Even with the Pac-12 returning to the field in early November, opt-outs are still piling up at Oregon.
Brady Breeze, the MVP of last year’s Rose Bowl, became the latest Oregon player to announce a decision not to play for the Ducks in 2020. Instead, like several of his teammates, the safety announced Sunday that he has decided to “opt out of an uncertain 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL draft.”
Breeze emerged as a starter over the second half of the 2019 season and finished the year with 62 tackles, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Also a standout on special teams, Breeze’s best efforts on defense came in the Pac-12 title game and Rose Bowl. In the conference title game victory over Utah, Breeze had nine tackles and an interception. In the Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, Breeze had 11 tackles and scored a touchdown on a special teams miscue by the Badgers.
Now Breeze is riding the momentum of that late-season surge into the pre-draft process. It’s the latest blow for a Ducks secondary, which was considered one of the best in the nation in the lead-up to the season.
Breeze is the fourth member of the starting defensive backfield to opt out, joining cornerbacks Thomas Graham and Deommodore Lenoir and fellow safety Jevon Holland. Not only is the secondary now scrambling for new starters with the season set to begin on Nov. 7 against Stanford, the defense has now lost six of its top seven tacklers from the 2019 season
On top of all of that, All-American tackle Penei Sewell has also opted out. Sewell is considered by many to be the top offensive tackle in the country and is expected to be a top 10 pick in the 2021 draft.
At No. 12 Oregon, was the only Pac-12 team ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25. But these opt outs are a severe hit for Mario Cristobal’s team. The Ducks already had to replace star quarterback Justin Herbert, but now what was once a star-studded defense is going to look a lot different when the games begin next month.
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