Scott Haynes - FBS Senior Editor Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For the last couple of months, all the talk in football circles has revolved around the NFL Draft.
The last two Heisman Trophy winners have monopolized the conversation, as Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are likely to be selected back-to-back to kick off this year's draft Thursday night.
Winston and Mariota both left the college ranks with eligibility remaining and seem to be ready talent-wise for the next level.
So, where does that leave Florida State and Oregon?
Winston went a remarkable 26-1 in his two-year career, won the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and led the Seminoles to the national title. In 2014, he led the 'Noles to a spot in the first-ever FBS Playoffs before bowing to Mariota and the Ducks in the Rose Bowl, a national semifinal.
With Winston moving on, the names in Tallahassee aren't likely to put fear in opposing defensive coordinators, at least not right away.
Redshirt junior Sean Maguire sits atop the depth chart after the spring, but it is a fluid situation and youngsters like sophomore John Franklin III and freshmen J.J. Cosentino, Deondre Francois and De'Andre Johnson could all supplant Maguire and begin the 2015 season as the starter.
In the spring's Garnet and Gold Game, Maguire didn't exactly put a stranglehold on the position. He completed 22-of-44 passes for 289 yards and a pair of interceptions. By comparison, Cosentino and Johnson lit up the Garnett's second-team defense to the tune of a combined 332 yards and three touchdowns.
Jimbo Fisher didn't see enough from Maguire to anoint him the starter following the spring game.
"I'm not unhappy with Sean at all," Fisher said. "He has some work to do, but he'll be all right."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
It should make for an interesting camp in a couple of months, where anyone could emerge as Winston's heir apparent.
Across the country in Eugene, the Ducks are faced with a similar situation.
Mark Helfrich will be charged with trying to replace a legend. All Mariota did in his three seasons was go 36-5, including a Pac-12 championship and wins in the Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl, with a spot in this past year's national championship game, and win the 2014 Heisman Trophy.
Big shoes to fill indeed, but this is another battle that probably won't be decided until the start of the season. Junior Jeff Lockie has sat behind Mariota and has learned the intricacies of the offense. How he performs in the spring game on Saturday could give Helfrich something to think about all summer long. Other quarterbacks currently on the roster include sophomores Ty Griffin and Taylor Alie and freshmen Morgan Mahalak and Travis Jonsen.
However, it is a transfer not yet on the roster who brings the most promise. Eastern Washington's Vernon Adams Jr. has had a stellar career to this point at the FCS level, and after finishing his degree this spring, will complete the move to Eugene and play for the Ducks in 2015.
Adams is no stranger to Pac-12 competition. He lit up Oregon State in a 2013 upset, passing for 411 yards and four TDs, while rushing for 107 yards and two more scores.
Last season against Washington, Adams passed for 475 yards and seven TDs in a shootout loss (59-52).
Adams can do a lot of the same things that Mariota did. He can and throw, and although he will be the newcomer in Eugene, he brings a veteran presence to the huddle as a graduate transfer. He is a two-time runner-up for the Walter Payton Award - given to the nation's outstanding player at the FCS level.
The loss of Mariota cannot be minimized, but the addition of Adams may just bridge the gap between the Ducks' legend and the next real tenure under center for Oregon.
Continuity is a big part of sustained success at the FBS level. With the departures of Winston and Mariota, that won't come easy in Tallahassee or Eugene.