Last week Eastern Washington Eagles quarterback Vernon Adams announced he would be playing football his senior year at the University of Oregon.
Best known for his success against BCS teams, Adams once lit up Oregon State for 518 total yards—a Reser Stadium record.
His success against quality teams, with fewer weapons around him, started to gain Adams attention. And after Marcus Mariota’s decision to forgo his senior season to declare for the NFL draft, it made sense for Adams to transfer to Oregon.
But before all the big games, before the transfer news and even before his first college game, Adams was a verbal commit to Portland State.
“We went through the process, and he had already taken his trip to Eastern,” said Vikings former head coach Nigel Burton. “He came to our place, and let us know that he wanted to come [play at Portland State]. It was a really good conversation and we were happy.”
On national signing day, things went different from expected for Burton and his coaching staff. Adams signed his letter of intent to go to Eastern Washington. Adams changed his mind.
“It was not the first time that’s ever happened on signing day in my career,” Burton said. “Obviously you’re disappointed. And it made the day a lot more interesting than we were hoping, but in the grand scheme of things, you never know what would have happened had he come.”
PSU and Eastern Washington were two schools that did not miss out on Adams’ talent, cultivated during his high school career in southern California. That talent now finds him in the quarterback race at a national-championship contending Pac-12 school.
“There’s a lot of great, great players out there,” Burton said.
So what happened that made Adams change his mind and go to PSU Dam Cup rival Eastern Washington? In the complicated business of recruiting, a number of different factors play into the decisions being made. But between Adams and PSU, one of the deciding factors may have been communication.
“The thought was put in his mind that maybe he wasn’t going to get to play quarterback at [PSU],” Burton said. “Or that he wasn’t a priority. That wasn’t true. In the end, it worked out for him. And things usually do, the way I believe. It kinda is what it is.”
Adams went on to play three years at Eastern Washington where he totaled over 10,000 yards in the air and over 1,000 on the ground. He won three straight Big Sky championships and broke records in multiple road Pac-12 arenas.
How did recruiting go this year for PSU? The Vikings have 13 2015 recruits, including some local talents at the quarterback position. One of the most notable is Johnathan Boland, who played high school football at Parkrose.
For Adams, getting his degree at Eastern Washington is necessary for his transfer to Oregon. In his time at Eastern Washington, Adams will be unable to work with the football team, as he will not be a part of the football team next year. After his degree, Adams will be in a fight for the starting position.