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Oregon Loses Chris Harper To Transfer; Is It Time To Worry?

EUGENE, OR - AUGUST 30:  Quarterback Chris Harper #3 of the Oregon Ducks is tackled by Mesphin Forrester #23 and Trenton Tuiasosopo #57 of the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on August 30, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Fletcher JohnsonCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009

After one interesting season in Eugene, quarterback turned wide receiver Chris Harper has informed head coach Chip Kelly that he will transfer.  The Wichita native has requested that his release be forwarded to Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Kansas State.  

This should come as no surprise to Duck fans who have their hand on the pulse of the program.  It was well-known that Harper was homesick and had thoughts of transferring to a place closer to home.

In my opinion this was sealed by two things: Harper coming to the realization that he would have never played quarterback for the Ducks and recruit Bryce Brown's commitment to Tennessee.  

After Harper was given the reigns in the Boise State game last fall, fans and coaches alike became aware that he would require a large amount of work to become a starting quarterback at Oregon.  He originally came to Oregon because they were going to give him the opportunity to play quarterback, something other schools weren't interested in.  Brown, also a Wichita native, had Harper as his main player contact inside the Duck football team.

Something else that could be playing a factor here is Harper's ability or inability to comprehend the offense.  Being from the east coast, Kelly might have less patience than former coach Mike Bellotti would have.  It was clear that Harper was struggling with the offense in the middle of the season, and with already having used a season of eligibility at the wide receiver position, Harper may have thought that his chance at playing quarterback had gone by the wayside. 

The bigger question for Duck fans is whether players transferring is becoming an epidemic.  This is the third high-profile player to transfer from the school in as many weeks.  But, like any school that goes through a coaching change, it is not unreasonable to assume that there will be some turnover in the roster at the beginning of the new coaches tenure.

The main problem with the way these transfers are occurring is the fact that these players want to be closer to home.  In the past few years, Oregon has gained more of a national name and have been looking to improve their recruiting of players off the east coast.  It is understandable that players get homesick being so far away from home, which will always be a concern for the Ducks.

Finally, players and programs that are on the high-profile level tend to be less patient if they are not in the position they want to be in.  Harper had to play quarterback wherever he went and that obviously was not going to happen with the development of Jeremiah Masoli.

Don't fret Duck fans, the team is alright.  As all Duck fans should, I wish Harper, Justin Roper, and Aaron Pflugrad the best of luck in whatever school they transfer to and hope they accomplish their goals. 

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