Herbert: "I’m going to do everything I can to be the best quarterback I can be and do everything I can for the city of Los Angeles."
Justin Herbert is staying on the West Coast.
Oregon’s star quarterback, who led the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory in his final collegiate game, also will begin his professional career in Los Angeles.
Herbert was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers with the sixth pick in Thursday’s NFL draft.
"Words can’t describe how excited and thrilled and fired up I am for this opportunity," Herbert said on a Zoom video call with members of the media. "To be able to spend it in Eugene with my family … it’s years of hard work.
"I’m going to do everything I can to be the best quarterback I can be and do everything I can for the city of Los Angeles."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the pick from his home in New York while Herbert, a three-sport star during his Sheldon High days, participated in the draft from his childhood home in Eugene.
The draft was originally scheduled to be held in front of an estimated crowd of 600,000 in Las Vegas before the COVID-19 health crisis forced the event to be conducted virtually.
GOT OUR GUY pic.twitter.com/m7uOHvPnyG— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) April 24, 2020
Herbert is the sixth Oregon quarterback picked in the first round, joining Marcus Mariota (2015, Tennessee), Joey Harrington (2002, Detroit), Akili Smith (1999, Cincinnati), Chris Miller (1987, Atlanta) and George Shaw (1955, Baltimore).
Herbert decided to return for his senior season after being projected as a first-round draft pick in 2018.
"There was never any question about my decision," Herbert said. "I knew I made the right one. To be able to finish this past year off with this group of seniors, to win the Rose Bowl and to be where we are today, it is validation."
Dan Fouts, another former Oregon quarterback, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 after the third-round pick put up prolific passing statistics with the San Diego Chargers from 1973-87.
Herbert’s grandfather, former Oregon wide receiver Rich Schwab, died before his senior season when he led the program to a 12-2 record, the Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl victory. His younger brother Patrick was a freshman tight end on the 2019 Ducks.
"Congratulations for a terrific career as quarterback for our Ducks," Fouts said in a video posted by Oregon’s Twitter account. "Heck, you beat the Beavers again, you beat the Huskies again, you got Utah in the Pac-12 championship game and your performance in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin was awesome.
"I know you had a great career as the Duck quarterback, but now it’s on to the next level, the NFL. … I know you’ll make your grandpa and my friend (Schwab) very proud."
A QB legacy.#GoDucks | #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/UFb5Rl5GFR— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) April 24, 2020
The 6-foot-6, 236-pound Herbert was the third quarterback selected with LSU’s Joe Burrow going No. 1 overall to Cincinnati and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa going No. 5 to Miami.
The Chargers won’t have to start Herbert immediately with veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor penciled in as the starter. Los Angeles is scheduled to move into the new $5 billion SoFi Stadium this season.
Philip Rivers has signed with Indianapolis as a free agent after 16 seasons with the Chargers.
"I’m thrilled and excited and can’t wait to get down there to work," Herbert said.
Herbert, a four-year starter for the Ducks, finished his collegiate career with 10,541 passing yards with 95 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
Only Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, has more passing yards (10,796) and touchdown passes (105) in school history.
During Oregon’s 28-27 victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Herbert ran for three touchdowns, including the 30-yard game-winner in the fourth quarter, to earn most valuable player honors.
Herbert was a three-time academic all-American at Oregon and was the 2019 Campbell Trophy recipient as the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. He finished his general science degree with a 4.01 grade-point average.
"Obviously, being on the West Coast and a Pac-12 player, he’s someone that we’ve had a lot of exposure to especially being a four-year starter," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. "We’ve seen a lot of him. We like his skills, like his traits, like his makeup."
Several of Herbert’s teammates are also expected to be drafted on Friday or Saturday, including linebacker Troy Dye (projected fourth/fifth round), offensive lineman Shane Lemieux (fourth/fifth) and wide receiver Juwan Johnson (sixth).
Offensive linemen Calvin Throckmorton (seventh) and Jake Hanson (seventh/undrafted) and tight end Jacob Breeland (undrafted) could also hear their names called.
Contact reporter Ryan Thorburn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-338-2330, and follow him on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn and Instagram @rg_ducksports. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.