Senior Ugo Amadi likes sending Oregon fans into a frenzy.
Autzen Stadium roared when Amadi scored the first touchdown of the game against UCLA; a dazzling 56-yard punt return taken to the house.
Last month at California, the ball-hawk stunned with two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
He is the only player in the nation with a punt return for a touchdown and a pick-six. After each, he earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
So basically, when Amadi scores a touchdown, he gets recognized. However, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal thinks Amadi deserves more acknowledgement.
“I hope that he is further recognized as one of the best players in the country," Cristobal said. "Because what he has brought to the table, the multiple positions he plays on defense, what he has done on special teams, not only as a returner but on coverage units as well, it has changed us. It really has.”
Cristobal laughed and continued to say he would try to talk Amadi into returning kickoffs as well.
Amadi has become Oregon’s main punt returner this season averaging 24.8 yards on eight returns, only after he suggested the new position to coaches in the offseason. He isn’t laughing about the idea of increasing his role to include kickoff returns. On the contrary, he continues to shove his high school film in front of Cristobal to pitch the idea. Will he get his chance this Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah?
“Not yet. It’s in the works,” Cristobal said. “(Amadi) is very capable. He’s made sure I go back and watch his high school film again, for the 18th time, so that I see that he has the skills to do so. He’d be excellent at it.”
Jury is still out on if Amadi should add the salesman title to his resume. According to nose tackle Jordon Scott, Amadi is most likely to be a magician.
Amadi agreed because he is “always doing something out of the ordinary.”
The senior certainly likes to delight an audience. Amadi put on a show last season against Utah, in perhaps the best play of his junior year. He punched the ball away from former Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington and ran it back 47 yards for the touchdown.
This week, the Ducks and Amadi face a tough road game at Utah, who is tied for first in the Pac-12 South Division with a 4-3 conference record. The Utes have a run-heavy offense and an NFL-caliber running back in Zack Moss that will challenge Oregon’s front seven. However, a report just came out that Moss is out for the rest of the season.
Amadi or the “quarterback of the defense” as Cristobal calls him, will be as integral as ever for Oregon. The Ducks will need their leader to halt a two-game road losing streak.
Will Duck fans explode with noise due to another Amadi sparked play? With just three Pac-12 conference games left in his college career, who knows what else Amadi has up his sleeve.