Oregon Football: Is Anthony Brown truly the best option for QB1?

Despite not playing much in 2020 and hinting at moving on after the season, Anthony Brown decided to return to Oregon football this spring.

When Anthony Brown decided to transfer to Oregon from Boston College last offseason, it was met with a lot of question marks.

Would he be able to beat out Tyler Shough who had been waiting in the wings behind Justin Herbert? Would it even make sense to add Brown to the quarterback room when QB1 looks decided? How would this affect Shough’s morale?

Those questions have slowly been answered and it seems like Brown was fine with being the backup because he finally got his opportunity to shine in the Pac-12 title game and Fiesta Bowl.

Brown’s emergence led to Shough’s departure this offseason and subsequent transfer to Texas Tech where he should be able to win the starting job.

And it looked like Brown was set to move on following the season but he announced on Instagram that he would be returning for one more year in Eugene.

But is he truly the best option to start at quarterback in 2021 after completing just 15-of-23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the final two games of the year? He had very little opportunity to prove himself to Oregon fans, but he showed some flashes in those final two games on big stages. He looked like someone who didn’t shy away from the spotlight.

That’s what Mario Cristobal needs in Eugene with a potential College Football Playoff-caliber roster in 2021.

However, it’s tough to say he’s going to be the best option, especially with Jay Butterfield, a former four-star from the 2020 class, entering his second year and the talented Ty Thompson coming in.

Thompson — the No. 39 prospect and fourth-best quarterback in the 2021 class — might actually be the most talented of the bunch. He also has decent size at 6-4 and 215 pounds to go along with his strong, accurate arm. Starting a true freshman on a playoff-caliber squad is a scary move for a head coach, but it’s paid off in the past (Alabama, Clemson).

Butterfield has had a year to learn the system and the former top-150 recruit also has great size at 6-foot-6 and just over 200 pounds.

If Oregon wants to have the most success, I think Thompson might be the way to go, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a combo of Butterfield and Brown to start the season. Don’t be surprised if the true freshman takes the reins by the end of October.

Brown is a decent quarterback, but the ceiling is limited with him as opposed to Thompson.