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Alex Forsyth offers advice to 5-star Oregon OT Josh Conerly Jr.

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Life as a 5-star recruit is sometimes a blessing and a curse. The opportunities presented to you are often endless, with almost any school in the nation falling over themselves trying to get you to commit to their school. However, once you decide which team you’re going to play for, the expectations are extremely high. Even a slight underperformance will leave you exposed to ridicule and fan aggravation.

For Oregon’s freshman offensive tackle Josh Conerly, that has to be something that’s not far from mind. After signing with the Ducks this spring, Conerly became the highest-rated OT in school history, ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 player at his position in the country. With that ranking, some are expecting him to start from day one, and have an instant impact on the offensive line.

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Veteran center Alex Forsyth wants to push back on those expectations.

“It takes a while to get good at football or to be like ready,” Forsyth said, via Duck Territory’s Erik Skopil. “It’s not their fault that they’re a five-star. It’s not their fault that they were highly ranked. So I think sometimes it kind of sucks for the kids.”

As the new highest-ranked OT in Oregon history, Conerly is drawing immediate comparisons to Penei Sewell, arguably the best OT to ever play for the Ducks. Sewell — who was the No. 1 OT in Oregon history at the time of his commitment — started as a freshman, won the Outland Trophy as a sophomore, and was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the No. 7 overall pick in 2021.

“I hate comparing players. You can never try to be somebody else because then you’re gonna lose sight of who you are and what makes you special,” Forsyth said. “Penei did unique things that I can never do and 99.9-percent of football players can never do. So it’s hard to compare anybody to him and I just think for a young player, it’s unfair to make comparisons and be like, ‘Oh, he’s like that guy.'”

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Conerly will have an uphill battle to find a starting spot on the Oregon O-line, considering that the Ducks bring back 5 starting linemen from last season. If he can’t crack the starting lineup, that shouldn’t be viewed as a detriment to the freshman phenom, though. He may be ranked higher than Sewell was, but that doesn’t mean his career trajectory needs to be compared to the Oregon legend’s every step of the way.

“Everybody is their own unique player,” Forsyth said. “They do things better than some and some not as good as others but that’s what makes players special and unique to themselves.”

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Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire