Juwan Johnson

Oregon WR Juwan Johnson confirms he's a physical specimen at NFL Combine

Oregon WR Juwan Johnson confirms he's a physical specimen at NFL Combine

Anyone who has seen Oregon wide receiver Juwan Johnson take the field before knows he’s a big dude.

At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Johnson is one of the largest wideouts at the NFL Combine this year and his measurables prove it.

According to the NFL Draft’s official Twitter, Johnson led all wide receivers in longest arms, longest wingspan and largest hands. 

Johnson transferred to Oregon from Penn State in 2019, but injuries derailed his Ducks career early on. He went on to appear in 10 of Oregon’s 14 games, catching 30 passes for 467 yards and four touchdowns. He helped lead the Ducks to a victory in the Rose Bowl. His 66 yards were the most of any player on either team.

Johnson's large body frame and ability to shield defenders makes him a valuable asset to scouts looking for bigger types at the wide receiver position.

While his onfield portion of the combine will likely gain attention, the bench press will be perhaps his most anticipated event. The receiver recently announced he’ll be using the NFL Combine bench press to raise donations for Uplifting Athletes, a charity that assists the rare disease community. He hopes to raise $2,000 by completing at least 14 reps during the bench press.

Johnson joins quarterback Justin Herbert, tight end Jacob Breeland, linebacker Troy Dye, as well as offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, Jake Hanson and Shane Lemieux in one of the largest classes of draft hopefuls the Ducks have ever had participate in the NFL Combine.

Oregon Ducks WR Juwan Johnson raising money to fight rare disease

Oregon Ducks WR Juwan Johnson raising money to fight rare disease

When Juwan Johnson walks into the NFL Combine later this month, he'll be playing for more than just himself.

The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver has begun a campaign asking for pledges for each successful bench press rep he completes at the upcoming NFL Combine on February 27.

"As I take a step toward my NFL dream, I’d like to use this opportunity to give back. I have committed my performance at the NFL Combine to support Uplifting Athletes and its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport."

Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization whose mission statement aspires to "inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport." Their national network of chapters is run by current student-athletes playing football and has made an impact on Jonhson throughout his college career.

I will never forget participating in the Penn State Lift for Life and the way it brought the community together in support of this great cause.  During my time as a student-athlete at Penn State and Oregon I realized the platform athletes have to make a difference.  It’s very important to me to make the most of that opportunity and turn it into something positive. That is why I hope you will help me make a positive impact on the 30 million Americans affected by rare diseases by supporting my campaign!

Johnson states on the donation page his goal is 14 reps of 225 pounds. The historical average for the bench press for receivers is 15.2 reps of 225 pound, according to SB Nation. 

You can donate to his campaign here!

Johnson transferred to the University of Oregon as a graduate transfer for his final season of college eligibility. After a toe injury kept him on the sidelines for weeks to begin the season, he made an impact once he stepped on the field, finishing with 30 receptions, 467 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns came in a 56-24 victory over USC in LA Coliseum. 

Juwan Johnson would support Joe Moorhead as Oregon's Offensive Coordinator

Juwan Johnson would support Joe Moorhead as Oregon's Offensive Coordinator

Earlier this week, former Penn State offensive coordinator and Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead was rumored to be a leading candidate to be added to Cristobal's staff. 

Now, he's in Eugene interviewing for the job.

The potential hiring seems like a home run hire on paper and a now recent grad Duck agrees.

Wide receiver Juwan Johnson, who transferred from Penn State to Oregon this past season and helped lead the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory, tweeted he'd be in favor of the move.

As a former Nittany Lion, Johnson played for an offense coached by Moorhead so he has first hand experience. The result of Moorhead's last season was Johnson's best season of his college career: 54 receptions for 701 yards and a touchdown. 

It wasn't just Johnson that did well under Moorhead, but the entire Penn State offense. In his last year as offensive coordinator, the Nittany Lions ranked in the top 25 nationally in several statistics: points per game (41.1 points, 7th), total offense (460.3 yards, 17th), passing offense (290.2 yards, 23rd), third-down conversion percentage (48.0 percent, 5th) and yards per play (6.55, 17th). Moorhead capped off that season with a 35-28 Fiesta Bowl victory over #11 Washington and being named National Offensive Coordinator of the Year. 

Although at Mississippi State, Moorhead's offense underwhelmed. They ranked No. 112 nationally in passing offense in 2018 and No. 110 this past season and did not exceed 240 passing yards in any single game this season. MSU finished 12th out of 14 teams in the SEC in passing offense. 

Ducks WR Juwan Johnson thanks Oregon & Penn State

Ducks WR Juwan Johnson thanks Oregon & Penn State

When Oregon wide receiver Juwan Johnson walked off the field on New Years Day, he wasn't just walking off the field a two-time Rose Bowl champion, but he was walking off the college football field for the last time.

The graduate transfer from Penn State used up his last year of eligibility this past season in Eugene, and will almost certainly pursue a professional career. Given his 6-foot-4, 231-pound frame, he'll command attention from NFL teams and before the season he was rated as a Top 100 player in the 2020 NFL Draft by CBS Sports.

However, before doing so, he took to Twitter to give thanks to both Penn State and Oregon.

At Oregon, Johnson had 30 receptions for 467 yards and four touchdowns with the Ducks. With Penn State in 2017, he recorded 701 yards receiving plus a touchdown. In 2018, Johnson had 352 yards receiving plus a touchdown. 

Duck seniors leaving Oregon football better than how they found it

Duck seniors leaving Oregon football better than how they found it

THE SCENE

In the middle of a media circle ahead of Oregon’s final conference game against rival Oregon State, Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye stared at Autzen Stadium and stuttered.

In four years of covering Dye, he’s never stuttered.

Oregon’s leading tackler for the past three seasons exudes leadership, confidence and is always good for a sharp comment or mic-drop moment. However, when asked about running out of the tunnel in green and yellow for the final time in Autzen Stadium, Dye got caught up in the moment.

"No matter how it is, man, I'm going to have fun with it one last time in the big and crazy Autzen Stadium,” Dye paused. “I definitely will shed a tear, there is nowhere around that one… It's crazy how fast the time flies and I'm just enjoying every moment of it."

Since the minute Dye arrived in Eugene, Oregon, he’s disrupted backfields and locked down in coverage, surpassing 100 tackles as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

He’s been the heart and soul of the Duck defense through tumultuous times, including three different head coaches (Mark Helfrich, Willie Taggart, Mario Cristobal), three different defensive coordinators (Brady Hoke, Jim Leavitt, Andy Avalos) and countless scheme changes.

SPECIAL CONNECTION

The senior class and Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal have a special bond and connection. As freshmen in 2016, they played on a team that finished 4-8 and left out of a bowl game. In 2017, Cristobal joined the coaching staff and brought discipline with him. Later that season, more than 70 Duck players signed a petition to UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens, lobbying for Cristobal to take over the program when former coach Taggart departed for Florida State. Oregon’s current seniors, and a few juniors, are the only remaining players who signed that petition.

For that, Cristobal is deeply thankful.

THE LEGACY

Dye will shed a tear on an expected cold Saturday afternoon in Autzen Stadium and so will senior left guard Shane Lemieux. Lemieux has started 49 consecutive games, earning two Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week honors and first team midseason All-American by the Associated Press this season.

He will play in the 2020 Senior Bowl along with Dye. Lemieux says the senior class has achieved their ultimate goal: leaving the Oregon football program better than they found it.

“It’s bittersweet. I know I will probably cry when I walk out there because I love this program so much and I put so much work into this. The seniors have been through so much,” Lemieux said. “The love I have for these coaches and guys like Penei (Sewell) that I probably will never play with again, until, maybe, down the road hopefully… I feel like this program is headed in the right direction.”

PASS OF THE TORCH

Sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell stands close by answering questions about being named one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. Sewell joins Oregon legend and five-time NFL pro bowler Haloti Ngata (2005) as the only two players in program history be a finalist for the trophy awarded annually to the nation's best college interior lineman on offense or defense.
Sewell smiles as he locks eyes with his teammate, Lemieux, who he credits as a mentor who helped him adjust to college football.

“Wooooooo, (the seniors) are my brothers, man,” Sewell said. “My man right there, Shane Lemieux! He’s always taken me under his wing and I’m going to miss him, for real. I’m going to make the most of (the games remaining). I’m going to make the most of it.”

HERBERT’S FINAL WISH

At Pac-12 Media Day in July, ahead of the 2019 football season, Washington State Coach Mike Leach made a comment about quarterback Justin Herbert.

“Seems like Herbert has been there forever,” said Leach of the four-year starter. “Somehow they granted him 10 years of eligibility.”

While it may feel like 10 years to coaches who’ve had to game plan for Herbert’s elite arm and sneaky fast wheels, Herbert’s time as a Duck is coming to a close.

Oregon is one win away from its first 10-win season since 2014 with a chance to be crowed Pac-12 Champions. Now that the national title is out of the picture, Herbert said, “It means everything,” to learn from the ASU loss and refocus on finishing the season strong.

“We are coming up on the end of our senior year and playing football here has been the best four years of my life,” Herbert said. “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.”

HATS OFF

Oregon will honor 26 seniors this Saturday, including: Herbert, Dye, Lemieux, linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr., offensive lineman Jake Hanson, offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, offensive lineman Dallas Warmack, wide receiver Juwan Johnson, tight end Ryan Bay, defensive tackle Drayton Carlberg, linebacker Bryson Young and punter Blake Maimone. Plus tight end Jacob Breeland and defensive end Gus Cumberlander, who both suffered season ending injuries.

Quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo joined Oregon’s staff after the losing 2016 season. He’s seen how the instability and tumultuous Oregon careers has bonded the special class that stuck it out for the opportunity to turn around the Duck football program.

“Resilient. Tough. Educated in the game off and on the field,” Arroyo said. “Some of the things that have happened off the field, working through different schemes and coaches, my hat is off to this group of guys. They are phenomenal and a resilient group that is passionate about Oregon football.”

Ahead of the meaningful Civil War rivalry with Oregon State, the senior Ducks will have a moment with their families- families of blood, teammates and their chosen Duck football family.

So what do you say fans of Autzen Stadium, a farewell and hats off to the seniors who persevered to leave Oregon a better place than when they arrived?

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.

Historically, quarterback Justin Herbert plays extremely well vs. ASU

Historically, quarterback Justin Herbert plays extremely well vs. ASU

Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) has secured a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game as the North Division champion and is in the running as a College Football Playoff contender. The Ducks have two conference games left and Arizona State (5-5, 2-5) is the next opponent they must beat. 

The Ducks look to stay unbeaten in conference play as they head to Tempe… Here are 10 numbers you need to know about the 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium.

ON A HERBERT HIGH

Coming off a season-high 333 passing yards vs. Arizona, quarterback Justin Herbert is displaying incredible accuracy. He’s completed 70 percent of his passes in three-straight games, connecting on 62-of-84 (73.8) over that stretch. Herbert has historically played well against ASU. In his career against the Sun Devils, Herbert is 69-of-111 for 1,032 yards, nine TDs and two interceptions. His career-best 489 passing yards came as a freshman vs. ASU in 2016.

CAN YOU SAY CLUTCH?

The Ducks have outscored their opponents 56-20 in the second half on the road. Oregon is also 25-for-41 (.610) on third down conversions in the last three games.

SINGLE DIGITS

Oregon has held six opponents under 10 points, which leads the nation and is a program best since 1960.

SPREADING THE LOVE

Oregon has 19 players who have scored a touchdown and 19 players who have at least a half-sack, both of which lead the nation.

CRISTO-BALLIN!

A win would make Mario Cristobal the fourth head coach in program history to win 10 games in a season. 

KEEPING UP WITH THE JOHNSONS

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.

THIBODEAUX TRAIN, FULL STEAM AHEAD

Freshman defensive tackle Kayvon Thibodeaux has 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in the last two games. He’s coming off a season-high three tackle for loss performance against Arizona. The highest rated recruit in program history, Thibodeaux ranks 4th among all freshman nationally in sacks(5.5).

STRONG SHANE

For the second time this season, Oregon left guard Shane Lemieux was named Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week. Against Arizona, Lemieux was the highest-graded (80.4) guard in the Pac-12 and third nationally. He has not allowed a hit, hurry or pressure on Herbert over 67 snaps and leads the Ducks with a season-high seven knockdowns.

DEVILS COME UP SHORT IN CORVALLIS

A failed two-point conversion proved to be the difference in Arizona’s almost-comeback win at Oregon State. ASU rallied from two touchdowns down late in the game but the Beavers beat the Sun Devils, 35-34.

ARIZONA STATE VS. THE RUN

ASU has held eight of its last 10 opponents to under 150 total rushing yards (151 vs. Utah, 217 vs. UCLA). Although, the Sun Devils pass defense ranks 115th in the nation.

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.

Three notable changes to Oregon’s depth chart ahead of Arizona

Three notable changes to Oregon’s depth chart ahead of Arizona

No. 7 Oregon has the opportunity to clinch its third Pac-12 North Division title and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship with a win over Arizona (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Autzen Stadium.

Oregon (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) will look to avenge last season’s loss at Arizona and extend this season’s undefeated streak in conference play and at home (5-0).

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal released the depth chart ahead of the game and there are three notable changes:

1. Graduate-transfer Juwan Johnson is co-starter with redshirt freshman Bryan Addison at “Z” wide receiver position. Expect an increased role for Johnson after back-to-back clutch performances.

“Coming off some injuries, Juwan is a guy that I knew would step up big,” quarterback Justin Herbert said after Oregon’s win at USC. “I don’t think the public has seen his best yet. We knew all along he would be a special player.”

2. At tight end, true freshman Patrick Herbert is listed as co-backup (with Spencer Webb) to senior Ryan Bay. Patrick Herbert has played in two games this season but has yet to catch a pass.

3. Junior Brady Breeze will start at boundary safety. Junior Nick Pickett was called for targeting in the second half against USC and will be out for the first half against Arizona. Regardless of Pickett's status, Breeze "has certainly earned the right to be on the field more," Cristobal said.

MORE ON THE DUCKS

“It won’t be tolerated here” Mario Cristobal is handling Oregon’s uncharacteristic penalty problem

Oregonian Brady Breeze earning title as a momentum changer

Mario Cristobal calls his mom directly after every game: 10 things you don't know about the Oregon coach

"Best is yet to come" from Juwan Johnson and the Oregon Ducks

"Best is yet to come" from Juwan Johnson and the Oregon Ducks

LOS ANGELES  - Under a hazy pink and purple sunset on the City of Angels, USC fans exited Memorial Coliseum with more than six minutes left in the third quarter as the No. 7 Oregon Ducks rolled to their eighth straight victory. The Ducks beat the Trojans, 56-24, handing USC its worst home loss since 2009.

The pivotal Pac-12 game, in the entertainment capital of the world, was quite the roller-coaster production.

Entering the second quarter, USC lead by 10 points and the Trojan band chanted “overrated” at the Ducks. Around the same time, I was searching an online thesaurus for more words for “ugly” and getting bombarded by “Justin Herbert is overrated” tweets.

After all, in the first half alone, the Ducks totaled 112 penalty yards compared to 113 yards of total offense.

Then, it began to click for Oregon. Despite lacking composure at times, which made Coach Mario Cristobal turn red in the face, the Ducks responded to a double-digit deficit with clutch momentum shifting plays.

The Duck defense forced four turnovers. Freshman Mykael Wright scored on a 100-yard kickoff return. Junior Jaylon Redd muscled his way to score his ninth touchdown in the last eight games. Herbert’s efficiency shined: finishing 21-for-26 for 225 yards with three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

The (literal) largest electric play came from wide receiver Juwan Johnson in his first start as a Duck. The Penn State graduate transfer became the first Oregon player to haul in three touchdown catches in a game since Bralon Addison in the 2015 Civil War. The 6-foot-6 pass catcher had seven catches for a career-high 106 yards and most importantly... a winning attitude.

“(Juwan) was electric tonight… One of the best things he did this week was text me in the middle of the night and ask to be on the kickoff team and ask to help with kickoff coverage,” Cristobal said. “When you have that kind of an attitude, good things happen.”

Fresh off a clutch performance against Washington State, it appears Johnson’s prominent role will only grow from here.

“Coming off some injuries, Juwan is a guy that I knew would step up big,” Herbert said. “I don’t think the public has seen his best yet. We knew all along he would be a special player.”

The Ducks’ third straight comeback victory keeps them on track to the Pac-12 title game. When the College Football Playoff Rankings are released on Tuesday, Oregon will be in the mix as contenders. Oregon’s smack down of USC will escalate the playoff talk.

"Without question," Cristobal said, "I feel we need to be in that conversation."

Entering Oregon’s bye week, the Ducks feel the best is yet to come.