He came, he saw, but he didn’t conquer. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, a not-so-beautiful story hit the Oregon Duck community, as former starting TE Colt Lyerla announced that he would be leaving the team and the university for personal reasons. There were no details disclosed as to why Lyerla made his decision, but regardless of his reasoning, he will be missed on this National Championship-aspiring squad.
The former 5-star recruit out of Hillsboro, OR may have been the greatest physical specimen the Ducks have ever had the privilege of having in the program – other than Russ Francis.
At 6’5, 250, the beast that is Lyerla finished his career at the U of O with 34 receptions and 565 yards. Not only was he a threat at the tight end position, but he also made a few guest appearances as a rusher, with 16 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. One memorable touchdown run included carrying QB Bryan Bennett over the goal line with him.
Recently there was a minor incident between Lyerla and Coach Helfrich regarding reasons why Lyerla did not play against Tennessee. Colt mentioned that he was leaving the Ducks on good terms, regardless of speculation about his relationship with Coach Helfrich.
According to Colt, although he is departing from the university, he will still look to pursue a professional career in the NFL. His career at Oregon may not have been all he might have hoped, but his physical gifts and willingness to continue to get better will not go unnoticed by NFL scouts.
So, looking ahead, who will take Colt’s place as the next starting TE? We’ve seen in Lyerla’s recent absence that both Johnny Mundt and Pharaoh Brown have split time filling in at the TE slot, and surely one of them will be named the next starter soon.
Colt will be missed, but with the Ducks’ depth at every position and a team attitude of “next man up,” they remain a viable national championship team.
Oregon’s schedule will soon present some hungry teams looking to knock out any big dreams the Ducks might have, starting with the Washington Huskies this weekend in Seattle.----------------------------------------
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