Oregon’s BIGGEST Unknown Player for 2021?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

The Spring Game was certainly a coming-out party for quite a number of freshmen, as we were all impressed with the new players in Robby Ashford, Ty Thompson, Dont’e Thornton and Troy Franklin. I also loved what I noted of the receiving and blocking of the new Tight Ends in Terrance Ferguson and Moliki Matavao, yet another player caught my eye and while he did not create the big plays, he may be a reason why explosion plays will occur at Autzen in near future.

Thus know that my definition of the “Biggest” unknown player will not be in terms of touchdowns, yards per carry or receiving, as the context in the case for “Biggest” is quite literal. Logan Sagapolu at 6’2″ and 345 pounds has an intriguing future in the interior of the offensive line. He was originally recruited to be a center at Oregon, and I can certainly picture him rooting out even the biggest of Nose Tackles facing him where smaller centers are often driven backward after the snap.

From Pac-12 Video

Logan Sagapolu has a wide base ideal at center or guard against big Nose Tackles.

Sagapolu appears to be thick and stout, thus between his size and growing strength, (thanks Coach Aaron Feld!) he could truly become an inside road-grader that Coach Mario Cristobal lusts for. Yet note he is not short at 6’2, but the size of those tree-trunk legs and a wide base at the hips seem perfect for the drive blocking he will engage in to create big holes for Oregon running backs. He originally went on a LDS mission after selecting Oregon over his in-state teams of BYU and Utah, and came to Eugene early due to COVID.

Chris Courtney of Whole Flock of Ducks gave us this recruiting analysis back in 2019 when Sagapolu’s verbal commitment to Oregon was announced.

Notable strengths:

  • Versatility: Though there are some legit knocks on Sagapolu’s athleticism, he is capable of filling in and playing virtually any position along the offensive line. An interior line position is where Sagapolu figures to excel, but he does have experience playing tackle as well.
  • Great initial punch: Strong as an ox, Sagapolu can be a dominant player at the point of attack. His ability to practically eliminate defenders from a play with a single blow is impressive, making him an even more imposing obstacle for those lined up across from him.
  • Plays with a mean streak: As if tremendous size and strength weren’t enough, Sagapolu is player who plays with a nasty streak. On film, he appears to be a player who takes great joy in burying his opponents when given the opportunity.

In the clip of one play above, Sagapolu is the right guard, first one to the right of the center, and second one down from the top of the six interior linemen/tight end and he is No. 61. His first objective after the snap is to help the center with a double-team on No. 73, the defensive lineman in green. Note how the two drive the defender back, but the power of Sagapolu moves his opponent further inside, thus creating a larger running lane for the running back.

The next part of the “combo-block” for Logan, is after making sure the center is in command of the Nose Tackle–he then leaves and moves to the second level, moving to block the linebacker as he does wonderfully. The timing of a combo block is tricky; if you leave too early before the center has full control of the defender, then the play gets blown up at the line of scrimmage. Move off the initial block too late and the running back is already past you and the linebacker nails him immediately. Sagapolu’s timing is perfect, and impressive for a freshman.

For an old offensive lineman … seeing that wonderfully executed combo blocking gives me a rush, as this young man is going to be good. I grant you this is not blocking a USC nose tackle or linebacker yet, but Logan has to show mastery at this level first. He has not been spoken of when the discussion is about the young-guns coming up in the offensive line, but he will ultimately become too successful to ignore, and that will bring a smile to the faces of running backs at Oregon.

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from Pac-12 Video

Phil Anderson, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.

 

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