This spring there were very few story lines as well publicized than the Quarterback battle at Oregon State. What started out as a seven headed monster with, what many believed, a clear favorite in Luke Del Rio ended in a battle between Nick Mitchell and Seth Collins for the starting role, the transfer of Del Rio and position changes for Brent VanderVeen (who we will write about shortly) and Tanner Sanders.
A name that largely went unnoticed, or even unmentioned, for most of the winter and spring was Marcus McMaryion. The Redshirt-Freshman from Dinuba, California was an interesting prospect when initially brought in by Mike Riley. While he thought of himself as a passer who can run, his speed was not something to be ignored. Marcus threw for over 6,000 yards in High School, and as a Junior, went 11 games as a starter before throwing his first interception.
Ultimately, Marcus was the odd man out at the end of the Andersen era, to the point that some inside the program thought he should transfer. Fortunately for OSU, Marcus stayed and worked hard under new coach Gary Andersen, offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin and reigning National Quarterback Coach of the Year Kevin McGiven. A noted hard worker with a lot of drive, Marcus continued to grind and continued to improve. While not the tallest QB, he has a quick release, a strong arm and is extremely athletic.
The reality is, for Oregon State fans, the days of one guy playing every game may be over. Utah State had to be successful with four quarterbacks and as we have seen, you are better off having a Canfield and Moevao situation where you have two Pac-12 caliber quarterbacks, than you are having one player that is infinitely better than everyone else so their need to be ready every week is literally what your season hinges on (see the 2013 ducks).
The new Beaver offense will rely on more physical play by the QB’s and the ability to run option as well as sit in the pocket. Marcus showed the ability to do both in the spring game and really made the most of his hard work. I don’t know if he will start, Nick and Seth did some pretty great things this spring, but I do know that Oregon State should be very excited about Marcus and what he brings to the team. He is a great athlete, a hard worker and is someone that I am confident could win some games for OSU if he is asked to.
This year will be more than exciting and there are a heck of a lot of things to be nervous and anxious about. The season cannot get here fast enough – Go Beavers!