There is good news and bad news involving our 2014 Oregon Duck football team. The good news is the Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl to play Florida State in the College Football Playoff semi-final game.
The bad news? The Ducks will have to play the postseason without All-American cornerback, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Earlier this week, Ekpre-Olomu suffered a torn ACL in practice and Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich confirmed that the senior will miss the remainder of the postseason.
On Friday, the University of Oregon athletic department released a video on Facebook featuring Ekpre-Olomu thanking Duck fans for their unwavering support, viewable below.
“I just want to thank you guys for all the support that I’ve had throughout these four years being here. I couldn’t have asked for anything better in my life, to come to Oregon and experience this,” Ekpre-Olomu said.
In the video, the Oregon defensive back also reminds Duck fans that he will remain with his teammates, albeit on the sidelines, as they journey towards a national championship.
The absence of the Ducks’ stalwart defender will be huge. In 2013, Ekpre-Olomu was the team’s second leading tackler with 84 and a staggering 53 unassisted stops. This year, Oregon’s expert defenseman had six pass breakups, two interceptions and was a finalist for the Ronnie Lott IMPACT trophy as well as the Jim Thorpe and Bednarik awards.
Ekpre-Olomu impressed fans and the national media alike with his stunning playmaking abilities, delicately balancing aggressive tendencies with finesse and technique.
Redshirt freshman Chris Seisay will attempt to fill the massive shoes that Ekpre-Olomu leaves behind. There is plenty of room for optimism regarding the Ducks’ replacement cornerback. Seisay had considerable playing time this season, contributing 20 tackles and three pass breakups in 11 games.
As Oregon moves forward to the playoffs, it will be difficult for fans to see Ekpre-Olomu in street clothes on the sideline. The Ducks have overcome lots of adversity this year, but this is a particularly hard blow. However, it is the duty of Duck fans, teammates, coaches and family members to share the burden, alleviating the weight of his devastating injury.
Thank you for sharing four wonderful years with Oregon, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Top photo by Gary Breedlove
See Ifo Ekpre-Olomu’s video below