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Whether transfer Bo Nix, the frontrunner, wins the job, or Ty Thompson or Jay Butterfield earns it, Oregon has strong options

PMG PHOTO: RALEIGH EMERSON - Oregon football's Bo Nix, left, hands the ball off during the Ducks annual spring game April 23, 2022 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

This story is the fifth of six in a summer series breaking down Oregon football by position group leading up to the first official practices before the season.

Let's face it, the bar for Oregon Ducks quarterback is pretty darn high.

When you've cheered for Marcus Mariota, Justin Herbert, Dennis Dixon, Daron Thomas, Joey Harrington, Bill Musgrave, Chris Miller — and, if you're old enough, Dan Fouts, Bob Berry and Norm Van Brocklin — whoever comes next has a challenge to impress. It's that history, and the misfortune of following Herbert, that made mostly solid play from Anthony Brown Jr. seem pedestrian.

Next in line, it appears, is Bo Nix.

Sure, Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield figure to be given their chance during the first fall camp under coach Dan Lanning. But the transfer from Auburn has a leg up in the competition.

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His advantage is three years of experience playing quarterback in the SEC. Granted, he was inconsistent, at times for the Tigers. But he was a team captain at Auburn. He was the SEC's freshman of the year in 2019.

Duck fans might not remember Nix as a heralded recruit who set Alabama high school records with more than 12,000 yards of total offense and 161 touchdowns while winning a pair of state titles. They will remember Nix's first college game, when he led the come-from-behind drive and threw a winning TD pass with nine seconds left to beat Oregon in August 2019.

On the watch list for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award, Nix was the most productive quarterback during Oregon's spring game, throwing for 230 yards and three touchdowns and producing several big plays starting with his first throw for a 70-yard touchdown to Seven McGee.

Thompson has yet to make the impact to match his ranking as a top-10 QB in the 2021 recruiting class. But, the 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman drew rave reviews for his play this summer at the star-studded Manning Passing Academy and his big frame and strong arm make Thompson an intriguing prospect. As a true freshman he was behind a player in his sixth college season in Brown. It will be interesting to watch how the pro-style thrower competes with the more experienced Nix.

PMG PHOTO: RALEIGH EMERSON - Oregon football's Ty Thompson attempts a pass during the Ducks annual spring game April 23, 2022 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

A third-year freshman, the 6-6 Butterfield might be the darkhorse of the competition. But, the pro-style thrower also has flashed a big, accurate arm in both the 2022 and the 2021 spring games.

RELATED STORY: Oregon football has plenty of young talent at the offensive skill positions ready to make a mark

Whoever the quarterback is, it's expected he will spread the ball around to Oregon's plethora of skill position players. It's also anticipated that under Lanning and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham that the Ducks will push the ball down field more often than they did under Mario Cristobal.

With consensus 2023 five-star quarterback Dante Moore verbally committed to Oregon, the competition at the position figures to be intense going forward. Bottom line, there is talent here. It's up to offensive coordinator Dillingham — who coached Nix in his freshman year at Auburn — to make the most of it.

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