The Oregon Ducks defense expects to be one of the best units in the country next season, largely thanks to its elite secondary that finished second in the country with 20 interceptions last season.
Oh yeah, and all members of that secondary return next season along with the addition of five-star cornerback Dontae Manning.
In fact, former Oregon Ducks safety Anthony Newman claims that the upcoming secondary can be the best secondary the program has ever seen.
"These guys have to play well together and they do," said Newman on the Talkin' Ducks. "They’ve been there a long time. I mean these guys have been playing together since freshman [year]. They’ve known each other since high school, they came in together and they’re going out together."
Not everyone in the country believes in the hype, however.
Enter Chad Johnson Jr., son of former Oregon State wide receiver Chad Johnson and four-star Arizona State wide receiver signee in the 2020 class.
Johnson Jr. tweeted Saturday afternoon that Arizona State has the best defensive backs in the Pac-12.
ASU has the best db in the pac 12, who wanna argue?— 4PF (@chadjohnsonll) June 27, 2020
Many current Oregon Ducks did not agree with Johnson Jr.'s opinion.
Defensive tackle Jordon Scott even asked for clarification.
yezzir my brother— 4PF (@chadjohnsonll) June 27, 2020
Who?— Jordon Scott (@Fat_Mac34) June 27, 2020
Im being serious doe bro— Jordon Scott (@Fat_Mac34) June 27, 2020
Some other Ducks, such as Kayvon Thibodeaux and Dontae Manning, just quoted his claim and voiced their disapproval.
lol I must be in PAC-13 or sumn foo https://t.co/7OxchoPSp2— ².⁰ 𝙼𝙰𝙽𝙽𝙸𝙽𝙶 (@dontaemanning_8) June 27, 2020
Don’t mind him he don’t know no better https://t.co/ox0NyrbvWp— kayvon thibodeaux (@kayvonT8) June 27, 2020
Las Vegas Raiders cornerback and South Carolina alumni Keisean Nixon also disagreed.
Oregon https://t.co/Ig0rI0SxBT— K9 (@keiseannixon) June 27, 2020
Let's break it down.
Of the top ten returning Pac-12 football players ahead of the 2020 college football season, Pro Football Focus has three of them as members of Oregon's secondary: Jevon Holland at No. 2 (the nation's best slot corner per PFF), Mykael Wright at No. 4, and Thomas Graham Jr. at No. 8.
[Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football]
This doesn't even include returning senior Deommodre Lenoir, who forwent the NFL Draft to return to school, Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze, Nick Pickett, and Verone McKinley.
Additionally, Pro Football Focus ranked the 30 best defensive backs returning to college football in 2020. Four Oregon Ducks were mentioned (Holland, Wright, Graham Jr., and Lenoir). No Sun Devils were mentioned.
Meanwhile, the two highest-graded members of the Arizona State secondary are safeties, Aashari Crosswell and Cam Phillips, with both players grading out with scores of 77.0 and 73.3 respectively. Both of those numbers are lower than Breeze (84.7), Wright (82.7), Holland (81.5).
So Chad Johnson Jr., next time, make a claim that can be backed up with facts.
[Be sure to listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon men's basketball head coach Ernie Kent].