Braxton Burmeister, Oregon’s backup quarterback the past two seasons, is looking for a fresh start.
The sophomore from San Diego, with the help from a graphics company, announced Friday that he is exploring a transfer.
Burmeister endured a rocky five-week run in the spotlight during Willie Taggart’s one-and-done season and saved his redshirt during Mario Cristobal’s first season.
During mop-up duty in 2018, Burmeister was 5-for-10 passing for 43 yards in four appearances. He took the snaps during the second half of the Ducks’ blowout win over Oregon State after Justin Herbert suffered a shoulder injury in the regular-season finale.
Oregon went 1-4 over Burmeister’s five starts in 2017 when Herbert was recovering from a fractured collarbone. He was just 44-for-77 passing with two touchdowns and six interceptions during a brutal stretch of games that includes losses to No. 11 Washington State, No. 23 Stanford and No. 12 Washington.
“No one really saw how much it hurt him last year,” left guard Shane Lemieux said after this year’s Civil War of the criticism Burmeister received during the team’s nosedive without Herbert the year before. “That’s a really unfortunate situation to go in as a freshman. I couldn’t even imagine how much he had to step up. This offseason he’s really just developed as a leader and a football player.”
Herbert’s decision to play his senior season at Oregon instead of entering the NFL draft gives the program a superstar at the sport’s most important position.
But Burmeister’s departure puts a dent in the depth offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo will have to work with this spring.
Herbert’s two remaining backups, redshirt freshmen Tyler Shough and true freshman Cale Millen, have never attempted a pass in college.
After watching Terry Wilson and Travis Jonsen transfer during the spring of 2017, Cristobal went out of is way to praise Burmeister throughout the season.
However, Shough was the first quarterback off the bench when Herbert was injured in the second quarter in Corvallis. At halftime the staff decided to finish off the Beavers with the more experienced signal-caller, Burmeister, on the field.
“He was thrown to the wolves now, that’s a tough situation,” Cristobal said before the UCLA game when Burmeister was getting some first-team snaps in practice with Herbert in concussion protocol. “He’s got a lot of confidence. It shows the way he’s practicing. He’s done a really good job, and so has Tyler (Shough).”
Burmeister was originally committed to Arizona coming out of La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day, where he passed for 4,448 yards and 53 touchdowns as a senior, before being flipped by Taggart and his staff. The dual-threat prospect was mentored by former Oregon great Akili Smith in high school.
“I felt I could handle it, but it was definitely a tough situation,” Burmeister said last spring of his baptism by fire as a freshman. “I’m grateful I got to learn and get better every game.”