Quarterback Morgan Mahalak didn't attempt a single pass for the Oregon Ducks in two years with the team, and he officially arrived at the decision to transfer on Tuesday.
Mahalak explained on Twitter his rationale for leaving Eugene:
Morgan Mahalak @MorganMahalak
https://t.co/5wXixfbOlW2/3/2016, 2:44:34 AM
On Wednesday, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said his meeting with Mahalak was "emotional" and that while he loved Oregon, he wanted to find playing time, per Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com.
The young signal-caller didn't specify his impending destination, but there's reason for other high-profile programs to be intrigued. He was a 4-star recruit who was the fifth-ranked dual-threat QB prospect from the class of 2014, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.
As Ryan Thorburn of the Register-Guard pointed out while reporting last month that Mahalak was considering a transfer, the young signal-caller succeeded Jared Goff at Marin Catholic High School in California before arriving at Oregon.
Familiar with taking over for a legend at the most important position on the field, Mahalak had a redshirt year to learn from Ducks Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and presumably set himself up for the starting job.
Unfortunately, that's not how everything unfolded. Vernon Adams Jr. took over for Mariota this past season, and Mahalak never took a snap in 2015. Helfrich explained the decision to keep Mahalak on the bench in October, per the Statesman Journal's Pete Martini:
The redshirt year, for some guys, they take great advantage of. We probably didn't do that as much as we possibly could in his case. And that's just reality, and we learn from it. And that happens at multiple positions. A couple guys, two or three guys every year, unfortunately. Again, the human nature. You know, the human being part of it.
So it appears Mahalak wasn't fully capitalizing on his opportunity to play in an offense that's become known for its explosiveness and uptempo tactics in recent years.
Unable to capitalize on his talent and pick up what's thought of as a QB-friendly system over the span of two seasons, Mahalak must make the proper move when he does make his transfer decision.
Chief among Mahalak's priorities should be to dismiss any concerns about a lackluster work ethic. He'll need to dig into the playbook as he attempts to learn a new offense to position himself for a shot at a starting spot, particularly if he goes to a football program of Oregon's caliber.
The unpromising start to his career in Eugene, coupled with the tremendous competition on the depth chart that figures to materialize in 2016, made it logical for Mahalak to move on. A fresh start is probably best for both sides.
Senior Jeff Lockie, graduate transfer Dakota Prukop and redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen figure to be in the mix for the Ducks' starting QB job.
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