Christian French, a highly touted tight end with size and speed, was recruited to Oregon for his pass catching ability.
Now, the Ducks have moved French to outside linebacker and defensive end for his ability to catch quarterbacks and running backs.
French, at 6’5 and 235 lbs, has been a welcome addition to the Oregon defense especially now with the rash of injuries the Ducks have sustained over the last couple of weeks.
Throughout the season and against Stanford on Saturday, French has the athletic ability and talent to be a significant contributor along the defensive front considering he’s a mirror image of senior DE Dion Jordan.
French, two inches shorter and a few pounds lighter than Jordan, has a motor like the senior defensive end and also has the wing span, strength and speed to track down talented backs like Stanfords Stepfan Taylor.
French has been a welcome addition to the Duck defense. He’s also a perfect example of Chip Kelly’s next man in philosophy. When called upon, French stepped in and performed well. In his 8 games, French has a total of 13 tackles – 8 of those solo’s.
French’s performance though shouldn’t be measured in these minimal numbers. What should be measured is his ability to quickly adapt to a complex defensive scheme and playing well within that scheme with relatively little in-game experience.
Not only has French made an immediate impact on this Duck defense, he’s also made a distinct connection with his teammates.
On Thursday after the Ducks practice, French said he owe’s much of his growth and success to mentor and teammate Dion Jordan.
“Our relationship is great” French explained.
“He’s a great communicator…a great leader out there on the field,…one of the hardest workers on the team. He’s just a boisterous leader. I just follow everything he does.”
( Watch Christian French’s interview by clicking the video box above )