Opportunity knocks for UO receiver Ofodile
EUGENE — Alex Ofodile can still recite the depth chart at wide receiver when he arrived at Oregon two years ago.
“Byron Marshall, Bralon Addison, Dwayne (Stanford), Devon Allen, Darren Carrington, Jalen Brown, Kirk Merritt and me,” the Oregon sophomore said. “I sat behind some great guys.”
Oregon expected to still have a few of those guys this coming season, but Brown and Merritt both transferred, Allen turned pro in track and Carrington was kicked off the team following a DUI arrest.
That left Ofodile, a redshirt sophomore, as the most experienced outside receiver on the roster despite having one career catch for 8 yards last year at Utah.
“This is my opportunity,” said Ofodile, a four-star recruit who had 188 catches for 2,911 yards and 31 touchdowns during his final two years of high school in Missouri.
Ofodile’s opportunities at Oregon always seem to be slowed by an injury. He hurt his foot while redshirting his first year and that forced him to sit out the following spring.
After playing in seven games last year, Ofodile broke a bone in his left foot in the spring that limited him into the start of fall camp.
“They transitioned me in slowly, but I have picked it up a little bit,” the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder said. “I have been doing some team stuff and 7-on-7, but not pushing it too hard.”
Ofodile expects to be on the field when the Ducks open against Southern Utah on Sept. 2.
“I am trying to get comfortable, get back into things,” he said. “It was a little rough at first getting my timing, but as a whole, the offense and receivers have picked it up. It is a bunch of hard-working guys so I think we can get the job done.”
With Charles Nelson moving to slot receiver, Dillon Mitchell and Ofodile are Oregon’s only two outside receivers who have caught a pass in a game with a total of three receptions between them. Ofodile had to catch up on Willie Taggart’s offense after missing spring drills.
“Mentally, I was pretty in tune learning new stuff,” he said. “For me, it was just getting back to where I was physically and getting comfortable.”
The coaching staff added depth on the outside following spring ball by moving Malik Lovette over from the slot and switching Brenden Schooler from safety after fall practice began. Freshmen Johnny Johnson III and Daewood Davis arrived in the summer.
“My experience helps me a lot,” Ofodile said. “I got to sit behind all those great players and learn from them. I think that is what sets me apart, doing the college football thing and knowing what to expect.”
Ofodile’s locker is near quarterback Justin Herbert, which helped the two get to know each other last season as Ofodile practiced with Herbert on Oregon’s second-string offense at times before Herbert was named the starter.
“We built a relationship there, so now it is just going out and doing it,” Ofodile said. “It will be fun to see what it will be like in the season and get that developed.”
Ofodile said Oregon will continue to push the tempo on offense with some new philosophies.
“You are going to see a lot of crazy stuff that you haven’t seen Oregon do formation-wise,” he said. “We have a lot of tricks up our sleeve so that is different. It is fun to play in, I really enjoy it.”