign on the outside-looking-in but don’t doubt that Oregon State uses more than one gunslinger all-season long to kick-start what was a failing offense last year. When Spring ball finally starts, expect Garretson and McMaryion to start off with the majority of the early reps but count nobody out from this group of talented, yet unproven prospects.

2017 Oregon State Football Position Previews

Sunday (2/19): Quarterbacks
Monday (2/20): Running Backs
Tuesday (2/21): Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Wednesday (2/22): Offensive Line
Thursday (2/23): Defensive Line
Friday (2/24): Linebackers
Saturday (2/25): Defensive Backs
Sunday (2/26): Special Teams