Two of the best college quarterback battles during this offseason will be happening on the campuses of the two teams that faced off in the national title game -- Ohio State and Oregon.
Though the Buckeyes' Braxton Miller-J.T. Barrett-Cardale Jones saga has gained plenty of attention (and rightfully so), the Ducks' QB battle picked up a bit of steam on Monday when it was announced that Eastern Washington's Vernon Adams would be transferring to Oregon.
But because Adams won't be able to participate in spring practices -- the Ducks will play their spring game on May 2, while Eastern Washington's final day of spring classes isn't until June 12 -- Oregon now has two quarterback battles on its hands:
To find the top dog among the current quarterbacks on the roster this spring and summer; and
The top dog vs. Adams competition in the fall.
For the other five quarterbacks on the roster, adding Adams amps up spring practices -- even if one player secures the starting spot in the spring game, the battle has barely begun.
Oregon's offense isn't a plug-and-play scheme, and replacing Marcus Mariota is a task that will be considered a success even if it's only partly accomplished. The fact that Adams has already experienced success at the college level makes him an instant front-runner for the job, and the other five players likely understand that.
From an experience perspective, Adam's biggest competition will be Jeff Lockie, who has been Mariota's backup the past two seasons. In 2014, Lockie attempted just 28 passes.
By comparison, Adams attempted 380 passes this past season. Yes, those passes were attempted at the FCS level, but the experience Adams gained at Eastern Washington -- even if the competition level isn't the same -- is certainly a huge boost in the “Adams for starter” category.
Lockie attempted eight passes against Pac-12 opponents. He completed four of them for a total of 22 yards and no touchdowns. When Adams played Washington this season, he completed 31 of 46 passes for 475 yards and seven touchdowns.
Of that group, Mahalak, a freshman, likely will be the other big competitor (Waller, unless he has a ridiculous spring performance, probably will redshirt), but he doesn't have college playing experience.
Though Adams doesn't boast the same kind of dual-threat capabilities of Mariota (and to be fair, no one on this roster does), he has shown that his feet can be a weapon. Adams rushed for only 285 yards last season on 100 carries, but he tallied six rushing touchdowns. The season before, he registered 605 rushing yards.
But even a hint of rushing talent should be enough to keep defenses honest against the Ducks.
It seems pretty likely that Oregon could have two QB battles brewing during the next seven months.
But Adams isn't without shortcomings. First, he can't get to campus until June. That puts him at a disadvantage when it comes to gaining chemistry with receivers. Considering the other four players will be able to gain that this winter and spring (Waller will be there only in the spring), that puts Adams in a bit of a time crunch.
Also, Adams is on the smaller end. At 6-foot, he'll be the shortest QB competing for the job. His height seems to be one of the main reasons why he didn't get a lot of recruiting attention, but he still excelled at the FCS level.
Can he overcome that hump again and excel at the FBS level?
Only time will tell, and that's what Adams has working against him.
But for those who thought Ohio State would have the best quarterback battle brewing heading into the 2015 season, the national runner-up is proving to have a pretty good battle (or two) of its own.