Offensive lineman Kyle Long will play his final game for Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, after being denied an appeal to the NCAA for another year of eligibility, two UO sources said Tuesday.
Long's collegiate athletic career was delayed while he battled chemical dependency after originally enrolling at Florida State, leaving him with three seasons of competition in football rather than the typical four. He had hoped to be granted another year of eligibility under the NCAA's medical hardship rules.
Long, the son and brother of NFL stars, played in 10 of 12 games this fall, his only year with the Ducks. He overcame an ankle injury that sidelined him for two early games, and solidified the offensive line in November by moving from tackle to make three starts at guard.
As April's NFL draft approaches, Long will be considered a raw prospect — he's in just his second season playing offensive line — with considerable potential, possibly worth a pick in the top three rounds, based on analysis from various websites.
With Long and right guard Ryan Clanton set to graduate, the Ducks will return three projected Fiesta Bowl starters on the offensive line — left tackle Tyler Johnstone, a redshirt freshman, and center Hroniss Grasu and right tackle Jake Fisher, both sophomores. Junior Mana Greig, whose knee injury precipitated Long's move to guard, is a potential starter at guard in 2013, as is regular reserve Hamani Stevens.
The Ducks did not practice Tuesday, and Long was unavailable for comment. Oregon returns to practice today and breaks Friday for the holidays before reuniting in Phoenix on Dec. 26.