With Caleb Williams returning to USC, Michael Penix Jr. returning to UW, and Cameron Rising returning to Utah, Oregon could have been in a fix if their own elite quarterback from 2022 hadn’t elected to don the green and yellow one final time.
Fortunately, he decided to do just that.
Bringing back one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Oregon should be an offensive powerhouse in 2023.
Of course, there have been other times when they were an offensive powerhouse…until they lost their starting QB.
Not everyone can have the fortune (or recruiting prowess) of 2014 Ohio State, who infamously clobbered Oregon in the National Championship game with their third string QB. So if Nix gets nicked, who steps up?
It’s a scary thought, but here’s the Ducks’ options:
RS Freshman Marcus Sanders - Sanders hails from Union City, CA. where Oregon brought him from as a 247 three-star recruit. Sanders played in only eight games his final year of high school, completing 96-of-158 passes for 1,218 yards and 13 touchdowns, leading James Logan to the league championship.
True Freshman Austin Novosad - after Dante Moore flipped from Oregon to UCLA, the Ducks were in need of a replacement blue chip signal caller and they got it with the commitment of Novosad, who hails from Dripping Springs, TX. Novosad is a consensus four-star recruit and is rated in the Top 100 players in the nation by both 247 and Rivals. Novosad was an All-American with a passer rating of 64.5 percent and has thrown for just shy of 9,000 yards with 114 touchdowns to 18 interceptions in his high school career. He has multiple touchdown passes in 27 of his 33 career games and has thrice thrown for seven touchdowns in a single game.
RS Sophomore Ty Thompson - Thompson came to Oregon with very high expectations as a five-star recruit and a Top 10 player nationally according to Rivals. He was the highest rated quarterback to ever sign with Oregon and was ranked in the Top five as both a dual-threat and pro-style quarterback. In his first game action for Oregon he looked legitimate, completing 6-of-9 passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns against Stony Brook. However, in his other two appearances in 2021 he compiled only five more yards passing and 10 yards rushing while also throwing an interception. In 2022 he saw the field more, appearing in seven games, but compiled only 72 yards passing on 11-of-20 completions with no touchdowns.
So there you have it. Behind Nix the Ducks have three more quarterbacks. The problem is that only one of them has ever seen the field during NCAA action, and his stats in those appearances are underwhelming for a five-star recruit. It could be that Thompson simply needs more game time to show what he’s really made of, and with Oregon facing a slew of overmatched opponents in 2023 he may well get some.
Novosad has pretty much all the accolades and tools you’d want coming out of high school. The issue is, he’s only ever played in high school.
All in all, we should all just hope that Nix stays healthy because if he has to sit out, Oregon is woefully inexperienced at the position, despite the talent levels.