RELATIONSHIPS; THE TIE THAT BINDS – Four Key Defensive Players Announce Plans to Return to Oregon and Forego Their Early NFL Opportunity
Thomas Graham, Deommodore Lenoir, Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu have all decided to return to Oregon for their senior seasons.
Each of these talented juniors considered entering the 2020 NFL Draft, but after thoughtful consideration each determined it was in their own best interest to return to school to play next season, graduate and enhance their stock for a career in professional football.
And certainly that’s also great news for defensive coordinator Andy Avalos who now returns 9 of 11 starters from this seasons Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl Championship squad.
“We decided to do this altogether because we all came in together,…the class of 17” explained cornerback Thomas Graham.
“We all felt we made a change together and felt this decision needs to be made to everybody together as one. Califlock,…including Jordon ( Scott ) he’s the honorary member.
I’d just like to thank the University of Oregon for everything they’ve done for me. It’s been such a blessing to allow a childhood dream come true. I’ve always wanted to win a Pac-12 championship and I was able to do that. With all that being said I’m coming back for my senior year. I’ve got one more season to go at Autzen so let’s just see what we’ve got to do Duck nation.”
And that’s how the one by one announcements began on the third floor of the Hatfield Dowlin Complex Monday morning.
One by one, Graham, Lenoir, Scott and Faoliu provided their individual proclamations to return to play college football in Eugene next season and why they decided to do so.
“I just want to thank the University of Oregon” said Scott.
“I graduated this year,…it’s a big accomplishment for me and my family. It’s always been my dream to go to the NFL but I think I’m going to come back for my senior season and finish out on a right note.”
When asked about the primary reasons for returning, each player specifically mentioned growing in their maturity on and off the field and honing their individual skills to better prepare them for the next level.
“Getting my degree was one of my biggest accomplishments” explained Scott.
“Once I found out my brothers was coming back I thought it would be the right thing to go one more time. I think the biggest goals for me on and off the field is start taking my life more serious in terms of football. I’m going to look into some masters classes, but mostly concentrate on football for coming back.”
One of the themes of the foursome media briefing, if not the primary theme, was the importance of continuing their strong relationships with each other.
The single tie that binds them all together.
The opportunity to play one final season with good friends and teammates.
“Coach Cristobal and all the coaches over here they always mention brotherhood” explained Faoliu.
“You know you’re never going to get these times back with the teammates and friendships you’ve made. I know with me, if I was to leave early I would never get these moments back with my brothers. I love all of them dearly. Coming back and playing with them one more time is just the best for me. You have to cherish those moments so that’s one of the reasons why I think coming back is very important.”
“The biggest thing is relationships outside of football and on the team” said Scott.
“Eugene is a very special place. The people that all of us deal with, all help to contribute. The Jacqua ( Center ),…the staff here,…the weight room staff….is just a family so it makes the decision real easy.”
THOMAS GRAHAM, DEOMMODORE LENOIR, JORDON SCOTT & AUSTIN FAOLIU ANNOUNCE THEIR PLANS TO RETURN TO SCHOOL