Mario Cristobal has firmly established himself as one of the top recruiters in the country. He has proven that it is indeed possible to bring elite talent to Eugene, and under his leadership, the Ducks have compiled the best roster in the Pac-12… on paper.
For all of their supposed talent, the Ducks have struggled to find difference makers on both sides of the ball in 2020. With many veteran stalwarts graduating or opting out, Oregon has had to rely on fresh faces in key positions. And even though many of those new starters were once highly ranked recruits, their impact has been generally underwhelming.
That is, until the Pac-12 Championship Game. Players who had been quiet for most of the year stepped up in a big way against USC, and their emergence propelled the Ducks to their second Pac-12 title in as many years.
Defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus — a former under-the-radar recruit whom the Ducks snatched from the heart of SEC country — had been a rotational player in a defensive line that had struggled all season long. But on Friday, he teamed up with superstar pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux to terrorize USC quarterback Kedon Slovis. Dorlus looked like a transformed player; his strength and power were on full display throughout the night. He routinely bullied the Trojans’ offensive line, finishing with a sack to go along with additional hurries and disruption that won’t show up on the stat sheet.
Another former recruit from SEC territory, defensive back Jamal Hill, also stepped up big time. He snatched a pair of interceptions, including the one that ended up sealing the deal for the Ducks as the Trojans were looking to tie the game. Hill gave the Ducks’ secondary the spark that it needed, as he flew around the field, showcasing much-improved instincts paired with his natural athleticism.
Finally, on offense, the Ducks needed to complement star tailback Travis Dye, especially without CJ Verdell in the lineup. Running back Sean Dollars has flashed explosive potential just about every time he has seen the field throughout his young career, but his opportunities have been few and far between, as he has been buried on the depth chart. He finally saw some extended action on Friday, and he didn’t disappoint. He led the team with 7.4 yards per carry, and he helped to kickstart an offense that had been stuck in neutral for a couple of weeks.
The best teams in college football reload rather than rebuild. The Ducks have been recruiting well enough to avoid taking big steps back whenever key players on the roster depart. For much of 2020, Oregon had been waiting for new stars to emerge. That finally happened against USC, and if these three players can build upon their breakout performances, this certainly won’t be the last time they find themselves hoisting postseason hardware.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by John McGillen From USC Athletics
Joshua is an adopted Duck fanatic, originally hailing from southwestern Pennsylvania. His love for the University of Oregon began as a young child when he became mesmerized by the flashy uniforms and explosive offenses of the Chip Kelly era, and now, he follows the team religiously. His fondest memory of the team is seeing De’Anthony Thomas race past Wisconsin defenders back in the 2012 Rose Bowl. A true football enthusiast, Joshua loves studying the intricacies of the game, and he aspires to become a professional sports journalist. Joshua now resides in Morgantown, West Virginia where he works in customer service. When he’s not watching Oregon replays, Joshua loves reading, writing, and spending time with his family. Contact: email@example.com
Daily Articles NO MORE on FishDuck
Please see this explanation right here… and to learn about the impact of FishDuck on so many–check the summary right here. I will be writing intermittently on FishDuck (as the mood strikes) this summer, and a couple of times a week during the football season, and those articles and analyses will be posted here on FishDuck, and the links to my articles will also be available on the new site PuddleHuddle, when it is up soon.
New at FishDuck? Learn about the site right here!
Our 32 rules can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
Take note though, there are NO STRIKES, NO WARNINGS, and NO SLACK given. Violate the rules and you are gone, as this is what the 99% who post superb comments want. (The Ban could be for weeks, months or permanent) For the less than 1% out there who do not have impulse-control … as you write your comment that violates our rules, ask yourself, “is this worth getting banned over?”
FishDuck members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!