The Next Elite Corner

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is not the easiest of player names to recite.  The 20 year old, as of July 10th (Happy Birthday Ifo if you are reading this), may have a tongue twister for a name but there is nothing difficult about breaking down his game.  HE CAN PLAY.  The former four star recruit out of Chino Hills in California has exceeded high expectations and developed into a shutdown cornerback.

Ifo looks to join defensive backs Pat Chung and Jairus Byrd in the NFL.

Kevin Cline

Ifo looks to join defensive backs Pat Chung and Jairus Byrd in the NFL.

The soon to be junior is coming off a tremendous sophomore campaign and his first year as a starter for the power house Ducks.  He led the Pac-12 Conference in passes defended (20) in 2012, tied for the league lead in forced fumbles (6) and was tied for fifth in interceptions (4).  Standing at 5’10” 190lbs, Ifo does not have elite size but he certainly makes up for it in other areas.  The 1st team All Pac-12 corner possesses a burst that is similar to a bullet parting a .45 revolver.  He is the type of player a coach can throw on the opposing team’s best wide receiver and won’t lose sleep over an attempt to stop him. He excels in man coverage and is not afraid of contact.

He is currently on the watch list for the Bednarik Award (nations top defensive player) and the Jim Thorpe Award (nations top defensive back).  Ifo has two years of eligibility remaining, but may decide to enter the 2014 NFL draft.  Oregon will be delighted if he sticks around another year until 2015, but let’s not get greedy.

The question is: how high can he go? Most analysts have Ifo ranked as a top 3 cornerback if not the best in the nation. Sports Illustrated has him going 19th overall in a recent 2014 mock draft.  Mel Kiper has him as his 14th best player on his 2014 Big Board. Don’t be surprised if he jumps into the 8-12 range if he can produce another great year.

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