Del Rio cleared to play for Beavers

Luke Del Rio got the good news not long after Oregon State coach Mike Riley addressed the team at the end of Friday's practice.

Del Rio had been waiting to hear from the NCAA on his eligibility status since transferring to OSU from Alabama in March. He was to sit out the season, but made an appeal.

What made his case a bit unusual was he was a walk-on freshman quarterback at Alabama and wound up taking his redshirt season.

"I just found out I won the appeal and I will be eligible this fall," Del Rio said. "It's really exciting because I really didn't see a reason why I shouldn't have been. They saw it the same way and I'm excited."

Del Rio started spring practice with no word on his status.

He had filled out his first letter to the NCAA a month and a half ago.

"I had to fill out two more letters in between then. And coach Riley was joking when I went up to see him, he said, 'Hey, can you write another letter,' and I was like, are you serious? And he was like, 'No, no. We have news,'" Del Rio said. "Really just a relief."

The Beavers had been operating with the idea that Del Rio would spend the season on the sidelines.

Now they have another player in the race to back up Sean Mannion.

He'll be competing with sophomore Brent VanderVeen and redshirt freshman Kyle Kempt through the spring.

Offensive coordinator John Garrett said Del Rio has shown great progress and has been quick to pick up the offense.

"The first day he was remarkable. He was calling plays the way they should be called in the huddle and knowing the reads," Garrett said. "We've all got a lot of work to do and he'll get more familiar with the offense and I'm just glad we have another guy in the mix for that backup quarterback position."

That doesn't mean Del Rio has it all down.

There's plenty of homework to be done by all of the OSU quarterbacks.

"This offense is difficult, it really is," Del Rio said. "Alabama's was difficult, but this is more pro style. I've seen a few NFL playbooks, obviously with the Broncos and with the Jaguars. I've seen a few and this is the most similar I've seen in college."

Del Rio has a few advantages over the typical transfer.

He's the son of Jack Del Rio, who played in the NFL and coached the Jacksonville Jaguars before moving to the defensive coordinator position with the Denver Broncos.

At Alabama, Del Rio practiced with one of the top teams in the nation under coach Nick Saban.

Del Rio said Crimson Tide coaches told him to be ready to play if starter A.J. McCarron got hurt.

"They told me every game, before the game, that if A.J. gets hurt, be ready to go in," he said.


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