Oregon Football: A Look at Former Ducks in College Camps
Like any other successful program, the Oregon Ducks have seen their share of talent leave the Eugene area.
Whether it is because of academics, personal conduct, or a lack of playing time, many commits and players never end college where they begin. Now fall camp is underway, fans are looking to the future, and former Ducks have moved on.
The transfer of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, a late addition to the 2008 class, has been well chronicled as he fights for the starting role at Ole’ Miss. But possibly the most intriguing former Duck is tight end Mychal Rivera, who is backing up Luke Stocker at Tennessee.
A sophomore in Knoxville, Rivera will see his former teammates up close and personal during week two of the upcoming season.
Two quarterbacks from the 2006 class are entering their final seasons at the collegiate level. It looks like Justin Roper will begin the season behind starter Andrew Seele for the Montana Grizzlies. A 3-star recruit from Georgia, Roper was an inconsistent, yet strong contributor before transferring from the program in 2008.
On the other side of the state, Beaverton native Cody Kempt returns to Bozeman as the starting Bobcats signal caller after leading the squad during the final six games of 2009. The fall camp will see a strong push from redshirt freshman Denarious McGhee, who is fighting for a slice of Kempt’s playing time.
The 2007 recruiting class was full of expectations and talent that never quite was fulfilled for many Duck fans.
Oregon native Myles Wade and Utah prep Simi Fili were both rated as 4-star recruits by Rivals and were frequently mentioned as the future anchors for the Oregon defense. Neither ever made it to Eugene, and both soon enrolled at junior colleges.
Wade spent one year at Arizona Western Community College, and is now entering his junior year at Texas Tech. The 6’1″, 330 pound tackle played in four games last season and is looking for an increased role heading into the 2010 season.
On the other hand, Fili has made the decision to quit football after playing two years at the junior college level.
A 3-star recruit from Mission Viejo, California, defensive end Dominic Glover has enrolled at Saddleback College in Southern California. The Gauchos may have found an Oregon pipeline, as 2007 running back commit Charles Neal spent the last two years totaling over 300 yards on the ground.
Another defensive lineman, Tonio Celotto, is returning to the field after sitting out the 2009 season. Celotto is fighting with Brett Roy and Jack Reynoso for the lone unoccupied tackle position on the Nevada defensive line. In Eugene, Celotto recorded 27 tackles in two years with the Ducks.
With the current lack of depth on the defensive line, coach Jerry Azzinaro would certainly benefit from the the presence of Celotto, Wade, Fili, and Glover.
The son of Montana coach Robin Pfulgrad, former Duck wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad, is primed for an explosive year at Arizona State.
The former Sheldon High School (Eugene, Oregon) athlete sat out the 2009 season and is projected as a starter for the Sun Devils. If Steven Threet or Brock Osweiler can find their rhythms, the junior Pflugrad will be a primary beneficiary.
A former commit to never make it to Eugene, four star defensive lineman Justin Thompson is entering his senior season with the Memphis Tigers. The 6’5″, 290 pound California native is projected to begin the season as a reserve after spending the majority of last year fighting injuries.
After contributing as a freshman, Chris Harper sat out last season in order to play at Kansas State under Bill Snyder. A one-time quarterback, Harper was a prep 4-star recruit and is projected to fill one of the wide receiver roles in Manhattan.
A few other notes: Two members of the 2005 class will be suiting up at California University. Linebacker Kevin Garrett and speedster Derrick Jones will look to contribute in 2010. And former two-sport star and 2009 commit Braxton Lane is batting .185 with five RBI’s in 22 games with the Texas Rangers minor league rookie squad.
It will be interesting to see where Kiko Alonso may turn up next, and there still no word on the intentions of 4-star recruit and former Duck Terrence Pritchett.
But like these other guys, he is likely to find a home somewhere. Unfortunately for fans, it will no longer be in Eugene.