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Oregon State Football: Most Valuable Player Countdown - #48 Darell Garretson

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

#48: Darell Garretson - Quarterback

Last year’s Opening Day starting quarterback, once-Utah State transfer Darell Garretson probably never expected to be on the outside-looking-in to the Beavers quarterback conversation heading into 2017. After all, when Garretson committed to the Beavers, athlete-turned-quarterback Seth Collins was running the show from the backfield and barely broken-in head coach Gary Andersen was in desperate need of a gunslinger. Oh, how quickly things can change.

Fast forward to 2017 and Collins is now one of the team’s best receiving threats, a position he could’ve excelled in from day one, while Garretson is being sized up in the depth chart as a likely back-up to Ventura College transfer Jake Luton. Luton, who is coming off a JUCO All-American campaign at Ventura, may be the early front-runner in the quarterback competition ahead of Garretson and Marcus McMaryion, the quarterback who helped Oregon State to victories over Arizona and rival Oregon in the final two games of the 2016 season. It is expected that Garretson and McMaryion will battle for the second string spot, despite the fact that all three gunslingers saw significant action during the team’s Spring Game.

The general issue with Garretson during the 2016 campaign was a lack of overall offensive production and team development through his six appearances. After starting the season with an impressive outing against Minnesota, where he threw for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns, Garretson then posted just 77.8 passing yards per game the rest of the way, with 0 touchdowns through the air and 4 interceptions. However, it should be noted that Garretson did run for 105 yards and 2 scores in a three-point overtime win against California. Yet, before Garretson’s season ended with a broken ankle injury in a 19-14 loss to Utah, it seemed likely that he was going to be likely be replaced permanently in favor of walk-on freshman Conor Blount, one of last season’s few enjoyable surprises or McMaryion. So why did the #48 spot on our countdown go to a potential third-string quarterback? The answer is actually pretty simple.

First of all, there’s no saying Garretson won’t be the Beavers Opening Day gunslinger once again in 2017, if he shows that he’s significantly developed over the past year and impresses in Fall Camp. In the team’s Spring Game, Garretson connected on 8 of his 11 passing attempts, which was highlighted by a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tuli Wily-Matagi, in his first organized football action since the injury. Garretson would also give the Beavers their most experienced option at quarterback against the Pac-12, especially with his serviceable dual-threat versatility, that may be needed until things are settled in front of him on the offensive line.

But until head coach Gary Andersen and his staff make a call on who will be the Beavers quarterback of choice going forward, Garretson should be given the benefit of the doubt for his flashes of brilliance at times during last season and what he can contribute to this team. If nothing else, his spot on our list shows how vastly different of a team that the Beavers expect to be this season than the 4-8 squad from a year ago.

The List So Far:

#48: Darell Garretson - QB

#49: Jordan Choukair & Adley Rutschman - K

#50: Thor Katoa - DT/OLB