There are certain games that define careers.
For former Oregon football quarterback Justin Herbert, the date was October 8, 2016. A home game in Eugene, Oregon vs. rival No. 5 Washington.
This was the game Herbert identified as one that he would want to “break.” To never repeat. It was one that was tv-smashing worthy.
It was a tough lesson to learn in his first ever collegiate start and in front of a home crowd. Herbert felt that he didn’t just let his team down, but as a Eugene-native, he felt he let his city down.
Herbert threw an interception on his very first pass on the very first play of that game. It is how he kicked off his first collegiate start. The Ducks lost 70-21, finished 4-8 in the Pac-12 Conference, missed a postseason bowl game and their head coach was fired.
This put a lot of pressure and weight on the young freshman quarterback’s shoulders. It couldn’t get any worse, right? Herbert began his collegiate career facing tough adversity, but it would not define the legacy of what he would leave behind at Oregon.
From that season on, it was an upward trajectory.
With Herbert at the helm, the Ducks improved each year and ended with a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory in 2020, Herbert’s senior season.
2020 @rosebowlgame MVP Justin Herbert reflects on @oregonfootball’s win on New Year’s Day and taking it all in at the iconic @rosebowlstadium.🌹#INSPIRE #MVP #JustinHerbert #OregonDucks pic.twitter.com/FRj7k5mHH2— Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation 🌹 (@INSPIRE_2022) April 14, 2020
Now, the eyes of the NFL are upon him. Herbert is a projected top-10 draft pick and will find a new home in the NFL come Thursday, April 23.
You can watch more in the video above, including a special interview with Herbert and host Jordan Kent on Talkin’ Ducks (original air date August 2019 before Herbert’s senior season).
Also be sure to listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast.