On September 14, 2013, Oregon played Tennessee in Autzen Stadium and Duck fans were worried. A new kid, Johnny Mundt started at tight end. Colt Lyerla, the normal starter, was missing because of undisclosed “circumstances.” There was no need for the fans to worry, though, as Mundt responded to the opportunity with a breakout game: five receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Mundt recalled his first touchdown as being surreal.
“It was amazing and nothing else has felt like that,” Mundt said. “Just hearing the crowd roar and having my team pick me up, it was just a great feeling.” Perhaps his best catch was on the Ducks’ second drive of the game, a 57-yard ramble down to the Volunteer red zone.
This year, Mundt is a sophomore, but Pharaoh Brown claimed starting tight end position and Mundt is again in a back-up role. That’s not to say that the 6’4″, 250 lb. Modesto, California native hasn’t contributed to the Oregon offense. He has two catches in 2014 for 29 yards.
With a ill twist of fate, Brown is now back home in Cleveland seeking treatment for a compound leg fracture. But Duck fans need not fret; the tight end cupboard isn’t bare. Along with Mundt, Oregon has two other capable tight ends: Evan Baylis and Koa Ka’ai. The word is that Mundt has better hands, Ka’ai is a better blocker and Baylis has the best combination of skills. Opportunities for the tight ends often depend on each opponent’s defensive scheme, but expect to see all three on the field contributing in upcoming games, and expect to watch Mundt respond again when his opportunity comes. He’ll be the big, raw talent rambling down the field for big gains.
Top Photo by Ryan Kang/Emerald
Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, I attended the University of Oregon and during my collegiate summers, I worked in a lumber mill and also fought range fires on the Oregon High Desert for the Bureau of Land Management. After graduating from college at the University of Oregon, I swung from being budding hippy to cop work. I’m still wondering about how that came about. I was a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, I obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, my daughter and a spunky bichon frise named Pumpkin. I’ve had short stories publishing in two Main Street Press anthologies. Harkness is my first novel.
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