Who is this Johnny Mundt anyway..?
EUGENE – Oregon tight end John Mundt, the Ducks biggest freshman sensation since De’Anthony Thomas (2011), said he didn’t expect to be a huge part of Saturday's game plan but sure hoped he would be.
“I was ready for if I got my shot I was going to run my route, get open and get the ball,” he said following at 59-14 win over Tennessee at Autzen Stadium.
The first ball came his way on the Ducks’ first drive and he gained seven yards. Then the passes kept coming and coming until Mundt finished with five receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
“His number got called several times today and he rose to the challenge,” UO coach Mark Helfrich said.
Along the way, Mundt demonstrated sure hands, good open-field running ability, a knack for breaking tackles and a powerful stiff arm. He also blocked well against some large, athletic defensive ends for the Volunteers, according to UO coaches.
“He did a really good job at the line of scrimmage for us…” Oregon tight ends coach Tom Osborne said. “It’s very encouraging to see a guy that young step into a game like that against an SEC team with those kind of guys and have success.”
Mundt said he knew he would get the start by Friday after Lyerla had missed several practices. Nerves set in on Saturday but he said he calmed down once warmups began and he got into “the zone.”
“I blocked out everything else and just started thinking about football,” he said.
His first touchdown came from 16 yards out and gave the Ducks a 10-7 lead in the first quarter. Teammates swarmed him as the crowd of more than 57,895 went wild.
“It was surreal,” he said. “It was amazing. Noting else felt like that. Just hearing the crowd roar and having my team pick me up was amazing.”
Quarterback Marcus Mariota said the 6-foot-4, 232-pounder out of Modesto, Calif., impressed him.
“I’m so proud of that guy,” Mariota said. “As a freshman you expect him to be wide-eyed but he was ready to go. He was calm and collected. He just looked like he had a lot of fun and that was good to see.”
Helfrich wasn’t the least bit surprised based on how Mundt had performed in practice.
“The guy is rock solid,” Helfrich said. “He comes to work everyday. He has a great attitude. He’s a guy you root for. There’s a lot of guys like that on or team but he in particular is just a real positive guy and works really hard and he wants to do everything he can to help our team….I’m really excited for his future.”