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Oregon State Football: 2020 Position Preview - Quarterbacks

Jake Luton is onto the NFL. Who steps in to fill the starting role in 2020?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Oregon State at Oregon Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Situation

Last year’s starting quarterback Jake Luton ended up a sixth round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which means the Beavers will be turning to a new leader in their huddle this Fall. The leader in camp by far is redshirt junior Tristan Gebbia, a former Nebraska transfer who threw for 243 yards on a 26-40 day in the Civil War game against Oregon to end last season.

Returning faces to back-up Gebbia are Aidan Willard, the likely number-two on the depth chart at the moment, as well as one-time Eastern Washington transfer Nick Moore and redshirt freshman, Jackson Chryst. Some new guys to the mix include three-star recruit Ben Gulbranson, a big and strong freshman from Newbury Park, California, and Chance Nolan, a junior college transfer from Saddleback College in California.

The Quarterbacks

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon
Tristan Gebbia will hold the starting role heading into the Fall.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
  • #3 - Tristan Gebbia (RS JR / 6’ 2”, 200 lbs)
  • #4 - Aidan Willard (RS JR / 6’ 2”, 185 lbs)
  • #7 - Nick Moore (RS JR / 6’ 0”, 195 lbs)
  • #9 - Jackson Chryst (RS FR / 6’ 2”, 200 lbs)
  • #10 - Chance Nolan (RS SO / 6’ 2”, 195 lbs)
  • #17 - Ben Gulbranson (FR / 6’ 3”, 210 lbs)

The Skinny

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Stanford
Will Aidan Willard win the second-string role on a crowded Beavers depth chart?
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Tristan Gebbia saw time in four games last season for the Beavers, including starting against Oregon and as a whole, went 38-60 (63.3%) for 347 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He led the offense soundly, but definitely didn’t just off the page in terms of being a star talent who will take over the team without question. The loss of a full “Spring Camp” period definitely won’t help Gebbia to develop into the Beavers quarterback of the future in a short period of time, yet there’s nobody really waiting in the wings to take his role. Gebbia will get his starting nod heading into the 2020 campaign.

Behind him is where things get very murky, especially considering only freshman Ben Gulbranson still possesses a redshirt year. The back-up competition will likely center around Aidan Willard and Chance Nolan, with maybe a slight edge being given to Nolan at the moment, but really, that’s all speculating and guessing since nothing is all that certain right now. Assuming Gulbranson does redshirt, junior Nick Moore would likely fill the fourth-string/emergency role, leaving Jackson Chryst as the final odd-man out in the quarterbacks room.

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if 2020 went like a modified version of the 2016 season, where Darell Garretson went into the season as the sure-fired starter, but other players (Conor Blount, Marcus McMaryion) got their chances due to subpar play, injuries, etc. and clouded the quarterback picture going forward. Jonathan Smith seems to like Gebbia and clearly he wanted him for a reason, but I wouldn’t etch anything into stone just yet for the Beavers.