Inside Slant: Vernon Adams to make biggest impact of transfers


There's just too much about Vernon Adams' transfer to Oregon that sets up well for him and the Ducks to come to any other conclusion than this: When the former Eastern Washington star passed a math test last week that was required to finalize his UO enrollment, the Ducks added the most impactful transfer in college football.

Over FSU's Everett Golson, over Louisville's Devonte Fields, over any player in the country putting on a different uniform as a transfer this fall.

Replacing Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota is the single most important hole Oregon's coaching staff must fill if the Ducks are to win the Pac-12 again and reach the College Football Playoff for a second year in a row. More important than the dizzying numbers Adams compiled at EWU (10,000-plus passing yards in three years, and 55 TD passes in 2013 alone) is the fact that he did it in a no-huddle offense that spreads the field with plenty of receivers.

Sound familiar, Ducks fans?

It's no wonder Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost suggested Tuesday that Adams' transition to the UO offense is going smoothly. He's dealing with some new terminology and nuances, to be sure, but he's not trying to learn a foreign language here. Head coach Mark Helfrich hasn't yet selected a starter at quarterback, but it's likely just a matter of time before he chooses Adams.

Check the transition box.

As for the stiffer competition he'll face in the Pac-12, that's not to be undersold. Adams could get a mouthful of Spartan Stadium turf on Sept. 12, courtesy of a Michigan State defense that will be tougher than any he's ever faced. But it's not as though he's completely unproven against FBS competition. He shredded a Washington defense that featured three 2015 first-round picks last year (Danny Shelton, Shaq Thompson and Marcus Peters) for 475 passing yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

And he did that with FCS-level help around him.

Check the competition box, but do it in pencil.

You want weapons?

Adams would have a Heisman candidate behind him in running back Royce Freeman, and he'd be flanked by a wildly talented corps of receivers, including Byron Marshall, Devon Allen, Bralon Addison and others. It's not an offense that needs Adams to be its engine; he only needs to not steer it into the ditch.

Check the weapons box.

There is no shortage of talented transfers that will debut this fall, and as the former quarterback at Notre Dame, none are higher-profile than Golson. FSU's hopes of returning to the playoff could ultimately depend on Golson as Oregon's hopes are pinned to Adams. Golson isn't exactly coming off a season of confidence, though, after a rash of turnovers last season led to transfer rumors in the first place. Coach Jimbo Fisher's patience with another spate of Golson turnovers would be razor-thin. It might not happen -- Golson could be just the post-Jameis Winston tonic FSU needs.

But for the transfer that could truly explode for a championship contender, check the Adams box.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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