Camden Lewis

Say a little prayer, win a big game --- Camden Lewis comes up big for Oregon

Say a little prayer, win a big game --- Camden Lewis comes up big for Oregon

With 34 seconds remaining on the clock and Oregon's hopes of snapping a four-year losing streak vs. Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars laying in the balance, there was a moment of calm. A game winning field goal was pending as Oregon ran the ball to the WSU six yard line then centered the ball at the eight, trailing by a single point. 

Thomas Graham Jr. embraced freshman kicker Camden Lewis on the sideline and prayed. 

The story writes itself from there. The freshman kicker drove home the 26 yard field goal and the madness ensued. 

After the game, Justin Herbert gave praise to his kicker on TV, just as Coach Mario Cristobal did in the press room:

“He went in there cool as can be and got it done.”

It was a storybook ending to a drama-filled game and what better way than a freshman kicker, at home, in front of a packed Autzen Stadium to bring home the win?

Graham Jr. tweeted after the game:

Oregon will head to USC next for a 5pm kickoff on Saturday, November 2nd. For now, Lewis and Graham Jr. will enjoy the excitement of the moment, but will not forget the moment before the moment. 

Why Oregon's highest-rated recruiting class is impressing and concerning

Why Oregon's highest-rated recruiting class is impressing and concerning

Oregon’s highest-ever rated recruiting class didn’t just make history, it filled position needs with top talent with lofty expectations of making an immediate impact.  Some of those expectations are being exceeded and some are not.

Whether it be sacks, interceptions, catches, kicks, sharing reps, asking the right questions or pushing veterans, the young Ducks have already began their impact on the 2019 Oregon football team. 

 “I’m very impressed by how smart this freshmen class is as a whole in the game of football,” said junior cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. “Their football IQ is very, very high.”

Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal literally brought out a paper list after the first fall camp practice of freshmen capable of making an impact in their first season. Cristobal’s list included Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mase Funa, Josh Delgado, Mykael Wright, DJ James, Jamal Hill, Sean Dollars, Trikweze Bridges, Isaac Townsend, Brandon Dorlus, Kristian Williams, Patrick Herbert and Mycah Pittman.

In the first four games, which of those true freshmen have transitioned smoothly and lived up to the high expectations?

IMPRESSING

The highest ranked linebacker recruit in school history, Funa is already making an impact and providing highlights for Oregon. The Mater Dei High School alum is the only freshman to have two sacks in a game this season in the FBS, leading the Ducks and nation’s freshmen in sacks (three) and tackles for loss (five).

He’s comfortable in Andy Avalos’ STUD position because it is a similar position to what he played in high school. Although, Funa played at 245 pounds in high school and is currently at 268 pounds after missing his senior season with an injury. His goal is to get closer to 255 pounds, which the 6-foot-2 freshman feels most natural at.

"He's got a lot pent up now," Cristobal said. "He missed his entire senior season due to injury. This is his first action in over a year. It's impressive to see what he's done so far, but again, his best football is ahead of him."

Already totaling nine tackles, I believe Funa will continue to have success this season in the hybrid linebacker/defensive end position backing up senior Bryson Young.

Wright, 2019’s top-ranked cornerback in the nation by ESPN, has earned the nickname “silent assassin” on the Oregon football team. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback doesn’t talk much but humble confidence has turned heads and earned the respect from his teammates.

“Mykael Wright, he’s been pushing me for reps,” said junior cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. “And I want him to do that, I want him to get reps because at the end of the day I want him to get in games. I feel he will be a freshman All-American.”

Backing up Graham Jr., Wright’s limited reps have been impressive. His potential shined against Montana when he picked off his first career pass, made three tackles and two pass break ups.

Delgado has been apart of Oregon's regular wide receiver rotation this season with the mounting injuries at the position. The former four-star recruit is the only true freshman who earned a start in the season opener vs. Auburn and has proven to be reliable. He’s caught a pass in every game so far this season, totaling seven receptions for 86 yards.

PENDING

Realistically, while a few freshmen have emerged ready from the start, others will take a little more time to adjust to the college pace.

Cristobal named Thibodeaux a “game changer” from the moment he committed to the Ducks. ESPN's No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class set a goal of 10 sacks every season. After completing non-conference play without a sack, he notched his first (assisted) sack on Saturday against Stanford.

Thibodeaux has appeared in all four games and is seeing his role increase each week. At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, he’s an elite pass rusher with explosiveness, scary speed and agility that creates major chaos… it feels like his breakout game is coming.

Pittman, who was expected to contribute or possibly start this season, has been sidelined with a shoulder injury for the beginning of the season. Before the injury, he was turning heads and splitting first team reps at slot receiver. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation

The initial 6-8 weeks projection would mark Pittman healthy as early as Oregon’s game against Cal on Saturday, Oct. 5.

Dollars and Patrick Herbert were both named by Cristobal as Ducks who broke loose in practice and in the mix to get in the rotations at running back and tight end, respectively.

Dollars is the highest rated running back on Oregon's 2019 roster and the nation's No.1 all-purpose back, per 247sports. While the Ducks have a plethora of options at the position, UO has struggled to successfully run the ball, leaving Dollars with little contributions and opportunity so far. Dollars has only played in two games, against Nevada and Montana and totaled 81 rushing yards on seven carries with two receptions. Will he get more reps or will he burn his redshirt?

Patrick Herbert has only appeared in the Nevada game and has not caught a pass from brother, senior quarterback Justin Herbert. Will the two connect as Ducks before Justin Herbert moves on to the NFL? To be determined…

CONCERNING

The Ducks have yet to score a field goal in their first four games. Former five-star prospect Lewis is 0-for-2 on both attempts that were less than 30-yards out: missing against Auburn and Stanford. The second missed kick was caused from a bad snap.

Oregon is utilizing Lewis for kickoffs, point-after attempts, and field goals. He’s nailed all his extra points but it’s less than ideal that Lewis hasn’t seen the ball go through the uprights for a field goal through the first four games. Lewis is the only remaining scholarship placekicker for the Ducks after Adam Stack elected to transfer. 

 

By the way, eight true freshmen have played in all four games and would burn their redshirt if they appear in the Ducks’ upcoming game against No. 15 California at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Autzen Stadium. After a peek into Oregon’s not-so-far-off future, are you impressed with the 2019 class?

How Oregon’s highest-rated recruiting class is making an impact through four games

How Oregon’s highest-rated recruiting class is making an impact through four games

Oregon’s highest-ever rated recruiting class didn’t just make history, it filled position needs with top talent with lofty expectations of making an immediate impact.  Some of those expectations are being exceeded and some are yet to be determined.

In Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal’s two seasons as head coach, the Ducks have signed 21 ESPN300 recruits, which is the same total as the previous five years (2013-17) combined. The 2019 class finished No. 7 by 247Sports, the highest in program history.

Cristobal’s recruiting prowess is evident but have the Ducks reaped the benefits yet? After Oregon’s first four games, let’s check in on the true freshmen. The Ducks have played sixteen members of the 23 true freshmen the Ducks signed in the 2019 recruiting class. Are they living up to the lofty expectations? Does the future of the program look to be in capable hands?

REDSHIRT STATUS

If you aren’t familiar with the new redshirt rule established in 2018 by the NCAA, college football players can play up to four games in a season and still redshirt without burning a year of eligibility. College football players are granted five years to complete four seasons of eligibility.

Eight true freshmen have played in all four games and would burn their redshirt if they appear in the Ducks’ upcoming game against No. 15 California at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Autzen Stadium.

  • Wide receiver Josh Delgado (one start vs. Auburn)
  • Outside linebacker Mase Funa (one start vs. Montana)
  • Cornerback Mykael Wright
  • Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux
  • Kicker Camden Lewis
  • Cornerback DJ James
  • Safety Jamal Hill
  • Inside linebacker Ge’Mon Eaford

I would expect each of the eight Ducks listed to play and burn their redshirt this season. Funa, Wright, Thibodeaux, James, Hill and Eaford have stepped into defensive roles to bolster the depth while also making crucial plays. With multiple injuries at wide receiver, Delgado is the only true freshman who earned a start in the season opener vs. Auburn and has proven to be reliable. Lewis is the only remaining scholarship placekicker for the Ducks after Adam Stack elected to transfer.

(More on the most concerning and impressive true freshmen)

ROUNDING OUT THE REST OF THE CLASS

Played in three games:

  • Defensive tackle Keyon Ware-Hudson (Nevada, Montana, Stanford)
  • Defensive tackle Brandon Dorlus (Nevada, Montana, Stanford)

Played in two games:

  • Running back Sean Dollars (Nevada, Montana)
  • Defensive tackle Kristian Williams (Nevada, Montana)

Played in one game:

  • Cornerback Trikweze Bridges (Montana)
  • Offensive lineman Jonah Tauanu’u (Montana)
  • Tight end Patrick Herbert (Nevada)
  • Defensive tackle Sua’ava Poti (Nevada)

TO BE DETERMINED

Freshmen who have yet to play:

  • Wide receiver Mycah Pittman (shoulder injury, could return for Cal game)
  • Wide receiver Lance Wilhoite (hamstring injury)
  • Wide receiver JR Waters (season ending injury, will redshirt)
  • Quarterback Cale Millen
  • Running back Jayvaun Wilson
  • Running back Cross Patton
  • Safety Max Wysocki
  • Outside linebacker Treven Ma’ae
  • Tight end Tyler Nanney
  • Offensive lineman Cole Young
  • Outside linebacker Isaac Townsend

 

NEXT: Most concerning and impressive true freshmen

Kicker Adam Stack to transfer plus changes to Oregon's week three depth chart

Kicker Adam Stack to transfer plus changes to Oregon's week three depth chart

After a demolishing victory in Oregon’s home opener over Nevada, there are a few updates to the Ducks’ week three depth chart.

Notably, freshman Camden Lewis is listed as starter for both placekicker and kickoffs. Lewis beat out Adam Stack, who started for Oregon in 2018, for both positions.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal announced that Stack will transfer from the Oregon football program and the coaching staff will help the kicker to land somewhere.

As a sophomore last season, Stack converted 6-of-10 field goal attempts with a long of 39 yards.

For the third straight week, wide receiver Juwan Johnson is listed as a starter but Cristobal said there is a  "50-50" chance he will play. Tight end Cam McCormick is "close to getting back". 

Oregon (1-1) will face the Montana Grizzlies (2-0) at 7:45 p.m. in Autzen Stadium in its final non-conference game.

Beyond the rankings; Oregon football fills needs with historical 2019 recruiting class

Beyond the rankings; Oregon football fills needs with historical 2019 recruiting class

Oregon’s 2019 highest-rated recruiting class didn’t just make history; it filled position needs with top talent that could make an impact as early as next season.

The Ducks' recruiting class is ranked fifth in the country and for the first time ever, holds a firm grip on the Pac-12 Conference's top football recruiting class. As Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said, it’s an “awesome day to be a Duck.”

You knew that though.

[RELATED: Oregon football's best recruiting weapon: Mario Cristobal's authenticity]

It’s incredible that Oregon collected a pool of talent of 22 new Ducks, including the program's highest-rated recruit in program history and 11 four-star athletes, after a predictable 8-4 season. Cristobal expects 12 or 13 to enroll early and be on campus for spring football practices. Most impressively, the 2019 class is full of athletes that are seriously needed when looking at the roster for next season.

NEEDS

Let’s start with the quarterback.

Justin Herbert’s decision to turn professional or not most likely won’t be known until after Oregon’s bowl game. Regardless if Herbert stays for his senior season or not, the Ducks needed to secure a quality 2019 quarterback and Cale Millen was the their answer.

6-foot-4, 200-pound Millen competed in the Elite-11, a quarterback-focused camp held by Nike, and led the state of Washington with 4,260 total yards as a senior. His size and arm should excite Duck fans. He completed 75.9 percent of his passes for 3,807 yards with 51 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a senior. 

Oregon’s current backup quarterbacks were underwhelming this season. If Herbert forgoes his senior year, then Millen would be part of a three-player position battle starting next fall with Tyler Shough and Braxton Burmeister.

Should Herbert return for his senior year, Millen would be a lock to redshirt in 2019 and then compete to be Oregon’s starting quarterback in 2020.

“I felt that I was needed more at Oregon rather than just kind of being another guy filling a spot,” Millen told the Register Guard. "At other schools it was kind of, ‘Oh, we need a quarterback for the class, let’s take him.’ At Oregon, I felt like it wasn’t just filling a position. It was, ‘We need you here.’"

Receivers

2018 was the Dillon Mitchell show, and the junior wide receiver is considering striking while the iron is hot and declaring for the NFL. Should he choose to declare, Oregon's receiving corps would severely miss Mitchell. UO's second returning receiver, sophomore Jaylon Redd, has less than half of Mitchell's receptions and yards with 368 yards on 31 catches. 

The Ducks needed talented pass catchers in the 2019 class and they signed four, four-star receivers and one underrated three-star athlete. There are at least two commits that could conceivably make an impact as soon as next season. 

Four-star wide receiver Mycah Pittman is the third-highest rated wide receiver to ever sign with the Ducks. 5-foot-11, 200-pound Pittman is the type of talent that could step in from the start. Pittman has strong hands, a running back body and excels at getting separation. He also could make an impact on special teams. Cristobal called him, "an explosive and strong route runner.”

The lone in-state prospect, four-star tight end Patrick Herbert, also could contribute right away. He is the fourth highest-ranked tight end prospect to ever sign with Oregon and the little brother of quarterback Justin Herbert. At 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Herbert’s strength is catching the ball in traffic.

Running back

Speaking of offensive weapons, 2018 saw the emergence of Ducks duo CJ Verdell and Travis Dye, who will be excellent for years to come. But beyond those two freshmen, Oregon’s depth is very limited at the running back position.

Enter Sean Dollars. “You name it, he can do it,” Cristobal said.

Dollars, 247Sports’ top ranked all-purpose running back, has an opportunity to make an instant impact. The four-star out of Mater Dei High School is a workhorse, every-down type of back that can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Look for Dollars to enter the rotation as a freshman.

Linemen

“We’re going to keep investing in the trenches,” said Cristobal. And he wasn’t kidding.

The Ducks are set to return all five starters from this year's offensive line for next season, but bolstered their roster with the nation's best junior college offensive lineman, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. He's the fifth-highest rated offensive lineman to ever sign with Oregon. At 6-foot-7, 345 pounds, Aumavae-Laulu will push competition for a starting position, and at the very least, see minutes in rotation. 

Oregon’s pass rush will lose two leaders in Justin Hollins and Jalen Jelks to graduation. But no fear, Kayvon Thibodeaux, the top-rated high school player in the country is here! Thibodeaux will compete for a starting job from day one and should be an immediate impact player. Oregon recruited him to play defensive end. Listed at 6-foot-5, 234 pounds, he’s an elite pass rusher with scary speed and agility that creates major issues for offensive lines.

Inside Linebacker

At inside linebacker, Oregon loses senior Kaulana Apelu and possibly junior Troy Dye, if he elects to go to the NFL. The Ducks signed a four-star linebacker that could jump in right away at the rather thin position. 

Mase Funa is the highest-rated linebacker to sign with the Ducks in program history. Cristobal referred to Funa as "hands down the best linebacker out there." Funa’s strength and great instincts could make an impact right away for the Ducks.

Kicker

Oregon did not have a reliable option when it came to field goals last season. Sophomore Adam Stack struggled, finishing 6-of-10 from 40 yards-or-more this season.

Oregon’s first national letter of intent came from three-star place kicker Camden Lewis. Lewis has elite leg strength and performs under pressure. Scouting reports say Lewis is college ready. Cristobal says he will “elevate competition” at kicker. It’s extremely possible that Lewis is Oregon’s answer to its field goal problem. 

AREA OF CONCERN

Safety 

Oregon will need to replace major playmaker senior Ugo Amadi at safety in 2019. Who will step up? This has yet to be determined, but the Ducks signed only one safety during the early signing period. Oregon wanted to sign three prospects but whiffed on Jeremiah Criddell, who switched his commitment from Oregon to Oklahoma, and junior college safety Quandre Mosely, who was considering Oregon, but later signed with Kentucky. 

Between now and February’s Signing Day, Oregon will have to re-evaluate their options at safety for the 2019 class.

BONUS!

Cornerback

Oregon’s Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham were impressive in 2018. The duo returns and will be pushed by the highest-rated cornerback to sign with Oregon in history, Mykael Wright. Wright is extremely physical and excels in open field tackling. Look for the four star to make an impact in the rotation as a freshman.

Which new Duck do you think will make the biggest impact for Oregon next season?