In early September, the best offensive lineman in the country, Penei Sewell, decided to opt out of this season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. A few days later, corner Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. were the next Ducks to follow.
Now - likely first round draft pick - Jevon Holland has decided to forgo the upcoming season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
"First and foremost, I want to thank God for blessing me in all things in my life. Since I was a kid, I've dreamed about this moment..."
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon football running back LeGarrette Blount].
After so much uncertainty surrounding college football and especially in the Pac-12 conference, this decision makes sense.
On Thursday, the Pac-12 Conference voted and approved a plan to play football starting on Nov. 6-7. It will consist of five games, one divisional crossover and then the conference championship. Not a normal season but a season nonetheless.
For the 6-foot-1, 200-pound safety, it was time to strike while the iron is hot.
Holland has displayed ‘Sunday talent’ on Saturdays in the Oregon secondary in just two years of collegiate football.
Here is why he’s a top safety in the upcoming draft:
Holland’s college football debut was one for the history books at Oregon: 32 solo tackles, five interceptions and 11 pass deflections in 13 games (including two starts). Those five interceptions were good for second in the Pac-12 and 10th nationally.
After an impressive freshman year, the national attention started for Holland and continued in 2019: 40 solo tackles, four interceptions and eight pass deflections. He was one of three returning FBS players with four or more INTs each of the last two years.
It was gearing up to be a year continuing the momentum off a Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl victory. The Ducks were poised to take it another step further with a potential national championship on the horizon.
Now, Holland will begin preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft and Oregon safeties coach Keith Heyward will begin planning without his star safety net in the middle of the field.
OREGON’S DEPTH AT SAFETY
Last season was a breakout year for Brady Breeze. The Oregon-native has put the work in and it is now on full display. The 6-foot, 198-pound senior returns after earning the 2020 Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game and a special teams touchdown in Oregon’s 28-27 win over Wisconsin.
Senior Nick Pickett also started the first nine games and playing in 11 of 14 last season for the Ducks. There is high hopes for sophomores Steve Stephens IV and Jamal Hill as well as adding junior transfer Bennett Williams into the mix.
And who could forget sophomore Verone McKinnley III and his four interceptions last season?
Depth is not an issue. The question is replacing the level of talent that Holland brought to the field.