Ducks

Jason Brown Jr., 2024 ATH, discusses Oregon Ducks offer & SNL visit

Ducks

Every summer, the Oregon Ducks host an annual football camp for highly touted prospects ranging from soon-to-be freshmen to seniors in high school.

Last week, the Ducks held its 'Saturday Night Live' event and ended up offering numerous kids after seeing them in person at Autzen Stadium. Among them was Seattle, WA native and 2024 athlete Jason Brown Jr.

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"The coaches were like 'We already really like your film. We just want to see you out there work, we want to see you out there move,'" he told NBC Sports Northwest. "My mindset going into the camp was just to perform. There's a lot of top players here and show that you're among one of the best of them."

It clearly paid off as Oregon became the ninth school to offer the 5'10", 180-pound sophomore, joining Washington, Florida State, Nevada, Oregon State, Texas, USC, Utah and Washington State. 

Among those schools, Brown said his hometown Huskies are "making the strongest push" but "based on the conversations with the coaches at Oregon, they really like me also."

During those talks with Oregon's staff, Brown Jr. gets the sense the Ducks would use him as a receiving back: "Someone who can catch the ball out of the backfield and make a move in the open field which is something I'd enjoy a lot. Who doesn't like the ball in the open field?"

 

In fact, that's the perfect approach for Brown Jr. given he grew up watching Oregon legend De'Anthony Thomas.

"I grew up a huge De'Anthony Thomas fan, I still watch his highlights before every game," he said. "Just to be able to tour the school, wear the same number he wore, and have a little taste of what it's like to be a Duck, it was a pretty dope experience.

"When you're a smaller back like me, he's someone you really emulate your game after. Just seeing how he wasn't really a full back, but he wasn't a true receiver, just seeing how they used him all over the field shows they know what they're doing with different types of players which takes an extreme level of coaching."

DAT dominated for Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich, not under Mario Cristobal but that doesn't lessen the appeal. Joe Moorhead's offense utilizes the running back in the passing game immensely, allowing the tradition to live on.

"It's not just a coaching thing, it's a culture at Oregon. They attract players who can do different things."

Brown Jr.'s admiration for Oregon bled into other parts of life too, such as his gaming.

"Even when it came to playing video games like NCAA, little stuff like that. Oregon was always the team to pick. They had the fast running backs and the cool jerseys. I have a whole bunch of good memories watching Oregon growing up."

Then, with him on campus, the Ducks showed why they're still among the best programs nationally between the facilities and family atmosphere fostered in Eugene, OR.

"The campus is amazing. The facilities are some of the best facilities I've ever seen," gushed Brown Jr., pointing out the weight room and recovery centers in particular. "Everybody was super welcoming. Everybody, the whole coaching staff.

"It just shows they care about their athletes, that they're taken care of."

Oregon athletes are not just taken care of in Eugene, they're "set for life" as Brown Jr. said.

"Oregon has super big Nike connections worldwide so... when you come to Oregon, you're being set up for life."

And that's not all. 

Oregon has a unique in for the 2024 athlete with two of his former mentors on campus already.

"Troy Franklin, Keith Brown... were a part of the same 7-on-7 program that I was," he told NBC Sports NW. "They just took me under their wing in 7th, 8th grade, taught me the ropes. Taught me about this whole recruiting thing. They've been super supportive throughout the whole process.

"The thing about those people I know, at the end of the day, if they didn't feel it was a good fit for me, they wouldn't throw me in a position where I'd be unsuccessful. For them to continue to push the school in such a positive light shows that they're treating them well and it's a good fit for me."

Those two aren't the only ones selling the program either. Brown Jr. was impressed by how many Oregon commits were at SNL trying to grow the flock.

 

"There was a couple committed players there already. They were just super pumped to be on campus, to go out there and compete on the field. I will say they were trying to get as many people to commit as possible," said Brown Jr., letting out a laugh. "So that's always a good look when players who haven't experienced the culture yet fully are already pushing younger players... to come to the school and be part of the brotherhood.

"Just seeing the players who aren't even at the school be so adamant about getting younger players there to show there's something different about the school."

The coaching staff showed Brown Jr. lots of love, too.

"They were very welcoming," he said. "I liked how the coaches talked with me as if I was already part of the family. They showed me a lot of love."

While doing so, the Oregon staff told him what they envision as the future of Oregon football.

"They expect, of course, to win their third consecutive Pac-12 Championship and they're just really working to compete for a National Championship which should be the goal every year, but they feel they have a good shot this year and I'm excited to watch."

As for if he'll catch a game up close, it sounded like it's a matter of when, not if. Brown Jr.'s focused on the upcoming high school season but told NBC Sports Northwest "I'm definitely going to try to find a way to get me and my parents back [to Eugene] to go to a game, talk with the coaching staff and enjoy the atmosphere again."

If not this upcoming season, he said he wants to attend SNL next year at the least.

"I'd love to go to the camp next summer, just go out there and compete. There was a whole bunch of top guys there. It was a great experience just seeing where I measure up."