Johnny Johnson III

With a chip on his shoulder, CJ Verdell isn’t done yet

With a chip on his shoulder, CJ Verdell isn’t done yet

PASADENA, CALIF.- Oregon running back CJ Verdell plays football with one motto in mind, something his Dad told him when he was young: Be the hammer, not the nail.

Which would explain the edge the sophomore runs with that caused Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, the nation’s top running back, to say that Verdell “runs like he’s angry.”

Mad or not, Verdell is not done. He’s made that much clear, by saying he is “definitely” returning for his redshirt-junior season. It never crossed Verdell’s mind to test the NFL waters because he feels he has a lot more to give to the Oregon football program. Now, he’s got a Rose Bowl date with No. 8 Wisconsin and their 8th ranked rushing defense.

[RELATED: Bonded as Oregon greats, LaMichael James says CJ Verdell's Pac-12 title performance tops his own]

When facing that nation’s No. 1 rushing defense in Utah, who allowed an average of 56 yards per game, Verdell rushed for 208 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns to become the Pac-12 title MVP.

Junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson III smiled as he shared a story about his teammates relentlessness:

We leaned on him, we knew someone was going to have to make a big play. CJ Verdell came through. He’s never satisfied. Even after he makes a huge play, I’m coming up to him on the sideline, I’m talking to him about it and all he ever says is ‘I’m not done yet… We just started.’ -Johnny Johnson III

Verdell felt like he had something to prove against Utah and he feels the same underdog mentality heading into the “Granddaddy of them all”.

Let the other guys get all the attention. That way when we do make noise, it'll be a big surprise to everybody… I’d gladly take that title of underdog.- CJ Verdell

This season, Verdell became the fifth running back in Oregon history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. His impact on the offense isn't overlooked by quarterback Justin Herbert, who singled him out when asked about how the Duck offense finds success:

That guy sitting right there (points at Verdell) is special, and I know any time we hand him the ball, throw him the ball, he's going to do something really special about it. Especially having an offensive line like we have blocking for him and leading the way for him, it's been a lot of fun, and it's been an honor to play next to him. –Justin Herbert

Herbert, Verdell and the entire Duck football team spent a day at Disneyland as part of their pre-Rose Bowl tour of Southern California. Verdell, the Mater Dei High School graduate, hadn’t been back since his grad night, but identified his favorite ride immediately: The Guardians of the Galaxy (formerly the Tower of Terror). It’s a high-speed elevator attraction with g-forces that will make your voice hoarse the next day. Verdell said “you can’t beat” that butterfly feeling in your stomach.

The combination of the chip on Verdell’s shoulder and his love for adrenaline serve him well on the football field. The downhill runner excels at making defenders miss with great change of direction and can be patient in the hole.

Verdell can do it all, which is what the Ducks are counting on come January 1, in the 106th Rose Bowl.

Oregon wide receiver Johnny Johnson III has caught Wisconsin’s attention

Oregon wide receiver Johnny Johnson III has caught Wisconsin’s attention

Oregon junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson III, quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Troy Dye were some of the last Ducks to leave Disneyland, as part of their pre-Rose Bowl tour of Southern California.

It’s fitting that Johnson III’s favorite ride was California Adventure’s The Incredicoaster: a high-speed, thrill ride that chases The Incredibles’ character Jack-Jack through big drops and crazy routes.

In the 106th Rose Bowl, No. 8 Wisconsin’s defense is prepping for a similar mad dash to keep up with Johnson III, who has been on a late-season surge.

Badgers starting cornerback Faion Hicks singled out Johnson III as what makes him most excited for in the “Granddaddy of them All”.

Oregon’s receiver, No. 3, he's a good playmaker. He shows up every game. It's going to be fun going against him. –Faion Hicks

Wednesday will be Johnson III’s last game with Herbert slinging him the ball. The connection between the two has been entertaining to watch, particularly in the past four games where Johnson III has totaled 24 catches for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

When it comes to explosion plays, Johnson III has become Herbert’s go-to. In the last four games, the duo have connected seven times for 25-plus yards, including a 45-yard touchdown reception in Oregon’s Pac-12 Championship victory.

Johnson III is just as consistent as he is exciting. 37 of his 55 receptions in 2019 have gone for first downs. He’s leading the Ducks with 818 yards, nearly quadrupling his total from 2018 (215 yards). What led to his remarkable improvement?

A lot of good habits. A lot of doing the right things and never eliminating doing the little things because that's what keeps you consistent. –Johnny Johnson III

Wisconsin starting safety Eric Burrell was surprised at Oregon’s physicality within the receiving corps.

They aren’t afraid to block. When I look at receivers to game plan, I want to see what their favorite thing is to do. Oregon’s receivers all want to block. That’s good for us. We just have to do a good job at getting off the receivers to make the tackles.  -Eric Burrell

Johnson III takes pride in competing to be the most physical Duck receiver.

We have a knock down list for that week. We always try to get people on the ground. –Johnny Johnson III

No, the list doesn’t compete with Oregon’s exponentially larger offensive line’s knock down list. However right now, Bryan Addison is in the lead with Juwan Johnson and Johnny Johnson III right behind.

Juwan and Johnny have a history of competing and making bets together. In their last game as teammates, they will be vying to get the most touchdowns in the Rose Bowl.

The Rose Bowl is a prime occasion for Herbert to air it out against a Wisconsin secondary that has been inconsistent at times. It’s a substantial opportunity for Johnson III to resume his dominance in the biggest game of his Duck career, where big plays could be the difference maker.

Three keys for the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Championship

Three keys for the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Championship

Friday’s battle between No. 13 Oregon (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) and No. 5 Utah (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) for the Pac-12 Conference crown is bound to be intense with major post-season implications. 

The Ducks still have a chance at playing in the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 Conference champions (among another option). Standing in their way? The Utes, packed with experienced offensive weapons, one of the toughest defenses in the nation and imminent College Football Playoff dreams.

AN OREGON WIN WOULD…

·      Tie Oregon with Stanford for most Pac-12 Championship Game victories (3).

·      Clinch the program's eighth appearance in the Rose Bowl.

·      Give Oregon seven seasons with 11 or more wins (first time since 2014).


A UTAH WIN WOULD…

·      Be Utah’s first conference championship.

·      Extend its winning streak to nine games, their longest winning streak since 2008 when Utah went undefeated (13-0).

·      Keep its college football playoff hopes alive.

THREE KEYS TO AN OREGON VICTORY

Oregon can hang with anyone when they put it all together but how can they defeat a Utes team looking for a statement win to display to the College Football Playoff rankings committee?

1. Shake up Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley

Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Huntley is dangerous and experienced. The senior is crazy efficient (has completed 75.5% of his passes, which is second behind LSU’s Joe Burrow) averaging 11.1 passing yards per completion, a Pac-12 best and third in the FBS. 

Huntley and Burrow are the only two quarterbacks who have thrown under 70 percent in two or less games. They are also the only quarterbacks that have thrown for 80 percent or higher in four games this season.

The Heisman-Trophy candidate also has 74 carries for 255 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

“Huntley runs that offense like he’s been there for four years because he has been. We’re looking forward to playing against them,” senior linebacker Troy Dye said.
Oregon must disrupt Huntley and the ball-controlling Utes. The Duck defense has been mostly dependable this season, allowing 10 points or fewer in seven of 10 games. The Ducks have recorded a conference-best 35 sacks and will need to continue to play to that strength.

Look for starting defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux to have a major impact. The freshman has heated up in the last four games, totaling eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Coming off a two tackles for loss, one sack performance, Thibodeaux matched a program freshman record with 6.5 sacks on the season, tying Troy Dye’s 2016 total. Entering this season, Thibodeaux’s goal was 10 sacks: an accomplishment still in reach.

2. Win the turnover battle

The rainy, windy conditions in a clash between the most physical teams in the conference could lead to some mistakes and sloppy play. Oregon must be on the winning end of the turnover battle to contend against Utah. The Ducks practiced with a wet ball this week and aren’t overly concerned with “mother nature”. Some numbers to consider:

  • Keep Utah’s defense out of the end zone- The Utes defense has five touchdowns this season, ranking second in the FBS.
  • Oregon ranks first (17) and Utah (13) ranks second in interceptions.
  • Utah is 10th in FBS in turnover margin (0.83).
  • Oregon has scored 113 points off turnovers compared to opponents' 27 points off turnovers.
  • This season against Pac-12 teams, Oregon is undefeated when winning the turnover battle (4-0).

3. Passing game success

Utah is known for its defense, which is giving up a conference-best 11.3 points (third in the nation) and 56.3 yards rushing (first in the nation) on average. Opponents haven’t found an answer to the Utes rushing defense that is allowing an average of 2.26 yards per carry. The Utes have held 11 of their 12 opponents to under 100 yards rushing.

So likely, the Ducks will have to get it done through the passing game.

This is considerable reason for concern regarding Oregon’s offense, which has struggled in the last two games. After quarterback Jusin Herbert threw two interceptions against Arizona State, the Ducks totaled their lowest yardage of the season against Oregon State. Oregon’s receivers have lacked separation and Herbert has had some errant throws.

[READ: Justin Herbert's heart is Oregon's X-factor to win Pac-12 Title]

The Ducks will need junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson III to maintain his dependability in his strong season finish. In the last three games, he has 18 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns. 34 of the junior’s 49 receptions have gone for first downs and he has three-straight games with a touchdown catch.

How and where to watch

Time: Friday, Dec. 6, 5:14 p.m. (PT)

Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

TV: ABC

Radio: KUGN-AM (590), KUJZ-FM (95.3), KZEL-FM (96.1)

Oregon Ducks aren't content, ready to "empty the tank"

Oregon Ducks aren't content, ready to "empty the tank"

Oregon’s coaches and players walked out of Autzen Stadium for the final time in 2019 with a win, but without satisfying smiles.

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) defeated Oregon State 24-10, in front of a sellout crowd of 56,243 fans at Autzen Stadium on a below freezing afternoon.

You’d think the Ducks would be more upbeat after achieving their first 10-win season since 2014, finishing Pac-12 Conference play undefeated at home and spoiling their rival’s bowl game chances.

But Oregon’s victory left plenty to be desired... Plus, plenty to look forward to.

We had moments and opportunities to separate and take control of the game In rivalry games especially, if you don’t do that, you make yourself uncomfortable. -- Mario Cristobal

With a sophomore quarterback in his first career start, Oregon State outgained Oregon, 380 yards to 365 yards. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 174 yards against a Beavers defense that allows an average of 286 yards per game. It was hardly the senior day performance that Ducks fans had hoped for from the Eugene, Oregon-native.

The defense did enough to win, but without spectacular special teams performances, Oregon may not have escaped the Civil War as victors.

We aren’t playing to our best right now, I think we can play a lot better. But, there was flashes of it… It’s a good feeling to have that next game. -- Wide receiver Johnny Johnson III.

Alas, the Ducks found a way to win and have an opportunity to demonstrate their best play yet in the Pac-12 Championship game.

The Ducks have six days “to get back to their style of offense” according to Cristobal. In order to take the crown and the conference’s bid to the Rose Bowl, it’s going to take a much more in sync offense against the Pac-12 South Division winner Utah. And hopefully some more electrifying moments to look forward to. 

It’s a great opportunity for us, especially after going 4-8 our freshman year, to play in the Pac-12 Championship. It’s been a great ride.” -- Justin Herbert

The conference championship is looming and Oregon feels it has enough in the tank to compete and win its first title since 2014. And maybe, a hard fought victory on Friday will garner a fulfilling smile from the Ducks as they leave Levi’s Stadium.
As Cristobal said in the locker room after the game, “it’s time to empty the tank.”

Oregon Ducks thankful for: Pumpkin pie, ham and a big rivalry game

Oregon Ducks thankful for: Pumpkin pie, ham and a big rivalry game

A meaningful Civil War game is on the horizon, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thankful for the rivalry matchup. It appears the weather will be cold, but not wet, another reason to give thanks. It’ll be a momentous senior day, when fans in Autzen Stadium can show their gratitude and say farewell to a special senior class that has been toughened by a tumultuous career at Oregon.

[RELATED: Oregon drops out of CFP top 10: So, Rose Bowl?]

Oregon is one win away from its first 10-win season since 2014 with a chance to be crowned Pac-12 Champions. Now that the College Football Playoff is out of the picture, senior quarterback Justin Herbert said, “It means everything,” to learn from the Arizona State loss and refocus on finishing the season strong.

This Thanksgiving, Herbert would be grateful for an upcoming win against the Oregon State Beavers. 

But, what are the other Ducks thankful for? I asked them:

Coach Mario Cristobal

“I think my favorite part about Thanksgiving is that we’re practicing and getting ready for a game. What am I, 49? I can’t remember the last time Thanksgiving was here and we weren’t practicing. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, I really wouldn’t. Thank God for that, I think that’s the greatest thing in the world, and we will practice. We will practice and give thanks for all our many blessings and instead of our lunch meal it will be a Thanksgiving spread. It’s a business week. I think we all know this football life as a player, as a coach, as an AD, a president, this is your work time. Our guys understand that and I think it makes you appreciate everything that much more when you do so. It will be all about business and to have the best week of prep we can possibly have.”

Junior wide receiver Johnny Johnson

“The food, for sure. Candied yams! That’s one of my favorites… I eat ham instead of turkey. I’m a ham guy.”

Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos

“Pumpkin pie, with whipped cream. Without question.”

This season’s Civil War is “everything you could want in a college football game,” according to Cristobal. Today, I’m thankful for pecan pie and an exciting rivalry game with bragging rights on the line.

What happens in Tempe, needs to stay in Tempe

What happens in Tempe, needs to stay in Tempe

TEMPE, ARIZONA- Wide receiver Johnny Johnson paced the Oregon sideline with his fists clenched as the clock winded down and the reality sank in. Despite the junior’s late heroics in front of his home crowd, including 40 family members and friends, Arizona State upset Oregon, 31-28. 

The loss killed all hopes of a College Football Playoff berth and marked Oregon’s first loss in Pac-12 Conference play. It was ugly, even cringeworthy at times, displaying a Duck defense repeatedly getting burned, allowing long passing plays and an offense incapable of coming through in the clutch.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert threw two interceptions. The Duck defense gave up the most passing yards allowed since 2015. Those are uncharacteristic anomalies, not the norm. There is still plenty to play for in 2019… but for the Ducks to find more success, what happened in Tempe must stay in Tempe.

In other words, one loss cannot turn into two losses like in did in 2018 when Oregon lost to Washington State and then Arizona the following week.

Senior linebacker Troy Dye added further perspective when giving advice to long-faced freshman after the defeat,

“You gotta keep moving forward. I mean, I lost seven straight my freshman year (2016), so it could be worse.”

The 2019 team is not the 2018 team and certainly not the 2016 team; they’ve already proven they can bounce back. After losing their season opener to Auburn, the Ducks rattled off nine-straight victories.

A bright spot, Johnson III set career-highs with 207 receiving yards, 10 catches and two touchdowns. Half of Herbert’s completions were to Johnson III, who became the first Duck to surpass 200 receiving yards this season. However, much of that production came in the fourth quarter, after Oregon trailed 24-7.

The sparks came too late for Oregon, ensuing literal fireworks of victory above Sun Devil Stadium as the fans stormed the field stomping on the Ducks’ highest goal.

The Ducks are confident they will let go of this loss to re-establish their mentality to go “1-0”. UO gets a chance to win the Pac-12 Title for the first time since 2014, which would earn an automatic berth to the Rose Bowl. Now that the national title is out of the picture, how important is it for Oregon to aim their ambitions to smell roses?

“It means everything,” Herbert said. “We are coming up on the end of our senior year and playing football here has been the best four years of my life. I’d do anything to have a couple more games. I know we are going to do everything we can this week to get better, learn from it and do our best to get ready for Oregon State.”

Looming is a date with rival Oregon State on senior night and an opportunity to prove Oregon can overcome adversity with a lot left to prove this season.

Keeping up with the Johnsons: Best friends with a serious competition

Keeping up with the Johnsons: Best friends with a serious competition

Oregon’s wide receiver room has been in flux this season with injuries and transfers. That instability could have led to an unhealthy unit but instead it’s fashioned life long bonds and healthy, serious competition.

The Friendship

It would have been easy for Oregon junior reciever Johnny Johnson III to not like Juwan Johnson.

When Juwan transferred from Penn State to Oregon to help bolster a group that lost their top receiver to the NFL, Johnny wasn’t threatened by Juwan's 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame or his one more season of experience. No, instead, when Juwan messaged Johnny on Instagram to introduce himself before moving to Eugene, Johnny welcomed him, becoming Juwan's first friend on the Duck football team.

The two Johnsons started sending film back and forth, building a bond and making a bet (more on that later).

They’ve come a long way: sweating through Oregon’s spring and summer workouts; building in fall camp; winning nine-straight games together; and securing a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game as North Division champions, all with a bigger goal in mind.

Johnny’s vision: “Me and (Juwan) holding that trophy in the air at the end of the year. I’m not going to say which trophy, but, you know.”

The Competition

What’s the bet and the payout?

“That’s something that’ll stay sacred. Me and Johnny just try to battle it out on who can get the most yards every game,” Juwan said. “That’s what it’s been all year. We had a little bet and obviously he’s winning right now. He has a couple games ahead of me.”

The reference there is that Johnny leads the team in receiving yards (485) on 35 catches in 10 games, while Juwan has 299 yards on 18 catches in six games.

Johnny and Juwan both grabbed career long touchdown catches in Oregon’s win over Arizona. Is there a competition for longest touchdown?

“If there is, I need to find out. I hope so,” said Offensive Coordinator Marcus Arroyo. “That’s a great competition to have. Both of those guys did a great job on both of those plays. It was exciting to see and good for Justin [Herbert] to hit a couple good, deep balls.”

The Plays

At the start of the 2019 football season, junior cornerback Deommodore Lenoir tabbed Johnny and Juwan as Oregon’s most physical receivers. Their toughness has been evident. Both have different skillsets, but both provided major highlights in Oregon’s win over Arizona, marking the first time Oregon connected on multiple 50-plus yard touchdown passes since 2016.

On the second play of the game, quarterback Justin Herbert launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Johnson III, the longest pass play of the season. A wide-open Johnny slipped behind defenders and bolted to the end zone.   

Then, a little trickery to the delight of Oregon fans. A reverse flea flicker 53-yard touchdown toss from Herbert to an extended Juwan Johnson, worthy of a SportsCenter Top 10 nod.

The Future

The Johnsons are in a groove and it could get ugly for Arizona State (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (PT) The Sun Devils are allowing almost 300 passing yards per game in Pac-12 play, ranking ninth in the conference.

It’s a prime occasion for Herbert to air it out. It’s a substantial opportunity for the Johnsons to continue their battle for most yards.

The veteran receiver best friends could be the weapons Oregon needs to close out the regular season and conquer No. 7 Utah in the Pac-12 title game. After that? It’s a fight for that trophy Johnny dreamt of.

How Mycah Pittman's injury affects Oregon

How Mycah Pittman's injury affects Oregon

The Oregon Ducks (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) have lost one of their most dynamic offensive weapons most likely for the rest of the season, due to injury. Freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman’s broken arm suffered in the first quarter of Oregon’s 34-6 win vs. Arizona will sideline him for six weeks and creates a need for more contributions.

Is Pittman done for the 2019 season?

Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal communicated the possibility of Pittman returning to play in the Ducks’ bowl game. The College Football Playoff semifinal (Dec. 28) or Rose Bowl (Jan. 1) are about six weeks out.

Already this season, Pittman rehabbed back from a broken collarbone that caused him to miss the opening four games.

"He’s proven before he’s a quick healer," Cristobal said. "Our training staff, our medical staff is second to none. I mean the very best in the country… And Mycah is a guy that attacks every opportunity to get better a hundred miles per hour. If anyone can heal quickly, it will be him, and if the timeline matches up, certainly that’s a consideration."

How does this impact the depth chart?

Oregon lists freshman Josh Delgado behind starter Jaylon Redd at slot receiver, in Pittman’s role. The Ducks moved Daewood Davis once again back on offense to add depth. Listed backups Davis, Josh Delgado and Bryan Addison will likely see increased playing time with Pittman out.

How can Oregon replace Pittman’s contributions?

In six games, Pittman has 14 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns. His speed and relentless tenacity will be missed from the receiving corps. 

Without Pittman, look for starting playmakers Johnny Johnson III, Juwan Johnson and Jaylon Redd to continue their positive progress in the passing game with quarterback Justin Herbert.

Redd leads the team with nine touchdowns and has caught multiple passes in 13 straight games. Johnny Johnson III is coming off a four-catch performance vs. Arizona, including a 73-yard catch, the longest of his career and longest by a Duck in 2019. Juwan Johnson’s potential is also being realized, totaling 16 receptions, 263 yards, and four touchdowns in the last three games. He led Oregon with five catches, one touchdown and 93 yards vs. Arizona.

Who else is a possible backup receiver?

“Justin Collins is a guy last year in this game proved to be very valuable, caught a slant down there and got us in the tight red zone at the end of the half,” Crisotbal said. “He’s been coming along. He’s coming off an ACL as well.”

Cristobal also mentioned Isaiah Crocker, J.R Waters and Lance Wilhoite as options UO will explore. Although, Wilhoite and Waters are both coming off injuries and are likely not caught up to speed.

The Ducks travel to Tempe for their final conference road trip to face the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) at 4:30 p.m., Saturday.

Oregon Ducks perplexed by Mike Leach's "Middle Earth" comments about Autzen stadium

Oregon Ducks perplexed by Mike Leach's "Middle Earth" comments about Autzen stadium

Another week, another Mike “Leach-ism”. The Washington State coach described Autzen Stadium as “Middle Earth” he continued to say he likes the unique atmosphere and considers it one of the loudest in the nation.

Middle-earth is the fictional setting of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

[RELATED: Preparing for Autzen's crowd noise is just another Thursday for Mike Leach]

Not sure what to make of that comparison? The Ducks are with you. I asked junior wide receivers Jaylon Redd and Johnny Johnson III, who were perplexed but agreed that there is nothing like Autzen Stadium. 
Enjoy his response in the video above. 

MORE DUCKS:

Numbers to know: Oregon vs. Washington State

How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/doesn’t affect the Ducks

Why a healthy Deommodore Lenoir is crucial for Oregon vs. Washington State

How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/doesn’t affect the Ducks

How Brenden Schooler's transfer does/doesn’t affect the Ducks

Senior wide receiver Brenden Schooler has entered his name into the transfer portal, sources have confirmed to NBC Sports Northwest.

Schooler, a two-time first-team All-Pac 12 special teams selection, made his debut against Cal after missing Oregon’s first four games due to a broken foot. He played in three games this season and has not used his redshirt, meaning he has one more year of eligibility as a graduate transfer.

In his three games, Schooler has only had two catches for 44 yards. During his absence, Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Bryan Addison took over production as reliable targets for quarterback Justin Herbert.

Redd leads the nation with a touchdown reception in six straight games. Johnson III’s 30 catches this season is already more than his sophomore season total (17) and freshman season total (21).

Schooler returned from injury at the same time as freshman Mycah Pittman, who has found a more regular rotation with the receivers than Schooler has. Pittman has 148 receiving yards on nine receptions and one touchdown.

Schooler’s senior leadership and intangibles on the field would be sorely missed, especially considering senior Jacob Breeland is out for the season with injury. 

“The thing about Brenden is he’s not only a great player, he’s a great leader and I feel terrible for him because he is a tremendous human being… Off the charts,” Cristobal said in August after Schooler’s injury.

Schooler's decision to leave is likely playing time oriented. Simply put, the Ducks were forced find their groove while Schooler was out.

His departure would also be a hit to Oregon’s receiving unit depth. Will graduate transfer Juwan Johnson or Josh Delgado step into a contributing role?

The Dana-Point, California native has a brother, Colin, who plays for the Arizona Wildcats.

Schooler has totaled 43 career catches for 521 yards and four touchdowns in his Duck career. He started at safety as a true freshman finishing with 74 tackles and four interceptions.