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  • Ex-South star Breeze commits to Oregon

    Central Catholic High junior-to-be says joining Ducks football squad a 'dream come true'
  • There really was only one college that tugged at the heartstrings of Medford's Brady Breeze as recruitment opened for the heralded safety in football.
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  • There really was only one college that tugged at the heartstrings of Medford's Brady Breeze as recruitment opened for the heralded safety in football.
    When that offer came, Breeze tried to play it cool and leave his options open, but even that began to seem silly for the South Medford High standout, who recently finalized his transfer to Central Catholic in Portland.
    Calling it a "dream come true," the incoming junior accepted a full scholarship offer from the University of Oregon on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Breeze said he's thrilled to one day play on the same field as his uncle Chad Cota, a former star safety for Oregon as well as in the NFL.
    "I just thought it was the right choice to make," Breeze said Friday of his early commitment. "That school just felt like home and felt like the only school I ever wanted to go to. Why would I waste my time waiting and wasting everyone's time instead of just committing to the school I'd always dreamed of playing for?"
    "There was no other school I ever wanted to go to besides Oregon," he added. "I had other interests but I never really had any other school in mind than Oregon. I'm super excited."
    Considered one of the top safety recruits in the Class of 2016, Breeze suffered a broken hand in the second game of the season last year for South Medford but still wound up with five interceptions and 79 tackles. He also caught 12 passes for 148 yards for the Panthers and was a second-team all-Southwest Conference selection on defense.
    Breeze said his phone call to inform Ducks assistant coach John Neal of his decision was warmly received on Tuesday.
    "They were pretty excited," Breeze said of the reaction. "Coach Neal said he was stoked to have me on board. He said he'd like to have me now because he said he could use me this year and that they just really wanted me there so bad. They were so excited and that just got me even more excited about it."
    Junior commitments are not binding but Breeze said he intends to follow through on his word. He had also received considerable interest from Oregon State University and the University of Washington after excelling during his recent tour of Pac-12 Conference football camps.
    "I'll always have my eyes open but I'm definitely focusing on Oregon, that's just my favorite school ever," he said. "I thought about it long and hard, what if Alabama or somebody crazy like that in the country gave me an offer, would I take it over Oregon, but I thought to myself, no, Oregon is the only school I'd ever wanted to go to, more than Alabama and any others. It's a dream come true."
    Oregon, in fact, had more of a lock on Breeze than it could ever have hoped for. He said Oregon was the only college team shirt he's ever worn, and even his alarm clock for morning workouts has been set to play the Ducks' fight song.
    "The Ducks' fight song would be going off and that would just give me more motivation to work out," he said.
    Breeze said that when word began to leak out about his commitment, many of his Medford friends wondered if his commitment meant that he might be returning to South Medford to finish up his high school career, but that will not be the case. His family recently settled into a condominium in Lake Oswego and he's already enrolled at Central Catholic and participating in football team activities as he looks forward to helping the Rams attempt to defend their Class 6A state championship.
    "I feel like Central Catholic is the right school for me, it already feels like home," he said.
    A standout outfielder in baseball and two-year starter for the Panthers, Breeze will next be competing in the 16U Perfect Game Baseball World Series in Fort Myers, Florida, July 26-30 at the Jet Blue Player Development Complex.
    Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry
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