Meet Devon Allen: Oregon's Newest Dual-Sport Duck

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Meet Devon Allen: Oregon's Newest Dual-Sport Duck

Every Sunday, the best 200 meter sprinter on USA's Junior Track and Field Team shows up for his evening shift at Honey Bear's BBQ in Phoenix, Arizona.

Devon Allen chooses to contribute, and those who know him best, like Brophy Prep football Coach Scooter Molander, know this is exactly where he wants to be

“You could tell he had talent early on, but his work ethic has allowed him to achieve tremendous goals in high school. You're not going to find a better person, and we are very proud of him,” he told me on Tuesday.

Right now, he's giving to his family in Arizona. Soon, he will do the same for his new ones in Eugene: the Oregon football and track squads.

“Devon was a three-year starter for us in football, a four-year track athlete, excellent hurdler and a very fine student," said Coach Molander. "He was also accepted to Stanford, but he's proud to be a Duck now."

Proud to be a Duck, but nearly wasn't.

Allen knew an offer from Oregon might not happen, “Coach Frost said they were only taking two receivers with scholarships because they needed linemen and defensive players, but if one opened up, then he'd give me a call.”

The day after Bryan Bennett transferred to Southeastern Louisiana, Scott Frost made good on his word.

“I wasn't really expecting it. I was all set to visit Arkansas and had just returned from my Stanford visit. But it was cool. I was excited.”

With or without a spot, he was willing to do the work.

“I may or may not have come just on a track scholarship and grey shirted my first year in football, but that would have been kind of rough. So it  definitely became an easier decision.”

As part of USA's Junior Outdoor Track and Field Team, Allen has seen a world beyond the Sonoran Desert.

“Last year we were in Puerto Rico. This August I'm hoping to make it to Lima, Peru for the Pan American games. I'll be in a bunch of different countries before fall camp starts.”



Sounds glamorous, but being a dual-sport athlete is not without it's conundrums. In track and field, speed breeds success. But in football, the Oregon offense is a slightly different animal; it takes more than fleetness of foot to get on the field.

“Actually, it's my style of play. It's pretty physical. I like to block and get down and dirty. The run-and gun-offense fits perfectly with what I've been doing the last couple of years.”

Having a speed and agility trainer from NFL power facility Brett Fischer Sports at arm's length has contributed to Allen's confidence heading to Eugene. Will Sullivan, who's currently prepping with All-American corner Jordan Poyer for the combine, is also the Brophy Prep receivers coach.

“Yeah, I got pretty luck with that,” he laughs.

Something tells me luck has nothing to do with it.

*Devon Allen's Bio (From Oregon Athletics )
Wide Receiver 6-0, 187, Phoenix, AZ (Brophy Prep)
The Rivals.com four-star prospect and 16th-ranked receiver in the country by Scout.com grabbed 43 receptions for 749 yards and nine touchdowns his senior season to go along with 251 yards and five scores on the ground . . . Selected to The Sporting News Top 125 (No. 104), averaged 62.4 receiving yards per game and 17.42 yards per catch .… Also a prep track standout who is expected to compete for the Ducks after claiming the 2012 state titles in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, claiming state records in both events of 13.52 and 36.39, respectively.

Former Oregon Duck Aaron Wise earns PGA Tour card with win at Air Capital Classic

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Former Oregon Duck Aaron Wise earns PGA Tour card with win at Air Capital Classic

It has been a whirlwind of a year for professional golfer Aaron Wise, whose rise to through the pro ranks has been meteoric.

It was just June of last year that Wise won the NCAA Men’s Individual title and helped the University of Oregon win its first ever team championship. Wise became the first player since UCLA’s Kevin Chappell in 2008 to win both the individual and team championships in the same year.

Now he has his sights set on the PGA TOUR.

Wise played some of the best golf of his career for a wire-to-wire win at the 28th annual Air Capital Classic on June 18th.  Wise earned $112,500 for his victory and secured his PGA Tour card for the 2017-18 season.

At 20 years, 11 months, 28 days, Wise is the fourth-youngest winner in tour history. PGA Tour mainstay Jason Day, currently ranked No.4 in the world, set the record in 2007 winning the Legend Financial Group Classic at 19 years, 7 months, and 26 days. Not bad company for Wise.

“It’s a lot of history to go down with and it’s just a really cool feeling,” said Wise, who moved from No. 35 to No. 6 on the money list. “I played great all week so none of that surprises me but it’s great to be in that position.”

From start to finish, Wise had a historic weekend at the Air Capital Classic. He started 62-62, the lowest back-to-back rounds in the history of the Air Capital Classic, tied the second lowest 36-hole score (124) in Tour history, and his final score 21-under 259 was also a tournament record. His wire-to-wire win was also the first since Stephan Jaeger’s win at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2016.

Wise will officially receive his PGA Tour card at this year’s WinCo Foods Portland Open, Aug 21-27 at Pumpkin Ridge.  Tournament director Pat McCabe hopes Duck fans show up to support their former star.

“Congratulations to Aaron on his first win on the Web.com TOUR. It will be fun to have him at the WinCo Foods Portland Open in August. He has been on a tear through the golf world since he won the NCAA Championship as a Duck last year in Eugene. He has a very promising future on the PGA Tour” said McCabe. “Hope to see the U of O community come out and support Aaron as he competes for the top spot on the Web.com Tour and receives his PGA Tour card at Pumpkin Ridge. This is likely the last chance to see him play in the Pacific Northwest.”

For more information on the WinCo Food Portland Open, and to purchase your tickets to see Wise in action, visit wincofoodsportlandopen.com

QB Travis Jonsen's decision to transfer best for him, not for Oregon

QB Travis Jonsen's decision to transfer best for him, not for Oregon

The news that quarterback Travis Jonsen, who came to Oregon to become the next Marcus Mariota, will transfer only becomes an issue for the Ducks if starter Justin Herbert, who looks like the next Mariota, goes down and UO must turn to freshman Braxton Burmeister.

Unless, of course, Burmeister is the next Herbert.

Jonsen's decision, revealed yesterday, came as no big surprise. In fact, the most surprising aspect is that it took so long for the redshirt sophomore to pack up his locker and move on ten months after falling behind Herbert, and others, on the depth chart. 

Players want and expect to play. Especially quarterbacks, like Jonsen, once rated as the No. 3-dual threat prospect in the nation coming out of high school in 2015. He didn't go to Oregon to hold a clipboard and wear a headset. He went there to be the starter. 

Redshirt as a freshman? Fine.

Play the backup role for a year? Okay. 

Spend the next three seasons sitting behind a potential superstar like Herbert? No thanks!

The moment last fall when Herbert raced up the depth chart to become the backup to graduate transfer Dakota Prukop, Jonsen should have packed his bags. Adding insult to injury, Jonsen also fell behind true freshman Terry Wilson Jr., whom the Ducks planned to redshirt and did. 

The fact that Jonsen stayed, gutted it out and returned for spring drills is a testament to his commitment to try and make things work for the Ducks. Those criticizing him for running are being unfair. The window in life to play college football is brief and nobody remembers the faithful backup who wasted his talent on the sideline for the betterment of the team. 

New coach Willie Taggart, who took over for Mark Helfrich last December, offered a fresh start for all on the roster by stating that nobody had a guaranteed starting job. That opened the door for Jonsen to maybe seize the starting job away from Herbert. But Taggart had watched game video. He had seen Herbert throw for 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions over seven starts. Taggart watched Herbert throw for 489 yards against Arizona State and the six touchdowns thrown against California. 

Jonsen had, as well. Live. So had Wilson. Each had to have known that beating out Herbert was a long shot. Wilson got the hint sooner than Jonsen and left Oregon during spring drills. Jonsen held on two months longer before deciding that his best path to see the field would be to play a season at Riverside City College and then wait for offers from FBS programs looking for a transfer starter in 2018.

Jonsen could have picked the program last fall, transferred, sat out a year and now be eligible to play. However, now he can put together a body of work on the field at a level higher than high school and maybe entice more programs to seek his services.

Jonsen is leaving not because he couldn't cut it. Taggart has said he loves Jonsen's talent and believes he is a starting-caliber quarterback. But Herbert is simply more gifted and more proven. 

So where does this leave the Ducks? Well, let's say the situation is not dire but certainly not optimal. 

Oregon has been in this position before. 

In 2004, freshman quarterback Dennis Dixon beat out redshirt freshman Johnny DuRocher to earn the backup job behind junior Kellen Clemens. DuRocher transferred to Washington leaving the Ducks thin at quarterback. Oregon went 5-6 but Clemens never missed a start. 

In 2012, Mariota, then a redshirt freshman, beat out redshirt sophomore Bryan Bennett, who immediately considered transferring. Had he done so, the Ducks would have had to rely on true freshmen, Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues to backup Mariota. Oregon avoided that potential hazard when then-coach Chip Kelly convinced Bennett to remain at UO for a season before he ultimately transferred to Southeastern Louisiana, where he proved dominant. 

Taggart couldn't work that same magic on Wilson or Jonsen and now finds himself with just two scholarship quarterbacks. Three if you count redshirt senior Taylor Alie, who saw action at quarterback in 2015 before being moved to wide receiver last fall.

Burmeister is the wild card in all of this. A 4-star recruit Taggart calls a football version of a "gym rat," Burmeister has put in countless hours of extra work on the field and in the film room.

If he is ahead of where Jonsen and Wilson were as true freshmen, the Ducks could be just fine if Herbert were to go down for a game or two.  

While Burmeister didn't shot much during the spring game in terms of throwing the ball accurately, he did display a live arm and very capable running skills that would serve him well in a spot start or two. 

Where things could become dicey is if Herbert went down for a lengthy period of time. In that situation, Jonsen could have stepped in and given the Ducks starting-caliber play, at least based on Taggart's view of his potential. 

Burmeister might be able to provide the same level of performance. He is just more of a mystery given that he has just 15 practices under his belt at the college level.

A downside to playing Burmeister at all is that Oregon would have to burn his redshirt. Ideally, Oregon could have sat him this season and created a two-year gap in eligibility status between him and Herbert. 

Another possibility at No. 3 behind Alie could be in-coming freshman athlete Bruce Judson, a four-star recruit out Cocoa High School in Cocoa, Fla.  He figures to play receiver at Oregon but did play quarterback in high school. 

But let's be real. Should Oregon be forced to dig that deep into the quarterback depth chart, figure that the Ducks at best would be headed to the Las Vegas Bowl. 

Things certainly have become more interesting at quarterback for the Ducks. But when you have a starter good enough to scare off two players as gifted as Jonsen and Wilson, that can't be considered a bad thing. 

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 3 - NT Jordon Scott

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 3 - NT Jordon Scott

Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.

No. 3: Freshman nose tackle Jordon Scott

The legend of Jordon Scott is starting to take root and will surely explode the first time the 335-pound nose tackle rips past an offensive linemen to make a for loss or a sack at Autzen Stadium. 

Scott should receive plenty of opportunities to do so after making it clear during spring drills that his combination of bulk, strength, speed and low pad level could combine to make him a force. 

Scott, out of Largo, Fla., has had to shed some weight since his arrival last winter. 

"Iʼm really proud of him," Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt said. "He came in about 358 lbs. and is down to about 330 pounds, in that area. Heʼs always been strong. Heʼs a very explosive guy and he has great character and he has great demeanor. And he has great confidence and knows what he wants. He knows what he wants to do in life, and those qualities are very, very important."

What's important for the Ducks is that they find someone, anyone, to hold up the middle of the defensive in Leavitt's 3-4 scheme. 

That person will be a combination of junior Rex Manu, redshirt sophomore Gary Baker and Scott. Graduate transfer Scott Pagano, from Clemson, could also play the nose position. 

But it's Scott who is the most intriguing. With his natural physical gifts, he has a chance to work his way into becoming an impact player - down the line. 

Don't expect Scott to take the Pac-12 by storm next season. He likely won't be in physical condition enough to be the guy inside for most of a game. However, do expect Scott to be in the rotation, making plays, learning and working his way toward potentially becoming a special player down the line. 

The working list

No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott

BREAKING: Oregon quarterback Travis Jonsen to transfer

BREAKING: Oregon quarterback Travis Jonsen to transfer

Oregon quarterback Travis Jonsen has decided to transfer, according to a program source, leaving the Ducks with just one veteran quarterback on the roster. 

Jonsen plans to transfer to Riverside City College where he could play this season then be eligible to transfer and play at a FBS program in 2018.

His move affirms that sophomore Justin Herbert was winning the competition with Jonsen to be the starter in 2017.

Jonsen follows redshirst freshman Terry Wilson Jr., who elected to transfer during spring drills. 

The loss of Jonsen makes true freshman Braxton Burmeister the backup to Herbert, and could thrust senior Taylor Alie back into the quarterback mix after he was moved to receiver in 2016. 

Jonsen came to Oregon as a four-star recruit in 2015 and No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation. He redshirted as a freshman under coach Mark Helfrich and saw his development slowed by a turf toe injury. 

The following spring, Oregon brought in graduate transfer Dakota Prukop to compete with Jonsen for the starting job after moving Taylor Alie and Jeff Lockie to receiver.

Jonsen showed well and impressed coaches enough for them to believe that even if Jonsen lost the starting job the Ducks would be set at quarterback for the near future. 

However, during fall camp Jonsen regressed and fell all the way to fourth string behind Prukop, Herbert and Wilson, who was redshirting. 

Herbert eventually became the starter and ended up passing for 19 touchdowns while very much looking like a potential future superstar. 

Jonsen, however, elected to stay at Oregon and make a fresh start under new coach Willie Taggart, hired shortly after Helfrich and his staff were let go.

Taggart stated numerous times upon his arrival and throughout spring drills that Herbert would not be handed the starting and job and would have to compete with Jonsen and Wilson. 

Early into spring drills, however, Wilson bowed out of the competition and left. According to a source, Jonsen sought to leave UO before spring drills before electing to stay. 

Oregon's spring game, however, made it clear publicly that Herbert remained the best quarterback on the roster. 

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns. Jonsen completed 5 of 15 passes for 86 yards with an interception. 

 

Ducks receive commitment from Braden Lenzy out of Tigard

Ducks receive commitment from Braden Lenzy out of Tigard

The Oregon Ducks received a commitment this week from four-star athlete Braden Lenzy out of Tigard High School. 

Lenzy, who decommitted from Notre Dame and plays wide receiver and defensive back, is listed by Rivals.com at 6-foot, 165-pounds. Recruiting website 247Sports also rates Lenzy as a four-star recruit and as the No. 8-rated athlete in the nation. Rivals ranks him No. 16 on that list and as the No. 4 prospect in a deep in-state class of recruits. 

Lenzy, based on his Hudl highlight video, is a very smooth route runner and elusive after the catch. Although, the video didn't reveal much in the way of elite breakaway speed.  

The addition of Lenzy gives the Ducks 11 players on their commitment list for the 2018 recruiting class and bumped Oregon's class ranking up to No. 13 from No. 18. 

Oregon lands ex-ISU star MiKyle McIntosh

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USA Today

Oregon lands ex-ISU star MiKyle McIntosh

This off-season the Oregon Ducks have a few holes to fill after losing some key pieces from last season’s Final Four team. Well, help may have arrived in the form on Illinois State transfer MiKyle McIntosh.

McIntosh, a 6-foot-7, 234 pound forward, averaged 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds last season for the Redbirds leading them to a school record 28-win season and a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title.

In April McIntosh decided to leave ISU and declare for the NBA Draft without signing an agent, leaving the door open for a return to the NCAA.  McIntosh worked out with a few NBA teams, including his “hometown” Toronto Raptors.

I looks like it became obvious in the workouts it would benefit McIntosh to head back to the college game.  McIntosh, who was considering Oregon and Oklahoma among others, took to his Instagram page on Wednesday to declare his final decision.

The addition of McIntosh continues Oregon’s influx of Canadian talent in recent years. It is not lost on Ducks fans that head coach Dana Altman has grabbed some great talent up north, including Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher, and Dylan Ennis. 2017 commit Abu Kigab calls Canada home as well.

As a graduate transfer McIntosh with be immediately eligible to play for the Ducks.

 

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 2 - WR Dillon Mitchell

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 2 - WR Dillon Mitchell

Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.

No. 2: Sophomore wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

Late last season when Mitchell returned a punt 45 yards against Utah he demonstrated the speed and athleticism that have made him such an intriguing prospect since he signed as a four-star recruit in 2016. The Ducks will need to see many more examples of his talent in 2017. 

Mitchell came to Oregon as the No. 17-rated wide receiver in the nation but ended up catching just two passes for nine yards while getting lost in a crowded depth chart at receiver. 

Injuries to Devon Allen and Dwayne Stanford thinned out that depth a bit but not enough to for Mitchell to become a major contributor. Now the depth at receiver is so thin that Mitchell will be needed to deliver in order for the passing game to reach its potential under sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert. All signs point to Mitchell being ready to make an impact. 

The Ducks will return just two proven pass catchers in senior wide receivers Darren Carrington II and Charles Nelson. Mitchell will enter fall camp as the No. 3 receiver in an offense that starts three receivers. 

Redshirt sophomore Alex Ofodile, injured all spring, was a four-star recruit in 2015. He will have a chance to compete for playing time. Freshman Darrian McNeal could be in the mix after a solid spring. So to could former cornerback Malik Lovette. Each presents some intriguing abilities but none are as complete as Mitchell could possibly be. 

Oregon coach Willie Taggart entered spring drills hoping to see Mitchell demonstrate play-making ability to match the hype. Taggart says he has been pleased with what he saw from Mitchell and expects him to be in the mix this fall and receive a chance to thrive. 

But it's up to Mitchell to seize the moment. How well he performs could be the difference in a game or two for the Ducks, who will likely need to play great on offense to overcome what figures to still be a mediocre defense. 

The working list

No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott

Wonder women of Oregon make NCAA Track And Field history

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USA Today

Wonder women of Oregon make NCAA Track And Field history

The women’s collegiate track and field championship took place this past weekend at Hayward Field and the trophy won’t be traveling far to its home. Oregon has a special place in history when it comes to its women’s Track and Field team having won a Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor NCAA Championship. They’re the first team to ever do so.  A 4×4 relay that was pure pandemonium clinched the championship for the Lady Ducks.

Anyone familiar with the even kill demeanor of head coach Robert Johnson would know an uproar of emotions after the race was an indicator of the magnitude and thrill. Afterwards he added “It should have never ever come down to that… but what a champion’s heart to see her soldier back in a very short period of time to run a hell of a leg in the 4×400… Just a lion’s effort by those girls today.” per Beth Maiman of NCAA.com Oregon and Georgia went back and forth throughout the meet with contrasting styles. Each point scored by Oregon was done on the track and Georgia’s was scored in the field.  In the end, it was the Lady Ducks who had more athletes that qualified for the meet prevailed.

While the Lady Ducks didn’t score in the field, they had numerous contributions scoring in six events. The scoring kicked off in the 100m where Deajah Stevens took 2nd and Ariana Washington took 4th. That same pair made the 200m final as well. Washington took 2nd and Steven looked to be on her way to winning the race before a fall in the last 20 meters didn’t allow her to finish. Elexis Guster chipped in with a 6th place finish in the 400m. Finally, in the 100m hurdles Alaysha Johnson took 4th and Sasha Wallace grabbed the 6th spot.

The real star of this meet was Raevyn Rogers. The Houston native won her 5th NCAA title in the 800m. She pulled her teammate Brooke Feldmeier through who finished 3rd.  This capped a season for Rogers in which she was never beaten in an 800. She was the anchor of the 4×4 team that broke the collegiate record that was set by Texas in 2004. Her 49.77s split to run down fellow PAC 12 rival USC was worthy of a trophy itself. Fitting for The Bowerman trophy finalist.

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 1 - CB Thomas Graham Jr.

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 1 - CB Thomas Graham Jr.

Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.

No. 1: Freshman cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

At the very least, Graham will likely be the team's third cornerback behind senior Arrion Springs and junior Ugo Amadi next season. But don't be surprised if Graham becomes a starter.

Graham lived up to his billing as the No. 12-rated cornerback in the nation (Rivals.com) with a strong spring after enrolling early, enough to likely move senior safety/cornerback Tyree Robinson back to full-time safety.

Graham is a dynamic athlete with corner skills beyond his age. Oregon coach Willie Taggart raved about Graham during spring drills, calling him a competitor and an elite playmaker.  Receivers and quarterbacks went at Graham all spring and he never backed down. His competitive nature and love for football, Taggart said, makes him a threat to be an instant impact player.

Springs and Amadi also had high praise for the four-star recruit out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., both stating in so many words that Graham is the real deal and ahead of where they were as freshmen. 

Oregon has started freshmen cornerbacks in the past with mixed results. Amadi was up and down in 2015. Long-time Ducks fans will remember the struggles of Aaron Gipson and Justin Phinisee back in the day. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Terrence Mitchell and Troy Hill all made starts in 2011 and took their lumps. 

Nevertheless, virtually all of the above - the jury remains out on Amadi - went on to have great careers at Oregon. 

The Ducks' defense, in complete rebuild mode after ranking 128th in the nation last year, improved greatly in the back end last season but received little help from a weak pass rush. That said, the defense lacked playmakers (just nine interceptions, zero from Amadi and Springs).

Graham could help change that reality while also taking a few lumps here and there.  

The working list

No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott