Helfrich: Back-up Quarterbacks
EUGENE – Oregon backup quarterback Jake Rodrigues is leaving the Ducks football program and will seek to transfer to another university, the redshirt sophomore told CSNNW.com today.
Rodrigues had been competing for the backup quarterback position behind Marcus Mariota for the past year and hoped to be named the No. 2 quarterback after spring practices concluded May 3.
But the competition remains up in the air with fellow sophomore Jeff Lockie heading into the summer.
Rodrigues made his decision to leave Oregon after meeting with coach Mark Helfrich Monday morning.
“Football wasn’t working out here and that is why I am leaving,” Rodrigues said. “I am not leaving because of how people treated me, or how much it rains here. I am leaving simply based on this football decision.”
Oregon has given Rodrigues the clearance to transfer anywhere he likes. Should he attend another FBS program, Rodrigues would have to sit out the 2014 season and then have two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2015. Should he transfer to an FCS program, he would have three years of eligibility remaining.
“After this spring I fell in love with football all over again, like I was 12 years old putting on my pads and smelling the grass for the first time,” said Rodrigues, who suffered a broken fibula his senior year in high school that hurt his early progress at Oregon. “It’s driven me to become something great. I am going to work my butt off at football until someone tells me I can’t anymore.”
In the Oregon spring game, Rodrigues completed 7-of-18 passes for 66 yards with one interception and rushed for 42 yards. Lockie completed 7-of-12 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.
When asked to comment on the performance of the backup quarterbacks, Helfrich said, “Meh.”
Helfrich did not distinguish a separation at the position after the game.
Rodrigues was a four-star recruit in 2012 coming out of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif. He suffered a broken ankle and fibula his senior year of high school and has gone through various surgeries since. This spring was the healthiest Rodrigues had been since arriving at Oregon in the winter of 2012.
Playing behind Mariota, a likely 2014 Heisman Trophy candidate, did not allow for much playing time for Rodrigues.
“It might be hard being behind Marcus, but it might have been the best thing that ever happened to me,” Rodrigues said. “In my opinion he is the number one quarterback in the nation right now. I guarantee he will be the first pick in the NFL draft next year. I learned so much and my quarterback game grew tremendously behind him.”
Rodrigues had upwards of 30 family members cheering him on at the spring game, including his fiancé and three-year-old son.
After the game at their hotel, the Rodrigues clan was invited to join a roller derby party, complete with strobe lights and a deejay. They danced the night away, well knowing that this could be their final trip to Oregon.
Not all 30 fans were technically blood related, but Rodrigues believes family “doesn’t have to be blood to be real”.
He also said that about his Oregon teammates, or Duck family.
“I am going to miss my family at University of Oregon the most,” Rodrigues said. “The brothers that I created, that is something that will never go away. But family lasts forever, and I know that no matter where I go they will always be my family.”
Rodrigues plans on having a few of his “brothers” in his upcoming wedding.
Remaining on the depth chart at quarterback behind Mariota are Lockie, redshirt freshman Damion Hobbs, walk-on redshirt freshman Taylor Allie, and incoming freshman Morgan Mahalak, a four-star recruit.