On October 5, the Oregon Ducks bolstered their secondary with the addition of Boise State transfer Jordan Happle.
If that name sounds familiar Duck fans, it should.
The Portland, Oregon-native from Jesuit high School was a two-time Metro League Defensive Player of the Year, a State Champion and a three-star recruit coming out of high school. He held offers from Boise State, Eastern Washington, Hawaii and Montana State before committing to the Broncos.
It didn’t take long for him to make an impact on the ’Smurf Turf’ either.
Happle recorded his first career interception at Boise State against the Oregon Ducks in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. In 2019, Happle recorded 22 tackles, 14 solo and two pass deflections in just five games. He was on track for his best year yet, but unfortunately a season-ending injury put a stop to that.
Now that the Mountain West Conference postponed all fall sports in 2020, Happle decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal. The Ducks came knocking and Happle ‘is coming home to fulfill’ his dream of becoming an Oregon Duck.
We had the opportunity to interview Jesuit High School football coach Ken Potter to get more on the newest member of the Oregon secondary.
“Jordan is a playmaker. When he played for me, If you needed something done, he would make it happen,” said Potter. “We won a state championship with him as a senior and he made play after play after play and big-time plays. Defensively, he’s a quarterback on the field and he knows what to do, makes adjustments, makes sure people are doing the right things…
Someone who is familiar with his style of play is current Oregon Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos, who was the defensive coordinator at Boise State before taking the job on Mario Cristobal’s staff in Eugene, Oregon.
We spoke with Avalos last week and asked what it was like to see Happle back on the field in Avalos’ system. It was like deja vu.
“Obviously Jordan is an unbelievable young man. Very blessed to have him join us and obviously his first day out there at practice today. The first time he jumped in there I was doing something and I heard him make a call out on the field and it’s been a little while since I heard that voice out there being a quarterback out there in the defense. It was fun to see him out there today."
“He will give as much as people want to take,” said Potter. “When I say that, he will help out. I just know that he’s going to step in and teach and help and work… and I just know, as a coach, it is nice to have someone who knows your thoughts before you have to even say them. And I’m sure that’s what coach [Avalos] is talking about…
One memory, in particular, stands out amongst the rest and exemplifies exactly who Happle is both on and off the field.
It’s Happle’s junior season at Jesuit. The Crusaders are playing the Tigard Tigers when Happle went up for a ball in the end zone and came down on an opponent's ankle and broke his foot. After hobbling to the sidelines, his first words were, “I should have caught that. It was in my hands, I should have caught that. Can we tape this up and can I play?”
Happle was almost in tears after the team doctor ruled him out for the rest of the game.
“He sits on the bench for maybe like 20 seconds and then he’s asking for crutches so he can be on the sideline standing up encouraging his teammates,” said Potter. “That’s who Jordan is.”
And that’s who Duck fans can be really excited about.
How exactly will Oregon’s secondary look in 2020? Will Happle earn a starting role? We will soon find out in just three weeks.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon wide receiver Keenan Howry].