Oregon Ducks

Current and former Oregon Ducks divulge hot takes on Blazers-Warriors

Current and former Oregon Ducks divulge hot takes on Blazers-Warriors

This is where Rip City and Oregon Football collide. Everybody has an opinion when it comes to the Western Conference Finals (including me: Blazers in seven). Some of these Ducks have ties to Portland, some to Oakland, but all have predictions!

JOEY HARRINGTON (Born and raised in Portland, 1998-2001 Oregon Duck, 2002-08 NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in six

Reasoning: Golden State is playing a different style without Kevin Durant, I think they are a better TEAM and they share the ball better without him on the court. The Warriors are the better team but they haven’t played this style in awhile. I think while Durant’s out they will be vulnerable and the Blazers can steal one in Oakland. IF Blazers get one in Oakland and IF Damian Lilliard shoots the ball similar to how he did in the first round vs. OKC, Blazers in six! If Lillard doesn’t, than Golden State in six. 

LAMICHAEL JAMES (2009-11 Oregon Duck, 2012-15 NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in six

Reasoning: With no Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins... I like the way the Blazers play basketball as a team, you can tell they have good chemistry and no one cares who get the points. It’s just about who wins, that’s huge to me, that’s why I’m a Lillard and McCollum fan- they’re unselfish and it’s about the team. 

DEFOREST BUCKNER (2012-15 Oregon Duck, 2016-current San Francisco 49er)

PREDICTION: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Because I been a fan of Damian Lillard since I was at Oregon, also they’ve been playing really good especially CJ McCollum! And honestly I just want a change up in the Finals this year. The Warriors are a great team, but I really think the Blazers can compete with them and pull it out in 7!

CYRUS HABIBI-LIKIO (Born and raised in the Bay Area, current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in six

Reasoning: I am from the Golden State and grew up going to their games since I was young. I say Portland wins two and we take the rest. But I do think a title in Portland would be so good for you guys and this state so I really don’t mind who wins. I just don’t want to hear it from everyone here if the Blazers win.

TYRELL CROSBY (2014-17 Oregon Duck, 2018- Current NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in six

Reasoning: Throwing me in a predicament! I’m a Blazers fan but I want to see (former Oregon Duck) Jordan Bell ball out.

JAKE FISHER (2011-14 Oregon Duck, 2015- Current NFL)

Prediction: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Love the underdog fight in the Blazers. Mindset is everything in the playoffs. Everyone counted them out already which has sparked a different energy. They are hot and they play team ball. They match up well against the Warriors without Kevin Durant, I think it only increases the odds in their favor!

JORDON SCOTT (Current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will go for 50 combined every game and they’ll win.

JUWAN JOHNSON(Current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in six

Reasonin: Warriors have too much depth to lose against Portland.

SHANE LEMIEUX (Current Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in seven

Reasoning: Portland has a ton more heart than the Warriors but ultimately the skill on the Warriors will end up winning the series for them.

TYSON COLEMAN (Born and raised in Portland, 2011-15 Oregon Duck)

Prediction: Warriors in six

Reasoning: I want the Blazers though. I think the Blazers might get the first two with Kevin Durant out but once he is back they have tooooo much horsepower. It’s like the Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas, Josh Huff combo with Golden State. Lol, I had to add a little Duck flare.

ISAIAH PITRE(Current Oregon Duck, Oakland native)

Prediction: Warriors in five

Reasoning: Because people seem to think that because Kevin Durant is out that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson can't win...Splash Brothers won two championships without him.

MJ CUNNINGHAM (Current Oregon Duck, Portland native)

Prediction: Blazers in seven

Reasoning: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum always find a way to get it done. Also he is an alum of the Team Lillard premier 7on7 team

Marcus Mariota set to "let it ride" during pivotal season with the Tennessee Titans

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Marcus Mariota set to "let it ride" during pivotal season with the Tennessee Titans

Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has one year to prove his worth or his career in Tennessee could come to an end next offseason. 

It's as simple as that. His response to the situation: “I just try to be the best I can be for this team, and let it ride,” he told reporters during organized team activities this week. 

The gambling analogy fits. The Titans wagered $20.9 million on Mariota in 2019 that he could still develop into a franchise quarterback by picking up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract signed as the No. 2-overall selection in 2015. Tennessee also hedged that bet by trading for Ryan Tannehill, a 2012 first-round pick by Miami that didn't materialize into the franchise quarterback the Dolphins hoped they were getting. 

Nevertheless, Tannehill can play the position at a high level at times, as evidenced by his 126 career touchdown passes. In fact, he plays it well enough to push Mariota to the sideline should he falter this season.

For now, Tennessee has made it clear that Mariota is the starter.

“His job is not in jeopardy,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters. “I don’t think that’s something we’re even here to talk about."

Sure thing. But that stance could change in a nanosecond. See last year's situation in Tampa Bay between Jameis Winston, the No. 1-overall pick in 2015, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston, suspended to start the season, lost his job, then got it back, then lost it again, and now is once again the starter. In between, Fitzpatrick was both brilliant and dreadful. 

The same juggling act could happen in Tennessee if Mariota isn't careful. Should a juggling act transpire, Mariota could be looking for work next offseason. 

Mariota has had an up-and-down career. At times he has looked brilliant. Other times, very ordinary. Meanwhile, other young quarterbacks have passed him by. Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes II, Houston's Deshaun Watson, Chicago's Mitchell Trubisky, Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas' Dak Prescott and San Francisco's Jimmy Garoppolo would not be traded straight up for Mariota. All were drafted after 2015 with the exception of Garoppolo, taken by New England in 2014 before being traded to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season when he became a starter. 

If you're the Titans and your once promising franchise star has been surpassed by six younger quarterbacks, it doesn't make much sense to give him a $100 million contract extension. You would, instead, do what Miami did by moving on from the failed experiment and going down another path. 

The irony in all of this is that Mariota might be better off elsewhere. Vrabel is his third head coach in four years and he's working with his fourth offensive coordinator in five seasons. One must wonder if Mariota would be in a different place in his career had he landed on a team with more stability at the top and a better supporting cast. 

Mariota is smart, accurate, takes good care of the ball from a passing standpoint (just like at Oregon he can become careless with ball security while avoiding pressure) and he still has wide receiver speed to make things happen with his legs. 

Mariota had several outstanding games last season when not bothered by injuries that impacted his passing abilities. 

The Titans have plenty of reasons to gamble on Mariota. The Titans narrowly missed the playoffs last season with their starting quarterback battling injuries and producing just 11 touchdown passes. If he comes near the 26 touchdown passes he threw in 2016, Tennessee could very well make the postseason and extend Mariota.

That all said, Tennessee also has legitimate reasons to prepare for the worst-cased scenario that could see the two parties part ways less than a year from now. 

Oregon football prediction: Cam McCormick back with a vengeance

Oregon football prediction: Cam McCormick back with a vengeance

There are still 100 days until Oregon football kicks off the 2019 season against Auburn on August 31, 2019. But, why not publish a prediction?

The Ducks have six options at tight end but I predict you will be hearing Cam McCormick’s name ringing through Autzen Stadium a lot this season.

McCormick won the starting spot last year but suffered a season-ending left leg injury in the first game of the season. The Bend, Oregon. native is back in action and poised to have a breakout junior season. He returned for Oregon’s spring football and practiced with the first team.
Expect the 6-foot-5, 260-pound pass catcher to be a big (literally) weapon for quarterback Justin Herbert. As the Ducks’ largest tight end, McCormick has NFL size and tools to make an impact this season.

After surgery and eight months of rehab, McCormick said his leg feels stronger than ever.

“I’m going to give every little, last ounce I have,” McCormick said during UO spring football.

McCormick excels at blocking and is physically imposing at the point of attack in the run game. In the passing game, he has great hands, is tough to take down, with surprising speed.

As a redshirt freshman in 2017, McCormick played in all 13 games. Although he has just three starts and seven career receptions, he showed off his big and deep-threat play ability against Arizona, with a season long 35-yard catch.

How can the Ducks make the most of Herbert’s last season at UO?  Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo alluded to some tinkering with the Oregon offense for 2019.  The Ducks are adding wrinkles to their running game while balancing the gift of Herbert’s big arm. McCormick’s return adds a big target for that big arm.

Oregon WBB appearing more like a perennial national contender by the minute

Oregon WBB appearing more like a perennial national contender by the minute

Fresh off a Final Four run, the Oregon women’s basketball program is proving that not only do they belong among the best in the nation, the Ducks are built to last.

Expected to be the strong favorite to win the national title in 2019-20, UO’s roster is locked and loaded for years to come. Coach Kelly Graves was tasked with replacing several outgoing Ducks (Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard) and answered with an exceptional month of recruiting.

Yesterday, Kylee Watson, the nation’s No. 18 overall prospect, announced her commitment to Oregon. The powerful post player committed to Oregon over Notre Dame and UCLA.

The 6-foot-3 forward is the fifth Oregon commit for the class of 2020, which is shaping up to be the nation’s No. 1 class.

The back-to-back Pac-12 Conference regular season champions have had a flaming hot month on the recruiting trail. Not only does Oregon have five commitments, which is three more than any other team (Notre Dame has two), but the athletes are picking the Ducks from all over the country (four of the five are not from the west coast). 

Four of the nation’s top 23 prospects have committed to Oregon. No other program has more than one.

Joining Watson is Sydney Parish, the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect and the No. 1 guard in the class of 2020, according to ESPNW. As irreplaceable as the triple-double queen is, Parrish has all the tools to pick up and lead the Ducks when Ionescu turns pro.

The elite guard was Oregon’s first verbal commitment for the 2020 class and has been an active recruiter for the Ducks.

Rounding out the 2020 commitments is; forward Angela Dugalic (No. 22), guard Maddie Scherr (No. 23) and point guard Te-Hina PaoPao (No. 40).

It’s safe to say UO has discarded its “newbie” title among the nation’s elite.

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

PORTLAND- Keanon Lowe’s recount of how he disarmed a student who police said carried a shotgun into a classroom, prohibiting a tragic shooting at Parkrose High School, is bone chilling.

20 seconds.

Lowe entered the classroom in the Fine Arts building on Friday 20 seconds before the door re-opened and Lowe was face-to-face with an armed high school senior. The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver was faced with a life or death decision.

It’s the third school gun incident this month in the United States. In all three instances, the shooter was tackled; one of the tacklers lived and two died for their efforts.

Did Lowe ever think to run?

“Never,” he said.

“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said.

“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun, and he had his two hands on the gun. The students were running out of the classroom and screaming. I was just making sure the barrel of the gun isn’t pointed towards them or towards me. I was able to wrestle it away.”

Right place. Right time. But to truly understand how the 27-year-old head football coach came to be just three feet from the barrel of a shotgun, you have to go back… The story didn’t start when Lowe, who is also a school security guard, was called to that classroom to take a student back to the office with him, a task he does 30-40 times a day.

The right life experiences and a myriad of decisions led him to be incredibly brave and decisive in a terrifying moment.

The Jesuit high school graduate’s instincts earned him Oregon 6A Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive back while also playing running back and wide receiver as a senior. From 2010-14, Lowe played for the Oregon Ducks and was voted “Oregon’s Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates as a senior. Although he put up plenty of statistics, the first line on his roster profile couldn’t sum him up more perfectly:

“His contributions could not be documented merely by statistics despite looming as one of Oregon’s top three receivers through the first six games.”

Lowe became an assistant on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s NFL staffs at Philadelphia and then San Francisco. Lowe's passion to work with kids urged him to leave the NFL. He felt like he had a solid foundation to use the knowledge that he had to take on a bigger role.

The goal was to find his voice as a head coach, help mold the next generation and give them someone to count on.

When he took over the Parkrose football program one year ago, he joined Aaron Fentress and me on The Bridge on NBC Sports Northwest. Call it foreshadowing, call it what you want, but he took the job “to make a difference in the community.”

He’s done just that. Who knows how many lives he saved and impacted on that Friday in Portland. Life prepared Lowe for that moment.

“In that situation, a lot of us would freeze up, or kinda back out and not know what to do,” Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said of Lowe after giving him tickets to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. “For him to take that type of stand, and to go and tackle the kid and protect all those people and himself, that’s a real hero move. That’s a big move. That’s big time of him.”

The story doesn’t end after Lowe wrestled and disarmed 19-year-old Angel Granados Diaz . The students rushed out of the classroom, it was just Lowe and Diaz and the emotions that took over. The two had a conversation.

In that moment when anger could have taken over, Lowe chose compassion. 

“He broke down and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living."

It could be argued that Lowe found his voice.

Police arrived, apprehended the student and took him into custody. Diaz made his first court appearance Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm into a public building.

During Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers honored Lowe’s heroics. 20,000 fans stood in pride of their hometown hero, while he stood with his hand over his heart. Call it fate or call it destiny, but know that Lowe’s actions derived from a life full of preparation and integrity.

Concerns surround Oregon forward Kenny Wooten’s NBA readiness

Concerns surround Oregon forward Kenny Wooten’s NBA readiness

The 2019-20 Oregon men’s basketball roster is currently looking pretty sparse. The Ducks team that pulled off an inspired late season run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 has largely dispersed.

Two seniors moved on, three players left the program for the NBA Draft and two Ducks have transferred.

The latest Duck to fly away? Shot-blocking phenom, Kenny Wooten.

On Sunday night, Wooten took to Instagram to announce he will forgo his junior season and stay in the NBA Draft.

Wooten’s decision is an interesting one and of course he could still change his mind, ultimately he has until May 29 to declare for the NBA Draft or return to Oregon.

The 6-foot-9 rim protector’s athleticism is undeniable. In his two seasons at UO, Wooten ranks third all-time in Oregon history for blocked shots with 166, earning back-to-back All-Pac-12 Defensive team honors. His defensive contributions late in the 2018-19 season propelled Oregon’s push to win the Pac-12 Tournament and dance to the Sweet 16.

So is he trying to strike while the iron is hot? Wooten has not returned a message seeking comment and the school has not confirmed a final decision from Wooten.

NBC Sports NBA Draft Analyst Rob Dauster would advise Wooten to return to school. 

“The concern I have is two-fold,” Dauster said. “For starters, if he’s not catching and dunking, he really can’t do anything offensively. He had 33 assists in 70 college games. That’s fine when you’re Clint Capela, but - and I don’t have official measurements for him yet - Wooten is roughly three inches shorter or so.”

“The other question is if he’s going to end up being as defensively versatile as someone like Jordan Bell. You watch what Jordan does in this Golden State defense, and he’s switching and trapping and swarming and all over the place on the perimeter in addition to being the athlete/dunker/shot-blocker. I don’t know if Wooten can do all of that. I think he’s far less mobile and fleet a foot.”

Wooten was not invited to the NBA Combine and isn’t on ESPN’s board for the top 100 players for this year’s NBA Draft.

Of course, Wooten can develop and improve his weaknesses at the professional level, but it appears that would likely happen in the NBA G League or as a two-way player.

“He is 21 already, so if he wants to start earning money, I get it, I just think that coming back, adding some semblance of an offensive repertoire and improving on where he struggles defensively could get him to a point where he could get a guaranteed contract in next year’s draft,” Dauster said.

“But, frankly, that isn’t a guarantee either.”

Since the exodus of Ducks from the program, Oregon has yet to add a player eligible to play this season. UO has only three players from last year’s team (if senior Payton Pritchard comes back) with a total of six eligible scholarship players (Duquesne transfer Eric Williams must sit this year).

I don’t doubt coach Dana Altman, who has become a wizard at piecing rosters together in crunch time. However, if Wooten changes his mind and has a consistent junior season exemplifying offensive growth and defensive versatility… It’d be beneficial for Oregon and likely Wooten’s draft stock.

Pac-12 CEOs vote to improve non-conference basketball schedules, lessen transfer penalties within conference

Pac-12 CEOs vote to improve non-conference basketball schedules, lessen transfer penalties within conference

Interesting news is emerging from the Pac-12 Conference CEOs' annual spring meeting in San Francisco. Presidents and chancellors met and voted on a variety of topics, the two biggest changes approved are;

1) Raising standards for non-conference basketball schedules.

Beginning in the 2020-21 season, November and December will have far less cupcake games. Men’s basketball non-conference opponents will now need to have a five-year average NET ranking of at least 175 for home games and 200 or better for road games, up from the Pac-12′s previous standard for non-conference opponents of a five-year average of 300 RPI.

The move will have impact on power rankings and the NCAA Tournament selection process. Pac-12 teams received little benefit from victories over opponents in the bottom half of Division I, while losses severely hurt the team’s resume.

Under this rule, Oregon wouldn’t have played Portland State and Florida A&M. Oregon State wouldn’t have played Central Connecticut State or UC-Riverside.

2) Eliminating “loss of season” of eligibility for undergraduate transfers who transfer within the conference.

The CEO group voted to eliminate the “loss of a season" of eligibility penalty for all student-athletes who transfer within the Pac-12. This means undergraduate intra-conference transfers still have to sit out a year in residency, but won’t lose a year of eligibility.

According to the Pac-12, “The rule is designed to provide student-athletes with a similar experience to another student who decides to transfer.”

Former Oregon Duck Keanon Lowe the Parkrose High School hero

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Former Oregon Duck Keanon Lowe the Parkrose High School hero

Friday, May 17th 2019 will be a day that will change the lives of the students and faculty at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon. 

What could have gone down as another school shooting in the United States, became a heroic local story as the threat was stopped just short thanks to former Oregon football wide receiver Keanon Lowe.

Lowe, who was named the Parkrose high school head football coach back in February 2018, saw the suspect carrying a gun and tackled that person before what was intended to happen, happened. 

Parkrose is home to just shy of 1,000 students. 

Lowe's former teammates says his act of heroism comes at no surprise as the type of person he is:

Thank you, Keanon Lowe.


Former Duck Jordan Bell shines in the spotlight

Former Duck Jordan Bell shines in the spotlight

Jordan Bell. It's a name known well in the Pacific Northwest. After Thursday's performance in the Western Conference Finals, it's also a name well known in the city of Oakland, San Francisco Bay, and the entire NBA. 

The second-year big man out of the University of Oregon has had his ups and downs with Golden State. He has been in and out of the rotation over the last two seasons, has had his maturity questioned, and has had to rebuild the team's confidence in him. 

He's had verbal spats with teammates and coaches, and in March of this season, Bell was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team." It was later reported that he made purchases at a team hotel and had them charged to assistant coach Mike Brown without his permission.

At the time, it almost felt like the end of the rope for Bell's career: A "here we go again" moment for the Warriors and their young forward. But instead of rolling over, Bell took it on the chin and bounced back. Despite spot minutes and DNPs, he continued to focus on his game. Not just his basketball game, but his mental game. 

"I think he's evolved mostly mentally... You know, he's gotten more intelligent," teammate Draymond Green after the Warriors Game 2 victory. "I think all those things are great but more important than all of that, his mental. His professionalism. I think that's where he's grown the most and I think right now, that's paying off for him the most."

All the hard work culminated in a breakout playoff performance against the Blazers on Thursday. Bell played just 14 minutes, but his impact was large. He scored 11 points, pulled down three rebounds, and added two steals, a block, and an assist for the two-time defending champs. He stuffed the stat sheet, helping the Warriors seal the deal with a come from behind victory. 

“Jordan did a really good job for us tonight with his energy," Andre Iguodala said of Bell. 

[He] is one of those guys who has got that energy. He thrives off the spotlight. He enjoys being in those moments and people are watching him. He takes advantage of that.

A lot of Blazers fans know exactly what Iguodala means. Fans in Oregon have been watching Bell come up big ever since he stepped on the court for the Ducks in 2014. His junior year, he helped lead to the Ducks to an appearance in the Final Four, where he had a 13 points, 16 rebounds and a four block performance in the Ducks' loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. 

It was the biggest stage in college basketball, and Bell basked in the spotlight. Now on the biggest stage in the NBA, Bell has found a way to do it again. 

"It's a good series for him. It's a good matchup. The way we're playing suits him," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. "We need a lot of speed out there. I think the last three games, Game 6 in Houston and the first two games here, he's kind of settled down and he's been very comfortable. Very relaxed. He's not in a rush and he's playing good basketball, so he will continue to get minutes."

If Bell continues to get minutes, he could be a problem for the Blazers as the series shifts to Portland. The second-year player blocks shots, gets rebounds and does the little things the Warriors need from their bench unit to bury the Blazers. 

How does Bell go about making sure he gets those minutes? According to Green, it goes back to his maturity.

"It's not like he's out there taking seven mid-range jump shots. He's just playing hard," Green said. "It's the staying ready, being in the gym nonstop, even when you're not playing for 10 games straight, staying in the gym, being there early and getting the work in.

"That's what's paying off for him now."  

It's paying off in key playoff minutes, clutch playoff performances, and most of all, it's paying off with a heightened state of confidence from his teammates.

"When his number gets called, he's either going to be ready or not," Green said. "We have confidence in Jordan because we know how it's been going in the gym all year long."

More than the confidence of his teammates, getting the call has boosted Bell's confidence in himself.

When you’re playing, that’s the most confidence right there. Just experience. I was lacking on that...When the coach calls your name in Game 6 against Houston at their place, and a game where we can possibly end it there, it gives you a lot of confidence going into the (next) series.”

Do the Warriors need Bell to win their third-straight title? Probably not. Does it hurt the cause when Bell is playing with confidence and shines on the big stage? Absolutely not.

Bell has a large fan base rooting for him and it's not just rooted in Oakland.  Up north in enemy territory, the Ducks fanbase is cheering hard. Not for Warriors wins, but for their former star.

Oregon football; Defensive Back University?

Oregon football; Defensive Back University?

Oregon football, also known as; Nike University, Running Back University and Defensive Back University?

The Ducks’ highest-rated recruiting class in program history received another major addition; the highest-rated defensive back commitment in program history, Chris Steele.

Steele, the nation’s No. 3 cornerback and No. 19 overall prospect in the class of 2019, transferred from Florida after spring football.

According to the Gainesville Sun, in late January, Steele asked the Florida coaching staff for new roommate assignment, away from quarterback Jalon Jones, expressing concerns about Jones' behavior. In April, Jones was accused of sexual battery by two Florida students. The Florida Staff declined to act and postponed his request until summer and Steele decided to enter the transfer portal.

The 6-foot, 175-pound athlete, out of St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, California) returned to the west coast via Oregon.

"Coach Donte. Our relationship is known." Steele told 247sports of Oregon coach Donte Williams. "Me and that dude, he’s like a big brother to me. The opportunity to play for somebody who is going to care about me off the field but at the same time is going to develop me better than other people, it’s a win-win situation." 

Had Steele signed with Oregon before National Signing Day, the Ducks’ 2019 class would have been ranked at No. 5 overall, their first top five finish ever. Oregon finished No. 7 without the signing of Steele. 

A few notes on what adding another five-star piece means…

Can Steele play next season?

Steele enrolled at Florida, so it's unclear if he will be eligible for the 2019 season, but he can apply for a waiver to play immediately.

Oregon’s 2019 secondary is locked and loaded with talent.

Juniors Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir have depth and talent behind them. If Steele is granted a waiver to play immediately, Oregon will have two star freshmen cornerbacks in Steele and Mykael Wright, plus redshirt freshman safety Steve Stephens. The pair of safeties, Nick Pickett and Jevon Holland, will also return. 

Lenoir often tweets "TMC," which stands for "The Marathon Continues." It's a reference to the sixth official mixtape by American rapper Nipsey Hussle, but it means something more to the Ducks secondary. "This journey has only begun to become the best secondary," said Lenoir. "It's a marathon not a race. We will prove a lot this year."

The #CaliFlock is real.

The Ducks scored three of the top six ranked players in the state of California in the 2019 class. All three are defensive players; including Steele (No. 5), Wright (No. 4) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 1). A total of seven of California’s top 21 2019 prospects are at Oregon.

The veterans are hyped.

When Steele transferred from Florida, a few Gator wide receivers tweeted pictures of themselves making catches over Steele. When Steele joined the Ducks, he was met with a different feeling on Twitter from Oregon football.

The ripple effect.

Now the defensive backs are rolling in. Four-star safety Jared Greenfield (class of 2020) has included Oregon in his final five. The coveted 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back out of Narbonne High School (Harbor City, California), is expected to having Oregon as his heavy favorite.