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Take a trip back in time to the spring of your senior year of high school. You may have been getting ready for prom or feverishly applying for colleges and hoping to get that acceptance letter.
For Oregon Ducks wide receiver Justius Lowe, that spring has gone a bit differently. After enrolling early with the Ducks, Lowe, a Portland native, has spent his past couple of months in Eugene getting used to college life. While it’s one thing to pick up and move to a new town, it’s another to throw in a season of spring football on top of that.
Lowe is being thrown into the deep end and asked to swim when it comes to that matter. After picking up football late in his career, Lowe impressed college recruiters and earn a four-star rating despite his relative lack of experience. Much of that was based on his intangibles and athleticism, not to mention his impressive track abilities.
At Oregon, he is being asked to hold his own against players who have lived and breathed football as long as they could walk. Early reports out of spring camp are that he is adapting adequately.
“Justius has been good,” said wide receivers coach Junior Adams. “Just to graduate early and be able to get here for spring ball, and I want to say his second or third day being here he was in pads and making plays.”
That hasn’t been without some growing pains, though. Adams remarked the first couple of days were tough for Lowe to get into the groove. Understandably so, as the college game is faster and more physical than the high school game, regardless of how much experience you have.
“His first play, I’ll never forget it — he had a ball over the middle and doinks him off the head, and we see him respond the next time and makes a play. That’s how Justius is. Since he’s gotten here, he’s progressed, and steadily gotten better and competed. I can’t even imagine what it’s like being in his shoes coming in and being thrown into the fire and being able to adjust. He’s been impressive that way.”
It’s not just the receivers coach Lowe is impressing, but the top man himself. When I asked head coach Dan Lanning on Saturday what he’s seen from the Lake Oswego prospect over the past few weeks, Lanning remarked he actually made note of how Lowe played in Saturday’s scrimmage and the progress he showed.
“He’s actually a guy I made a note on today because he’s had some tough days early coming on and I thought he made a stand, you know, a big improvement today,” Lanning said. “He got some competitive balls, played physical at times. So I was excited to see that from him, looking for him to continue to progress.”
While Oregon’s WR room is young, there is a lot of talent looking for minutes on the field. At the top of the depth chart are guys like Troy Franklin, Dont’e Thornton, Kris Hutson, Chase Cota, and Seven McGee. Then there are proven assets like Isaah Crocker and Josh Delgado fighting to get their reps. With all of that in front of him, it’s hard to say how quickly we will see Lowe get onto the field for the Ducks.
However, if he continues to improve at the rate he is and pick up the nuances of the sport in such a rapid fashion, there’s a good chance we will be hearing his name over the loudspeaker at Autzen Stadium sooner than we think.
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