Over the last two weeks I have analyzed the two front-runners for the starting quarterback position at Oregon State University. Last week I took a look at the Beavers sophomore QB Tristan Gebbia. This week we will look at 6thyear Senior QB Jake Luton.
Luton is originally from Marysville, Washington and he played football at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. In high school he led his team to a conference championship, was a two-time all-area and all-conference selection and led his team to the championship game.
He began his college football career at the University of Idaho and started 8 games as a redshirt freshman. After spending two years with the Vandals, he transferred to Ventura College, where he was a JC All-American and set a record for passing yards in a season. After finding success at the JUCO level he got a Pac-12 offer and joined Oregon State.
This is going to be his third season playing for the Beavers.
He is a 6thyear senior who is chalk full of college football experience. This kind of experience is invaluable at the college level. He is a young man playing among boys and he has a really cool beard to prove it.
Even though he has had an injury riddled career during his time in Corvallis, he managed to put solid stats up in the 2018 season. Last season he passed for 10 TD’s, 4 int’s and over 15 hundred yards.
He even led a huge comeback win against the University of Colorado, breaking a 13-game Pac-12 losing streak for OSU. This was by far the most memorable moment for Beavs’ fans last year.
However, I believe that his biggest skill-set is his balance as a person. After last season ended, he all but thought his football career was over. He was faced with the reality of entering the real world and what to do next. Since the NFL was not a realistic option, he had to face life after football. This may have given him a new perspective on the game that carriers over to success on the field.
When watching interviews of him he has not changed as a person. At Ventura College he appeared calm, cool, and collected, and this is the same way he acts in interviews as a Beaver. This sort of calmness, balanced with the urgency of him realizing this is his last shot, could make him a very dangerous weapon come Saturdays.
But how does this translate to the football field?
Oregon State has had a rough stretch recently and in the upcoming 2019 season there are sure to be low moments. They need a leader who can stay calm and drive the ship when things start to sink. When OSU gets down by 14 against an opponent, a leader needs to emerge and this is where a strong head may be able to keep the ship afloat.
Instead of losing games by 30 points, maybe OSU will hang around a steal a couple of wins. This will only happen with a strong captain driving the ship. “I’m done with the Ship analogies.”
Bottom line is you’re not going to find a more experienced QB in the Pac-12 than him, and this could be the blessing that the Beavers have been waiting for.
Let’s just be honest for a second, from a football standpoint he has had an absolutely abysmal career. He only won 1 game last season, it doesn’t get much worse than that. This lack of success is not going to fly at many programs around the country.
Beyond that, many of the games he started turned into absolute blowouts. After the comeback win against Colorado, the Beavs’ pulled off an impressive string of results. They lost to USC by 17, Stanford by 31, UW by 21, and rival Oregon by 40 points. Even though these losses can be credited to the entire team, he’s the QB and some of the responsibility falls directly on his shoulders.
Furthermore, he has a high propensity to get injured. In the 2017 season, he took a vicious hit against Washington State which caused him to miss a significant amount of time. In 2018, he missed approximately half the season due to an ongoing ankle injury.
Look I understand football is a physical sport and injuries happen, but to be constantly injured, and rarely win is not a combination for success.
I know Beaver nation has great, understanding and loving fans, they’ve proved it by supporting him throughout his string of injuries. But the cold hard truth is the man is not getting the job done. Based off of last year’s performance he deserves to be in the announcer’s booth and not on the football field.
Speaking of the announcer’s booth, his profile picture on twitter is literally him sitting in a broadcast booth with a headset on. Behind that, his wallpaper is a picture of him playing QB. Could this be a metaphor for his playing days ending, and the beginnings of a new career?
I don’t know.
Or could this be a balanced man who is ready to take charge of a football team and write his own legacy?
From a winning standpoint, he has absolutely nothing to lose making him an extremely dangerous QB. He knows that his football career is realistically coming to an end. Maybe he has one last hurrah in him before he hangs up the saddles. (“Old Town Road” is stuck in my head)
We’ve seen a glimpse of what he can do in the Colorado game.
On the other hand, maybe he’s the guy who’s lost almost every single game he’s started at Oregon State. Maybe all the losing has taken a toll on him and he no longer believes in himself.
That’s the beauty of sports, we will all have to wait and see.
There are two viable options at QB next year for the Beavers, this is a good problem to have. I believe that this team will win more than two games next season regardless of who is running the show. The only question now is, will Head Coach Jonathan Smith start a Sophomore QB with zero college starts, or will he choose old reliable?