Oregon Ducks

'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

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'Recruitment is shut down:' Four-star OL Josh Simmons commits to Oregon

"10000% locked in."

That was the message four-star OL Josh Simmons had on Monday morning when he announced his commitment to join the Oregon football program. 

The news comes less than a month after Coach Mario Cristobal and his coaching staff offered Simmons a full ride scholarship and opportunity to play with the Ducks. He has yet to visit Eugene. 

"Family is everything to me. I know I would not have been able to get to this point in my life without the love and support of my Mother and Sister." Simmons said. "Through everything I know I have been able to lean on them. I also want to give thanks to everyone from the Helix community, my Coaches, Teachers at Madison and everyone who has had an impact on my academic and athletic career up to this point. Lastly I want to thank all the Coaches that believed in me and gave me an opportunity to further my studies while continuing to play the game I love. With that being said I would like to announce that I am Committing to the University of Oregon. Recruitment is Shut Down. 10000% Locked in #CaliFlock #ScoDucks #Duckforlife."

Simmons committed to Oregon over offers from UCLA, USC, Colorado, Duke and Washington State. He is Cristobal's sixth verbal commit of the 2021 class and the second offensive line commit with Simmons joining Jackson Light, the nation's No. 6 center. 

Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

Chris Duarte out; N’Faly Dante in: What this means for the Ducks moving forward?

EUGENE, Oregon - Less than one hour prior to tip-off in chapter two of the 2020 Civil War series vs. the Oregon State Beavers, the Oregon Ducks announced that starting guard Chris Duarte would not be available to play due to an injury.

[RELATED]: Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte has procedure on broken finger

30 minutes later, Duarte was in street clothes and sporting a new cast on his right hand. His shooting hand.

Replacing Duarte in the starters role was Anthony Mathis, the 6-foot-4 redshirt senior who has started the first 18 games of the season. 

Just try and play a lot of defense. He’s our second-leading rebounder, so I’m trying to pick up on defense, rebounding. Pretty much just helping in any way I can. We’re so deep on offense, I’m not necessarily worried about scoring. I’m just trying to do other things to help the team get wins. — Anthony Mathis

Mathis finished with 13 points hitting 3-of-7 from three-point range, three rebounds and two assists. No. 14 Oregon (22-7, 11-5 Pac-12) snapped the three-game losing streak to rival Oregon State (15-13, 5-11 Pac-12) with a 69-54 win in Matthew Knight Arena.

Replacing Duarte is not easy. He lives big shoes out there on both ends of the court. Oregon head coach Dana Altman has no timetable for return and it’s “up to the doctors”, he told reporters following the game.

As a team, the Ducks defense really stepped up in Duarte’s absence holding their opponent, Oregon State, to a season-low 54 total points. Oregon also committed a season-low four turnovers. 

While one presence will surely be missed, the Ducks welcomed back one player who has a high ceiling and a long career ahead: N’Faly Dante.

The 6-foot-11 freshman center is coming off knee tendinitis. The last time he suited up for the Ducks was back on January 18 at the Washington Huskies up in Seattle. 

In his first game back, he jogged onto the court with a limited minutes restriction and a warm cheer from the Oregon faithful. Although Dante finished with zero points and two rebounds in five minutes played, he sheer presence alone on the court draws eyes inwards and leave shooters open on the perimeter.

You see him double teamed, teams really playing him hard. Dante is really skilled at that. Cause troubles offensively and defensively. We lose one, we get another one, it’s okay. — Francis Okoro said with a big smile on his face

We got him four, five minutes and that was all I planned on. He wanted to play more, but he hadn’t practiced much. Just wanted to get him started, get him back on the floor. Hopefully he’ll have a good week here. — Dana Altman

This one game weekend comes at an optimal time for Oregon. 

Not only do the Ducks have two days off (according to Dana Altman who “threatened” the team if they lost to have them practice the next few days), but they have an entire week to rest and recover and finish on a strong note. In their final regular season series, Oregon will host Cal (12-16, 6-9 Pac-12) and Stanford (19-9, 8-7 Pac-12) both middle tier teams in the Pac-12 conference. 

Dante will be needed against both the Bears and Cardinal who took advantage of Oregon’s smaller forwards the last time these teams met. Having Duarte back would be huge too, if the doctors say so.

Although Dante played just five minutes against Oregon State on Thursday night, he’s just getting his feet wet.

Instant Analysis: No. 14 Oregon Ducks snap losing streak to Oregon State Beavers

Instant Analysis: No. 14 Oregon Ducks snap losing streak to Oregon State Beavers

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks (22-7,11-5 Pac-12) kept Pac-12 Championship aspirations alive by defeating their rival, the Oregon State Beavers (15-13, 5-11 Pac-12), 69-54 at Mathew Knight Arena. 

The Ducks may have been without starting guard Chris Duarte, but welcomed five-star center N'Faly Dante back into the lineup. 

After a back-and-forth first half the Ducks closed the half strong on a 10-4 run to take a four-point lead into the locker room. 

Payton Pritchard led the way for the Ducks with 23 points, including 5-9 from three. Ethan Thompson had 15 for the Beavers, including 5-6 shooting in the first half. 

Let's break it down.

West Linn produces some ballers

Just like old times for the backcourt duo of Payton Pritchard and Anthony Mathis.

The former West Linn Lions won multiple state championships together and have natural chemistry with one another. The Beavers' zone defense leaves the corners open; a deadly sin when the Ducks have a three-point specialist like Mathis who made one from each corner within a few minutes of each other late in the first half. 

Pritchard did Pritchard-like things as he gets one game closer to winning Pac-12 Player of the Year a season after not even being named to an All-Pac-12 team or receiving an honorable mention. 

Beavers failed to exploit the Ducks' zone defense

Dana Altman's zone defense has been a thorn in the side of the Pac-12 for years, but the Beavers had an opportunity to exploit it in wake of Duarte's injury.

The Beavers needed to take advantage of the Duck's zone defense to get one of their guards on Tinkle in the post. That would have forced a double team which means someone is open, or Tinkle would have a matchup advantage. When the Ducks played all of Pritchard, Mathis, and Richardson, there was no reason to exploit that matchup with the 6-foot-7 Tinkle. If the center moves over to double team the 7-foot Kylor Kelley will be open for a lob nearly every time. 

N'Faly Dante passes the eye test

Duck fans were eager to see the five-star recruit back on the court after missing the last ten games with a knee injury. And he delivered.

The 6-foot-11 freshman drew a charge, had a nice assist to Addison Patterson, and stripped the ball in his first stint back that lasted 3:43. He also showed fluid movement and energy that Oregon will need from their center to make noise in the NCAA Tournament. 

Next up: Both the Ducks and Beavers will host Cal and Stanford to conclude the regular season starting March 5th. 

Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte has procedure on broken finger

Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte has procedure on broken finger

The Oregon Ducks (21-7, 10-5 Pac-12) will not be at full strength again against their rival, the Oregon State Beavers (15-12, 5-10 Pac-12).

According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte will not play against the Beavers in the second leg of the Civil War series due to a hand injury.

The Ducks guard had been dealing with a finger injury on his shooting hand since the last game against the Beavers. As Matt Prehm of DucksTerritory points out, his shooting has dipped significantly since.

Duarte has been averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Ducks. He's been one of the team's main offensive threats and has won them games such as against USC when he exploded for 30 points in a double-overtime thriller. 

In the last game against Oregon State, the Ducks were without centers Francis Okoro and N'Faly Dante; both of which will be back tonight. 

Update: The University of Oregon has announced that Ducks shooting guard Chris Duarte has had a procedure to fix a broken finger in his right hand. Duarte originally injured the finger in practice the week of the Oregon State game in Corvallis and played the last five games with the injury. “Chris really tried to tough it out and play through the injury,” said head coach Dana Altman.

Troy Dye will not participate in drills at NFL Scouting Combine

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Troy Dye will not participate in drills at NFL Scouting Combine

Troy Dye is full of heart, grit and toughness. 

The Oregon Ducks leading tackler and former defensive captain not only played with a broken thumb, but also a partially torn meniscus in his right knee for four games of the season. 

The injury occurred on November 16th during the Ducks 34-6 win over Arizona.

“I thought it was the equivalent of a minor sprain or something,” Dye told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I got an MRI on it and didn't think anything was really wrong with it. So if they say it was good I'm gonna keep playing.” 

Dye finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Most importantly, he helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 and Rose Bowl victory. 

Dye underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage last month.

“[They] went in scooped it out and got it cleaned,” Dye said. 

Because of the injury and the subsequent procedure, Dye will not be participating in any drills. He will have the opportunity to speak with teams, however. 

“I’ll do all my stuff at the pro day just to be 100-percent full go and put up the numbers that I know I can put up.”

Oregon’s Pro Day is scheduled for March 12th in Eugene. 

Oregon OL Jake Hanson transforms body, showcases strength at NFL Combine

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Oregon OL Jake Hanson transforms body, showcases strength at NFL Combine

It appears Jake Hanson’s training for the NFL Draft is paying off. 

The former Oregon offensive lineman completed a total of 33 reps overall during the bench press at the NFL Combine on Thursday. The bench press is a test of strength where players attempt to get as many reps as possible. 

Here's a look at Hanson's bench press performance: 

According to Oregon football, Hanson's 33 reps are the second-most by an Oregon offensive lineman at the combine. The current record for bench press is held by Oregon State’s Stephen Paea, who had 49 in 2011.

Rather than play in any of the college all-star games, like his teammates Justin Herbert and Calvin Throckmorton, Hanson decided to focus on his training right away. He began working out at O-Line Performance in Phoenix, Arizona and weighed in at 303 pounds at the NFL Combine this week,11 more pounds than he did at the start of his training

You can read more about Hanson's draft stock, as well as his strengths and weaknesses, as he prepares for the NFL Draft in April in our NFL Combine profile here

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Jake Hanson

NFL Combine Profile: Oregon OL Jake Hanson

Jake Hanson

Position: Center  
Year: Senior
Hometown: Eureka, California

Measurables: 

Height: 6’4 3/8" 

Weight: 303 pounds

Hand: 9 2/8"

Arm: 32 6/8

Wingspan: 78

Bench press reps: 33

Overview

Hanson played in 50 career games for the Ducks, starting 49 times. He’s proven to be someone Oregon can rely on and a true leader amongst his teammates. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound center shows lateral agility, experience, pass protection and a raw athleticism in zone-blocking schemes. 

At Oregon, Hanson was named AP Pac-12 All-Conference second team during his junior and senior year. The Ducks offensive line, which included Hanson, was named the best o-line in college football, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Hanson received an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl but elected to begin his preparation for the 2020 NFL Combine instead. He will be a good fit for an NFL offense that uses zone runs and screen passes. 

Draft projections

Hanson was initially projected to be a second or third-round pick in April’s draft. Most mock drafts now show him as a fourth-round selection.  

Strengths

- Snapping with the quarterback under center 
- Quick hands
- Leadership, good communication with teammates

Weaknesses

- Snapping with the quarterback under center 
- Lack of side-to-side mobility 
- Heavy-footed 

Social media workouts

Hanson has been working out alongside Ducks offensive lineman Shane Lemieux in Chandler, Arizona at OL Performance, the research and developmental partner of the NFL. 



NFL Combine profile: Oregon WR Juwan Johnson

NFL Combine profile: Oregon WR Juwan Johnson

Juwan Johnson

Position: Wide receiver 
Year: Grad transfer
Hometown: Glassboro, New Jersey

Measurables: 

Height: 6’4

Weight: 230 pounds

Hand: 10 4/8"

Arm: 34 2/8

Wingspan: 81 5/8

Bench press: 14 reps

Vertical jump: 33

Broad jump: 124

Overview

Oregon wide receiver Juwan Johnson walked off the field on New Years Day a two-time Rose Bowl Champion.

The graduate transfer from Penn State used up his final year of eligibility this past season in Eugene with 30 receptions for 467 yards and four touchdowns. At Penn State, Johnson accumulated 1,053 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

The 6-foot-4, 231-pound receiver recently accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Bowl, where he garnered attention from Giants and Chiefs scouts following practices.

Draft projections

Mock drafts predict Johnson will go as early as the sixth round to undrafted. He’s most likely to hear his name called Day 3 of April’s NFL Draft.

Strengths

- Large body frame for shielding defenders
- Experience
- Presents a size mismatch for opposing teams
- Nifty route-running ability

Weaknesses

- Long speed
- Needs to continue developing skillset

Social media workouts

Johnson’s posted a few photos and videos from his workouts to social media recently, including one with former Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

View this post on Instagram

Receptions, no stats

A post shared by Juwan Johnson (@juju__84) on

View this post on Instagram

Durag, no waves

A post shared by Juwan Johnson (@juju__84) on

NFL Combine profile: Oregon TE Jacob Breeland

NFL Combine profile: Oregon TE Jacob Breeland

Jacob Breeland

Position: Tight end
Year: Redshirt senior
Hometown: Mission Viejo, California

Measurables: 

Height: 6’4 7/8" 

Weight: 252 

Hand: 9 7/8"

Arm: 32 5/8

Wingspan: 78 1/8

Overview

Breeland was primed for a breakout season in 2019, but the Ducks leading pass catcher suffered a knee injury against Colorado which prematurely ended his senior campaign. He finished with a career-high 26 receptions for 405 yards and six touchdowns.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was named to the Phil Steele Pac-12 All-Conference third team, Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention and Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention during his sophomore year.

Draft projections

Breeland was projected as a first round pick prior to his injury, but has not been featured in mock drafts since.

NFL comparison:

Jake McGee

Strengths

- Vertical receiving threat
- Ball skills
- Flexibility

Weaknesses

- Athleticism
- Ineffective blocker
- Return from injury a concern

Please note: Breeland is not expected to workout at the NFL Combine due to his recovery from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. James Crepea of The Oregonian reported that Breeland has an estimated two months of recovery time before he returns to the field. 

Social media workouts

Breeland hired agent Priority Sports to represent him as he prepares for the NFL Draft.

Report: Former Oregon LB Troy Dye played multiple games with torn meniscus

Report: Former Oregon LB Troy Dye played multiple games with torn meniscus

Troy Dye, the Oregon Ducks leading tackler and former defensive captain, just proved he's not just mentally tough, but physically tough too. 

After suffering a broken thumb vs. Washington, in which he had it put in a cast, then broke the cast and finished the game with all while blood trickled down his arm in a post-game interview, James Crepea of The Oregonian revealed Dye also played with torn meniscus in the Rose Bowl.

Teammate Jordon Scott, however, says Dye actually had the meniscus injury for more than a game.

“Last 4-5*,” Scott corrected.

That means Dye could have been playing with the torn meniscus dating back to early November. This might provide some explanation for why Dye pulled out of the Senior Bowl a week before the event.

Despite his pain, Dye never missed a practice at Oregon and was available during open periods of practice leading up to the Rose Bowl. 

As a four-year starter, Dye helped take a 4-8 team in 2016, that was without a bowl game, to a 12-2 season his senior year, which included a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. Dye finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. 

Dye is anticipated to be a Day 2 selection in the NFL Draft come April. Whether he will be able to participate in the NFL Combine and take part in any on-field drills or tests this week, remains unknown.