Adams Jr. leaving for University of Oregon

Star football player will face off against EWU in first game of the 2015 season

By Sam Deal, Sports Editor

EWU’s football team and Vernon Adams Jr. have known for months they would be facing new and daunting challenges at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, on Sept. 6 when the Ducks will host the Eagles.

The matchup took a dramatic turn when Adams announced Monday, via his Instagram, that he will be transferring to the University of Oregon. A little more than a week after visiting Eugene, Adams’ announcement means he will be facing off against his former team in his first game as a member of the Ducks.
Because of the NCAA fifth-year transfer rule, Adams will be eligible to join the reigning Pac-12 champion Ducks this spring after he graduates with a degree in recreation management and enrolls in graduate classes at UO.

“Those are the rules we play by right now, and it certainly put us in an interesting situation,” said EWU athletic director Bill Chaves. “When you have student-athletes succeed at high level, I guess we will take this every day.”
Adams has not been guaranteed the starting spot for UO but is now the favorite to replace 2014 Heisman trophy-winner Marcus Mariota.

“I’m happy for Vernon,” said EWU redshirt sophomore quarterback Jordan West. “It is quite the opportunity that he has been presented with. I know he is going to do big things.”

The transfer is rare territory because very few players have attempted the leap from Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

“There are times, where as a coach, yeah, it frustrates you,” said head coach Beau Baldwin. “This is a guy that we recruited. This is a guy that we developed and during that three to four years, obviously Oregon doesn’t feel like they’ve recruited and developed a guy to that same level that we did here in Cheney, Washington. So I’ll be honest with you, that can be kind of frustrating.”

The Pasadena, California, native received two scholarship offers before choosing EWU and leading the Eagles to a record of 28-7 in games, which he played.

Adams will finish his EWU career with 10,438 yards, 110 touchdowns and a two-time runner-up for the Walter Payton Award.

“What he has accomplished in three seasons, many more would like to accomplish in six [seasons],” said Chaves. “But we’ll move on, as I’ve said to a number of our peers, as I was at the NCAA meetings last week, amazingly we will play 11 on 11, and we will play with a quarterback.”

Adams previously had success against UO Pac-12 rivals Oregon State and the University of Washington, combining for over 1,000 total yards and 13 total touchdowns, defeating OSU in 2013 and narrowly losing to UW in 2014.

After missing four games this season, Adams came back to lead the Eagles in two wins over the University of Montana and a loss against Illinois State University in the FCS quarterfinals.

During his absence, West led the Eagles to a 3-1 record, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and just one interception.

“Those four games were monumental for me,” said West. “Just the way the game flowed from the first game to the fourth game was a big difference for me.”
West is the only quarterback on the EWU roster with game experience.
Baldwin said the competition for next year’s starter would be open, but West will be the number one guy on day one of spring ball.

“The things Jordan did in four games are as good, if not better, than some All-American [quarterbacks] I’ve had, in their first four starts,” said Baldwin. “But at the same token, you just got to know this [competition] is going to be a dogfight, and he knows that.”

The teams will have an added sense of familiarity when they face off, which will make September’s matchup that much more interesting.
“I’m sure it will change the dynamic,” said West. “Either way, if [Adams] would have stayed, Oregon would have been gunning for him, and now he left so we are going to be gunning for him. He is going to have some knowledge of our players, so we may have to change up some stuff, possibly.”