Being a backup quarterback can be tough. Having to compete to be the first backup is even tougher. On Monday, Jake Rodrigues said he is leaving the Oregon football program and will look to transfer.
In 2012, Rodrigues was a 4-star recruit out of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif. As a senior, Rodrigues led his team to the Capital Athletic League Championship, throwing for 2,036 yards and 26 touchdowns. Rodrigues also ran for 684 yards and 15 touchdowns. In his junior year, he ran for 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns, so its no surprise that he appeared to be a good fit for Oregon's system as a dual threat quarterback.
Last season, Rodrigues played in seven games, going 3-for-6 for 67 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. His one career touchdown pass came in Oregon's season opener against Nicholls State, a 66-3 blowout win by the Ducks. Rodrigues had a brief, but successful day against Nicholls State, completing 2-of-2 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown, and also had a 28-yard run.
After passing on declaring for the NFL Draft (where the Texans revealed they would have "absolutely" taken him first overall), it appears as if Marcus Mariota is here to stay for the rest of his collegiate career, which leaves Rodrigues in a situation of being the No. 2 guy at best. As spring practices have wrapped up, it doesn't appear as if the Ducks have, or ever will settle on a true backup to Mariota between Rodrigues and sophomore Jeff Lockie.
And so, as a result, Rodrigues met with Mark Helfrich on Monday morning, informing Helfrich of his decision to leave. Rodrigues told Comcast SportsNet Northwest that it had nothing to do with how he was treated (or the rain), but simply because "football wasn't working out here."
A big storyline of Oregon's spring game season was the backups, but afterwards, there still appeared to be no separation between Rodigues and Lockie. Rodrigues went 7-for-18 for 66 yards with one interception and 42 rushing yards, while Lockie went 7-for-12 for 121 yards and one touchdown. The numbers favor Lockie, but the spring game is nothing but a glorified practice, so we can't base any judgement off of just one scrimmage.
If Rodrigues transfers to another FBS program, he will have to sit out next season, having two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2015 season. Should he transfer to an FCS program, like Bryan Bennett did last season, he would be eligible to play this season.
With Rodrigues gone, the Ducks now have Lockie, redshirt freshman Damion Hobbs, local walk-on redshirt freshman Taylor Allie and Morgan Mahalak, an incoming freshman and 4-star recruit. Lockie will most likely be as close to a true backup as the Ducks will have, but we should definitely see some playing time from Hobbs and perhaps even Allie. Oregon will open the season against South Dakota on August 30 at Autzen Stadium, so we should get a good look at the backup quarterback situation on that day if all goes according to plan for the Ducks. Because the week after, Oregon will need everything that Marcus Mariota has in his arsenal when Michigan State comes to town.