“I will be going home to fulfill my dream of becoming an Oregon Duck.”
This was what Boise State safety transfer Jordan Happle tweeted out on October 5.
But this wasn’t the first time Happle has been linked to Oregon. Flashback to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2017. Happle, a redshirt-freshman safety, was lurking in the Broncos’ secondary and picked off a pass from sophomore Justin Herbert with 7:09 remaining in the second quarter, Boise State already up 17-0 on Oregon.
This was Mario Cristobal’s first game as Oregon’s head coach due to Willie Taggart abruptly leaving for his ‘dream job’ at Florida State.
Happle wasn’t the only Bronco on the field that day to choose Oregon. Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos also interviewed and was hired as Oregon’s defensive coordinator in 2019 after Jim Leavitt left the program.
Now, the two are reunited once again but this time in Eugene, Oregon.
Saturday was Happle’s first day in an Oregon uniform and according to Avalos, was fun to hear a familiar voice.
“Obviously Jordan is an unbelievable young man. Very blessed to have him join us and obviously his first day out there at practice today. The first time he jumped in there I was doing something and I heard him make a call out on the field and it’s been a little while since I heard that voice out there being a quarterback out there in the defense.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon Football receiver Keenan Howry].
A former three-star recruit from Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, Happle chose Boise State over offers from Eastern Washington, Hawaii and Montana State.
At Boise State, Happle redshirted his freshman season (2016) and then recorded 15 tackles (nine solo) and one interception in 13 games in 2017. He was limited to just 13 games over the next two seasons due to injury, but when healthy, Happle made plays all over the field.
Happle joins the program at a good time. The secondary that was so dominant in 2019 will be without Jevon Holland, a projected first-round 2021 NFL Draft pick; three-year starting corner Thomas Graham Jr., and 2020 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Brady Breeze.
Happle brings experience in Avalos’ defensive system, one that had Oregon finish ninth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16.5 points per game last season. A few things have changed since Happle was last coached by Avalos as well as there will be some things that are different from year one to year two at Oregon, but Avalos is confident Happle will pick it all up in time.
“There are some things that are a little different that he’ll pick up and he’ll learn but he’s tremendously smart and he is very humble to be here and very excited,” said Avalos on Happle.
Mario Cristobal said yesterday that the Ducks brought a lot of juice to open up the first day of camp. On day two, how about some Happle sauce?
Listen to the Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.