2015 Could be the Best Ducks Defense in Years

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Last year Oregon’s defense was characterized by a bend not break mentality, allowing a ton of yards but keeping their opponent out of the end zone. It worked, evident by their 13-2 record, but it wasn’t perfect. After the departure of six starters on defense, Oregon is now in a peculiar position.

To some, 2015 might seem like a scary year as the Ducks look to fill major holes on defense and at QB, but to those close to the team, 2015 is shaping up to be quite the year already. This freshmen class is one of the best in recent memory, and for once the buzz is on defense. For years Oregon has been known for its explosive offense, but considering this year’s class that might have to change.

The class is led by 5-star prospect and absolute man-child of a player, Canton Kaumatule. The defensive end is 6’7″ of pure muscle, and he’s already drawn the attention of defensive coordinator Don Pellum. According to an article by Andrew Greif of Oregon Live, Pellum said Kaumatule, “has the potential to be really, really good.”

Nelson's play on special teams warranted his switch to DB.

John Giustina

Nelson’s play on special teams warranted his switch to DB.

Along with Kaumatule is Ugo Amadi, a 4-star CB from Nashville, Tenn. Amadi and newly repositioned Charles Nelson have been creating quite the buzz thus far, drawing huge praise from defensive backs coach John Neal.

In an article by Tyson Alger of Oregon Live, Neal was quoted saying, “I’ve got some youth going. They got me excited. They’re fun to watch … I probably had more fun at today’s practice than I have had in years.”

Those two, Kaumatule and Amadi, make up just a portion of young Ducks looking to make a splash in 2015. Sophomores Jimmie Swain and Arrion Springs were both top recruits in 2014 and now look poised to take on larger roles, and redshirt freshman Mattrell McGraw is just one more weapon to consider in the secondary. The Ducks might be young on defense in 2015, but they’re as deep as they’ve ever been.

One thing to particularly watch out for will be a grittiness not normally observed by Ducks defenses in the past. Kaumatule is as hard hitting as they come, but he’s joined by Fotu Leiato, a freshman linebacker who might be a dark horse candidate to start come fall. Leiato is undersized for the position, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in brutality. Just do yourself a favor and watch the video below.

Top photo by Kevin Cline

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Caleb Couturie

Caleb Couturie

Caleb is a sophomore at the University of Oregon intending to double major in Journalism and Sports Management. He is the Managing Editor for FishDuck.com, along with being a lifetime Saints and San Francisco Giants fan, as Caleb fell in love with sports at a young age and developed that love into a passion for sports analysis. He is looking forward to cheering on the Ducks throughout his career at Oregon, and is always willing to talk sports with any fellow fan.

  • Toto

    You’re dang right it “could” be…. but unless we use more QB pressures and ideally get a better defensive coordinator, I don’t see it happning. :'(

    • Bruce

      I love it when we go 13-2, play in the national championship game, and then we have to listen to whining from people who are not nearly as astute as they think they are.

      • Matthew Montgomery

        Bruce, Toto is stuck in the past – I thought the name would give it away :) – google “Toto” to find his latest video. Yeah, I had the opinion that others have had, but realistically, and objectively, I was ignorant. Here is a good write up on their defense: http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/79861/take-two-oregon-duck-defense

        Let the haters, hate. I get it – you get it. I am excited for the defense this year. This article illustrates what championship teams do, and that is overcome challenges and continue to win.

        P.s. Nothing against you Toto.

        Pss The comment icon on the article tabs is not showing any comments when there are – a site issue.

        • Caleb

          We’re working on fixing that issue, Matthew. Sorry about that. Thank for the read and the comments, go Ducks!

        • Toto

          Yeah yeah yeah, stuck in the past. With a good defense, we would have been 15-0. Won a nail biter against Washington State with an obvious no call? The talent on the defense last year was there, but DP didn’t put it together well, and he’s probably not going to put it tougher this year either. When looking at DP, I always wonder if he spends more time in front of the mirror than with his players.
          It was obvious that if we didn’t have Mariota, the defensive issues would have been more glaring. When the offense struggled with out all of our skill position players in the NCG, our defense struggled even more. The offense will probably be fine this year, but that doesn’t mean this will be the best defense in years. Stats. I love stats! Ever thought of looking at 3rd down efficiency? Your ignorance in these comments will show when the season rolls around. I’m a huge ducks fan and used to live in Portland, but let’s be real here.
          All right Bruce, you got me! You’re the genius… more “astute and erudite” than me. What do you have to back up your claims?

  • Michael McCabe

    Looking forward to attending the spring game this year! Go Ducks!