Mario Cristobal 'expecting big things' from Justin Flowe for Ducks

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Dylan Mickanen
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Mario Cristobal 'expecting big things' from Justin Flowe for Ducks originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

Oregon fans have been patiently waiting to see Justin Flowe in action, especially after the former 5-star linebacker missed all but one game of his first year on campus due to a torn meniscus.

Two weeks ago, Mario Cristobal said Flowe was expected to be a full participant in practice in two weeks. 

From the sound of it, Flowe isn't fully back yet but he's begun doing on-field drills with his teammates, impressing them in the process. 

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"I'm excited because he's going to show a lot of people that he's still here," said Isaac Slade-Matautia. "He's going to be a great player, everyone knows that.

"He's slowly progressing from his injury, he just got back doing some drills with us. It kind of feels good having him out there, watching him move around like he did before."

The multiyear starter added Flowe's a "work-in-progress" but that's to be expected.

Flowe was always seen as the player between him and Noah Sewell to take longer to develop, but also the one with the higher ceiling. However, Slade-Matautia complimented Flowe's ability to learn the playbook and remain curious during meetings, never afraid to ask a question. 

"[Flowe's] got some great older guys that have taken him under their wing and have taught him so much," said Mario Cristobal. "He's learned so much."

When asked what chances Flowe has to breakout this upcoming season, the Ducks head coach seemed giddy.

"They're extremely high," he said. 

"Guy's a really good football player. Had a tough go early on, getting knicked up, but we took really good care of him and he's really approached his circumstances like a grown man. So, proud of him in that aspect.

Expecting big things out of Justin Flowe.

Mario Cristobal on Justin Flowe

While Noah Sewell was named a Freshman All-American, Flowe only saw action in one game where he made a single tackle against Stanford. 

Ducks fans have dreamed about the 5-star duo of Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe for years and it's looking likely they'll see the combo share the field in the Spring Game on May 1st at Autzen Stadium. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Flowe still has true freshman status for the 2021 college football season. But given the pedigree of his recruiting profile, he's expected to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft after three years at Oregon. 

Coming out of high school, Justin Flowe was the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 11 player overall in the 2020 recruiting class. In fact, he's the second-highest-rated player to ever sign with Oregon, only trailing Kayvon Thibodeaux who's likely a top-five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Flowe, senior Isaac Slade-Matautia and Noah Sewell are expected to see ample playing time at inside linebacker this upcoming season. 

"I'm sure a lot of people are waiting for him to make his comeback," concluded Slade-Matautia. "He's excited to get back and we can't wait to have him back."

Neither can we, Isaac.