“I told him like, ‘I’m in for whatever. If I got to play it, I got to play it.’”
This is what junior Daewood Davis told Oregon head football coach Mario Cristobal during a meeting.
If there is a shortage at corner, Davis is your guy. If there is a shortage at receiver, again, call upon Davis. That is exactly what the Oregon Ducks coaching staff has done with the 6’2”, 181-pound two-way player throughout his three years in the program.
Davis has consistently been praised this training camp by his teammates and coaches for being an all-around team player. His unselfishness and versatility on the field has now seen him playing the field corner role in the Ducks secondary. A defensive back with the knowledge of a wide receiver and route trees could pose a dangerous threat to opposing offenses.
Switching positions more than once can mess with the mind in terms of your identity on the team. For Davis, there have definitely been some ups and downs, but not sticking with the program was out of the question.
“Coming from where I’m from, I was taught never to quit, never to give up on your journey,” said Davis during a Wednesday Oregon football media availability. “My dream was to always come here and be a great football player… Seeing all my close friends and teammates leave, it was kind of shocking and put me in a dark place.
That support and determination has been beneficial for an Oregon secondary that looks to replace three starters in 2020 after Jevon Holland, Thomas Graham Jr. and Brady Breeze all opted out and declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Davis’ leadership will be called upon once again.
Another one of those players who brings a veteran presence - despite this being his first year on the team - is Jordan Happle.
The safety transfer from Boise State brings familiarity in Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos’ system as well as experience whether that be at field safety or getting some reps in at nickel.
“Obviously, they lose a lot of talented guys to the NFL this past season and whatnot, but I don’t think there’s any drop-off in terms of guys who are in that room honestly,” said Happle. “I think they’re going to start off right where they left off and I think it’s going to be a hell of a season for that group.”
Oregon’s defense was second in every statistical category in the Pac-12 Conference last season: total yards per game allowed (329.6); passing yards allowed per game (222.8); rushing yards allowed per game (106.8); and points allowed per game (15.7). It was good enough to claim the Pac-12 championship and a 2020 Rose Bowl victory. The expectations don’t change this upcoming season.
Speaking of bowl games, Happle’s first career interception at Boise State came against Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. When asked how it felt to pick off a pass from the future first-round NFL Draft pick Herbert, the Portland-native smiled as the two have had history on the gridiron in high school (Jesuit in Portland, Oregon and Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon).
“It was great,” said Happle with a big grin on his face. “It was a while ago but I’m just happy to be here now. I played against Justin back in high school, too, so I’ve had some times with him though.”
Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.