Rewind back to the week after the 2020 Rose Bowl.
The Oregon Ducks were coming off a 28-27 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in Pasadena, California. Juniors Thomas Graham Jr., Dede Lenoir, Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu together announced that they would all return to Oregon for their senior seasons.
Even through all the chaos and uncertainty of the 2020 Pac-12 conference football season, Lenoir, Scott and Faoliu all remained with the Ducks for seven more games.
Thomas Graham Jr. was the only one to opt-out and stay out.
After seven games where the Ducks finished 4-2 on the season and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, senior defensive tackle Austin Faoliu has officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
"After asking for guidance from the man above and talking with my family, I have decided to enter the 2021 NFL Draft," wrote the senior.
To entice players to play in the 2020 college football season, the NCAA has given a free year for players, who will not lose a year of eligibility regardless of snaps played this season.
Faoliu will not be exercising that option and instead will try his hand in the NFL.
Here’s a look at the 6’3”, 300-pound defensive end’s four-year career at Oregon:
FRESHMAN YEAR (2017):
Started the first two games of the season and finished with 22 tackles (2.5 for loss) and one sack.
SOPHOMORE YEAR (2018):
According to Pro Football Focus, Faoliu graded out at 90.5 and the Pac-12’s No. 3 defensive lineman. Started in six games and played in 11 games. Recorded 44 tackles and two sacks.
JUNIOR YEAR (2019):
Faoliu was instrumental in Oregon’s defense that ranked No. 9 overall in the nation. The Ducks defense held five opponents to under 100 yards rushing this season. Faoliu recorded 25 tackles, 4.0 for loss and two sacks over the final five games against Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Utah and Wisconsin.
SENIOR YEAR (2020):
Totaled 21 tackles (13 solo) and 0.5 tackles for loss in seven games played. He had five tackles against Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon.
Make that two Ducks on the defensive line now off to the 2021 NFL Draft. Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu have been staples on that Oregon d-line for years now.
Now, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Popo Aumavae, Kristian Williams, Brandon Dorlus will have to pick up where these two left off.