Breaking down Oregon’s history of taking 2 QB recruits in a single cycle

The Oregon Ducks are doing something a bit different in the 2024 recruiting cycle. It’s not something that is unheard of, nor is it something that we’ve never seen take place in Eugene. But it is a methodology that you don’t see happen very much, but could see take place more going forward.

The Ducks have a pair of quarterbacks committed to the 2024 class — 4-star Michael Van Buren and 3-star Luke Moga.

Scroll to continue with content


Where does Michael Van Buren rank among highest-rated QB recruits in UO history?

Moga committed near the end of April ahead of the Ducks’ annual spring game, while Van Buren announced his commitment over the weekend. Oftentimes in college football, you see teams take a quarterback each year to keep the depth chart stacked with talent and hopefully maintain the development cycle going forward. However, taking a pair of QBs in the same cycle can complicate things a little bit.

Obviously, both players can’t play at the same time, so it immediately creates competition between the two going forward. Who will eventually become the starter, and what will the other player decide to do? Will he wait it out and try to gain the starting spot eventually, or will he opt to look elsewhere for a starting spot in the new era of the transfer portal?


It will be fascinating to watch how things play out between Van Buren and Moga in Eugene. To try and get a sense of what we might see, I went back and looked at the other times in UO history — since 2000 — that the Ducks have taken multiple QBs in a class.

Here’s what I learned from the five times it happened.

Class of 2003

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Quarterbacks Taken: 3

Brady Leaf (2005-07)

Career Stats: 36 Games | 168-for-309, 1,660 yards, 9 TD, 9 INT

Dennis Dixon (2004-07)

Career Stats: 40 Games | 444-for-695, 5,129 yards, 38 TD, 21 INT // 258 rushes, 1,208 yards, 12 TD

Johnny DuRocher (2005-06)

Transferred to Washington Huskies


Career Stats: 7 Games | 29-for-71, 291 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT

Analysis: I know I said in the intro that part of what makes the Luke Moga vs. Michael Van Buren situation interesting is the fact that they can’t play at the same time. Well, the first example of Oregon bringing in two QBs in the same class — Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf — proved that one wrong. The two passers often split time in games, though Dixon hands down had the better career. The Ducks also brought in Johnny DuRocher in the 2023 class, but he ended up transferring to Washington after a single redshirt season.

Class of 2006

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports


Quarterbacks Taken: 2

Nate Costa (2006-2010)

Career Stats: 23 Games | 50-for-71, 556 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Cody Kempt (2007)

Transferred to Montana State Bobcats

Career Stats: 3 Games | 6-for-26, 52 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT

Analysis: Not much came of either of these quarterbacks in an Oregon uniform, with Costa serving as a backup for Dennis Dixon before eventually suffering an injury in 2008 and losing the starting job to Jeremiah Masoli. Costa did go on to become an offensive analyst under Mario Cristobal years later. Cody Kemp redshirted for one season in 2006 and ended up transferring to Montana State in 2008.


Class of 2012

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks Taken: 2

Jeff Lockie (2013-2015)

Career Stats: 21 Games | 90-for-140, 844 yards, 6 TD, 5 INT

Jake Rodrigues (2013)

Transferred to San Diego State

Career Stats: 3-for-6, 67 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Analysis: We’re going to choose to remember the ‘Human Victory Cigar’ Jeff Lockie, rather than the ‘QB who gave up a 31-point lead to TCU in the 2nd half of the Alamo Bowl’ Jeff Lockie. After spending most of his years backing up both Marcus Mariota and Vernon Adams Jr., Lockie is etched in Oregon lore for multiple reasons. Contrarily, Jake Rodrigues is among the highest-rated QB commits in UO history, but he transferred to San Diego State after two years.


Class of 2016

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks Taken: 2

Justin Herbert (2016-2019)

Career Stats: 43 Games | 827-for-1,293, 10,541 yards, 95 TD, 23 INT

Terry Wilson (2016)

Transferred to Kentucky, then New Mexico

Career Stats: 31 Games | 439-for-694, 4,494 yards, 27 TD, 16 INT

Analysis: Justin Herbert went on to become one of the best QBs in Oregon history, while Terry Wilson never played a snap in Eugene. This feels like a near-perfect example of what you hope happens when taking 2 QBs in a recruiting class; one person wins the job, while the other decides to transfer to a new school and has a solid career for himself. Terry Wilson went on to play at Kentucky and New Mexico after leaving Eugene.


Class of 2020

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks Taken: 2

Jay Butterfield (2020-22)

Career Stats: 2 Games | 3-for-4, 23 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Transferred to San Jose State. 

Robby Ashford (2020-21)

Transferred to Auburn

Career Stats: 12 Games | 123-for-250, 1,613 yards, 7 TD, 7 INT

Analysis: Things didn’t quite work out for either of these QBs, with both of them ending up on new teams outside of Eugene. The arrival of transfer Anthony Brown relegated both to the bench in 2021, and once Ashford left for Auburn, the arrival of transfer Bo Nix kept Butterfield on the bench.

Class of 2024

Photo Courtesy of Michael Van Buren


Quarterbacks Taken: 2

Michael Van Buren

4-star Recruit: 0.9412

National Rank: 129

Position Rank: 11

Luke Moga

3-star Recruit: 0.8835

National Rank: 526

Position Rank: 33

Analysis: The addition of Van Buren and Moga will have interesting ramifications going forward. Projecting ahead, it’s easy to see Ty Thompson winning the QB1 job in 2024 after Bo Nix leaves, and it makes sense that Austin Novosad would push for the starting job in 2025 or 2026, then keep it for a couple of years if he wins it. On paper that looks good, but things rarely play out that way. Van Buren and Moga will be able to come in and try to compete for a spot on the depth chart starting next year, and they could be present going into the back-half of the decade. If we’ve learned anything from this exercise, though, one of them will likely end up transferring out after a year or two. Which one, however, is up for debate.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire