Rob Moseley of The Register Guard reported late Monday night that Oregon quarterback Bryan Bennett is set to transfer. Moseley cites an unnamed team source, while Oregon 247Sport site DuckTerritory.com reports Bennett is bound for FCS Southeastern Louisiana.
Bennett saw action in 2011 while starter Darron Thomas was sidelined with injury, but redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota emerged in spring and summer workouts to wrest the job away before the 2012 campaign kicked off. Former Duck head coach Chip Kelly used both quarterbacks intermittently early in the season, but Bennett’s role diminished down the stretch.
He faced a logjam returning to Eugene for 2013, where offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich takes over as head coach for Kelly. The Ducks return several quarterbacks in addition to Mariota, among them highly touted 2012 signee Jake Rodrigues.
Bennett, a former four star recruit from Encino, Calif. would be immediately eligible at Southeastern Louisiana, per NCAA transfer rules for FBS athletes making the move to FCS. The Lions finished 5-6 for a second straight year under head coach Ron Roberts, who was hired in 2011 after a successful stint at Division II Delta State.
Bennett’s a capable rusher, evident in his 165 yards and six touchdowns on 39 carries this past season. Bennett would seemingly get an opportunity to rush in SELA offensive coordinator Greg Stevens’ system. Though the Lions struggled offensively in 2012 — their 18.8 points per game ranked No. 99 in the FCS — Stevens’ work with Delta State quarterback Micah Davis yielded 23 passing touchdowns and another 13 rushing in 2011. Delta State’s offense had more of a vertical base than Kelly’s spread at Oregon; Davis passed 512 times, nearly 140 more than Bennett and Mariota combined in 2012.