After months of anticipation and expectation, Oregon football and coach Mario Cristobal have finally landed their top recruiting target, inside linebacker Noah Sewell. Noah is Oregon all-world sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell‘s younger brother.
Although some have argued that Sewell is oversized for an inside linebacker — he is listed at 6 ft. 2 in. and weighs 266 lbs. — 247Sports rates him as the second-best inside linebacker in the country, and the best player to come out of Utah this year.
Sewell relies on instincts as well as athleticism to make tackles in space and cover receivers down field. Linebacker is not the only position he has played; at Orem High School in Utah, he was also the starting running back, with a career average of 8.8 yards per carry.
Although Cristobal has not announced what position Sewell will play at Oregon, most NFL scouts expect him to play inside linebacker.
Will Sewell Play Immediately?
If Sewell does indeed become a linebacker, he will likely see immediate playing time. Currently, sophomore Issac Slade-Matautia is manning the middle linebacker position for the Ducks, and although he has been productive, he has not done anything to prove that his starting spot is untouchable.
Additionally, defensive captain and starting WILL linebacker Troy Dye is set to graduate at the end of the season, which will open up another linebacker spot. True freshman and highly touted 2019 recruit Mase Funa may be in line to take one of those positions, although outside linebacker is a better match for his size and skill set.
Winning an SEC Tug-of-War
Although on paper Noah’s decision to enroll at the University of Oregon seemed like a no-brainer, the Ducks were not always the clear-cut favorite.
In fact, SEC powerhouses Georgia and Alabama were in the running with Oregon right until Sewell committed, although Alabama seemed to fall a step behind at the very end. When Sewell announced his commitment, he described his decision between Oregon and Georgia in this way:
“Really close … my mind was going back and forth and then it just came down to how close I was with [Oregon head] coach [Mario] Cristobal and the whole coaching staff and the players … [Georgia] was very special to me. It will always have a spot in my heart. It just came down to me being at Oregon.”
Cristobal the Magician
Although Noah did speak graciously about his Georgia recruitment, the one constant was his love and comfort around the Oregon program. Noah even described Coach Cristobal as:
“Like a second father to me … someone I trust, just seeing him and my brother and how their relationship is.”
A strong relationship with a head coach is essential in any sport, but it is particularly important in college football. Since Cristobal has become the head coach, it seems as if recruits and current players have nothing but glowing remarks. Cristobal has helped transform the Oregon program, and has now landed five-star defensive recruits in back-to-back years.
Unfortunately for the Ducks and for Sewell, he and his brother Penei will likely have only one season together lining up against each other in practice and playing on the same field on Saturdays, as Penei is projected to be a day-one pick in the 2021 draft. But if he is anything like his older brother, he will be a leader on and off the field from day one.
Sewell will be joining fellow highly rated Oregon recruits Avantae Williams, Johnny Wilson, Jay Butterfield as well as a number of others. But there is no doubt that he is the crown jewel of them all.
Ducks beat out Alabama, Georgia for 5-star ILB Noah Sewell
— Kevin Wade (@KwadeSays) November 23, 2019
Eugene, Oregon Top Photo by Twitter
Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.
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