Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. has been offered a scholarship by the University of Oregon and will visit the school this weekend, he said Wednesday afternoon.
“They told me a lot of things I wanted to hear,” said Adams, the most valuable player in the Big Sky Conference and the owner of almost every major passing record at Eastern.
But for the most part, those accomplishments have taken place far from the limelight. That could change if he played for Oregon, a national power which played for the national championship this year.
Playing the Ducks would offer Adams “a shot at playing at a higher level every single week,” said Adams, who will fly to Eugene, Oregon, on Friday and return Sunday.
Adams, a redshirt junior, has only one year of eligibility, but is scheduled to graduate in June with a degree in recreation managment. He could play at any school which offers a graduate degree in that field.
Coincidentally, Eastern and Oregon will open the 2015 season against each other on Sept. 5.
“I’m not saying I’m leaving Eastern, but I’m just going to check it out and see what they have to say,” said Adams, who has caught the attention of pro scouts and rival colleges with his rare blend of arm strength, mobility and pocket presence.
In 2013, Adams led the Eagles to a 49-46 upset win at Oregon State; last year, he threw seven touchdown passes in a 59-52 loss at Washington.
In three years, Adams has thrown for 10,438 yards, 110 touchdowns and 31 interceptions, while helping EWU go 35-8 overall and 22-2 in the Big Sky. For the last two years, he has finished second in balloting for the Walter Payton award for the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Oregon’s interest in Adams surged two weeks ago, when Marcus Mariota, Oregon’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, announced his intention to declare for the NFL draft. Lacking an experienced replacement for Mariota, the Oregon coaching staff has cast about for other candidates.
Several names had surfaced, including those of Adams and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
Adams confirmed that late last week, he spoke with several Oregon coaches, including head coach Mark Helfrich.
Two factors might dissuade Adams from making the move to Oregon. First, he’s not guaranteed to play, let alone start, should he transfer. The returning Oregon quarterbacks know the Ducks’ offensive system, while Adams would not be able to participate in spring ball.
Adams trip will help him evaluate his chances, he said. “I’m not going there to be a walk-on or a second-stringer,” he said.
“But if I do go down there, I’m going to work my butt off,” Adams said.
Second, there’s unfinished business in Cheney, where for three straight years the Eagles have fallen short of a spot in the FCS title game.
The other reason is more personal: “Just the family I’ve made here and the people. I love it in Cheney,” Adams said.