Oregon State Beavers Quarterback Battle, Part I – A Look At Tristan Gebbia

Over the next two weeks I will compare two different quarterbacks at Oregon State University. The two players who are competing for the starting job are Tristan Gebbia (JEB-ee-uh) and Jake Luton. This week we will take a look at Gebbia.


Gebbia is a sophomore QB who transferred in from the University of Nebraska. After sitting out last season, he is eligible to play the upcoming year for the Beavers.

While at Nebraska, he never actually started a game a quarterback. Nevertheless, he said that he enjoyed the situation the entire time he was there. He was planning on playing his whole career with the Cornhuskers, but then things changed.

Early in his career, the University of Nebraska made a head-coaching change, bringing in Scott Frost. Gebbia was intent on proving that he was the best QB to his new coach. All this effort proved to be ineffective at winning the starting job, he found himself riding the bench.

None of this mattered to him; he was still planning on finishing his college career in Lincoln. However, he decided that a change was necessary when he realized his style of play didn’t mesh with the new ball coach’s offensive scheme. Frost wanted a dual-threat QB.

He started to look for places to transfer and immediately had a connection to personnel in the Oregon State locker room. Jonathan Smith, while an offensive coordinator at the University of Washington recruited him out of high school. Smith is now the head coach of OSU. The young QB remembered the love and decided to become a Beaver

In high school, Gebbia transferred from to Calabasas in California. He made this transfer because he wanted to be closer to his friends, not to join a football powerhouse.

In fact, Calabasas was absolutely terrible before his arrival. At one point they had a losing streak of 53 consecutive league games. After he joined the team, they went 29-3 in his last two years. He threw for over 13,000 yards in his high school career.

He just transferred into another struggling team in the Beavs; does he have the potential to turn this program around as well?

The Good

First off, Smith called him a “football junkie.” Wherever he goes he impresses people with his knowledge of the game and his willingness to keep learning. This may be the most important trait for a young quarterback.

Let’s face it; the Beavs aren’t going to win the Pac-12 this year, but they do have the chance to stay in games and potentially win a couple of these games in the 4th quarter. Having a young QB who protects the ball in critical moments is often the difference between a 2-11 team and a 6-5 team.

If he protects the ball, OSU has a chance to surprise people around the conference.

Furthermore, he is touted as a pocket passer. This insinuates that he can make just about every throw on the football field.

I’ll dive into this aspect of his game later in the article.

The long ball, and his ability to make good decisions could make him a very dangerous quarterback.

Needs Improvement

He’s not a playmaker with his feet. In other words, he’s slow.

To further clarify, he’s a statue.

Want to know how I know? He said himself that he wasn’t slow. “I can use my legs a little more than people give me credit for. But for the most part, my best attribute is throwing from the pocket, he said.”

If you have the ability to do something well, there is no need to say it—you already feel and show that you can do it.

If you do have to say it out loud, there’s a good chance that you are probably trying to convince yourself or others.

Here’s a quick example from the NBA playoffs. Russell Westbrook talked ish to Damian Lillard the entire first round of the playoffs. How did that end up for Westbrook? The answer is a 4 to 1, 1st round playoff defeat and Lillard ending the series with arguably one of the greatest shots in NBA history. My Calabasas that was deep.

Ok, but back to the point, Gebbia’s slow.

Another thing that may hurt him this year is his lack of experience at the college level.

He has literally not started a football game in over two years. This may not affect him at all times, but it will rear its ugly head when playing elite Pac-12 defenses. This may not necessarily be a huge weakness, but zero starts at the college level cannot be considered a strength.

The Mysterious

His personality is very bland when speaking to the press.

But one thing is for sure; whenever Jake Luton’s name is brought up, he displays some sort of reaction. Luton is a sixth-year returning senior and is the other man competing for the Beavs’ starting QB position.  There is always a little involuntary twinge on the face of Gebbia when his teammate’s name is mentioned.

This could mean he’s annoyed by Luton’s return to the program, he thinks he’s better than him, or he just has a nervous tic. I’m not exactly sure what this means, but I have a feeling that Gebbia believes he’s the best QB on OSU’s roster and he’s ready to take the senior’s position.

Another mystery about his QB skills is his ability to throw the deep ball. Look, I know I said it was one of his strengths earlier, but just hear me out.

In the 2017 Nebraska spring game (or some year around that time) there were literally no highlights of him throwing a deep ball. The only two plays I saw where he threw the ball downfield resulted in a one-handed interception and a throw ten feet off the mark. These are not favorable outcomes.

On the other hand, in his high school days, the man could chuck the rock. In his Calabasas highlights, he was firing bombs all over the field. (Yes, I wanted to say Calabasas again). Some of these passes were absolute dimes. There were many highlights of him completing deep passes, which means this was not a one-time occurrence.

This can be quite confusing, but I’m going to take a leap of faith and say that his high school days are the real version of him. Plus, in the Nebraska spring game, he was playing with the second string, which never really stands a chance against the first unit.

If Gebbia can re-create his high school magic, the Beavers could have an extremely dangerous passing attack this year.


It’s going to be an intense competition for OSU’s starting QB spot.

He is a youngster with a lot of hype behind him. He was also a 4-star prospect coming out of high school; the Beavers program does not get many QB’s of this caliber.

But what do you think? Do you think he should be the starting quarterback next year? Or do you think he’s an overhyped transfer?

Either way, tune in next week for my profile on Jake Luton.

As I typed that, Gebbia’s faced twitched.

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About Nick Bartlett 212 Articles
My name is Nick Bartlett, and I am a Senior Writer at SuperWestSports.com as well as a Senior Writer here at OregonSportsNews. My work has been featured in the Seattle PI, OregonLive, and various other publications. I've also served as a guest on Sirius XM radio as a "Pac-12 Football Insider" For business inquiries, you can reach me at - Email: NB206wsu@gmail.com Phone Number: 425-366-9711