Tyler Shough committed to be an Oregon Duck before the calendar turned to 2018. But that didn’t make National Signing Day any less exciting for the 4-star prospect.
The quarterback, an early enrollee, spent the annual college recruiting holiday lifting with his Oregon teammates — but not without a little lifelong memory made in the process while in the football facility.
“Coach Arroyo told me to come up, because he said Phil Knight was up on the fourth floor, so I stopped what I was doing and rushed up to go in the elevator to go meet him,” Shough recalled to The Oregonian’s Andrew Nemec.
Shough got a firsthand look at the coaches’ side of the day, watching the National Letters of Intent pour in via the good ol’ fax machine, and witnessing important Nike executives commiserate, including a “pretty fresh” Knight.
“I was thinking that on the way up, I was like ‘Oh my God, what am I going to say?'” Shough said with a chuckle. … “He really was cool though, he looked really young, younger than I thought he was going to be for 80. He had a soothing voice, he told me he was really excited that I’m here. He’s looking forward to watching me play and then I just told him I’m really happy to be here and it was really nice to meet him. … It was pretty cool. Anytime you get to meet Phil Knight, it’s a pretty cool experience.”
After meeting the athletic shoe and apparel icon, Shough returned to the life of a freshman football player in Eugene. That includes hearing the complaints from fans when recruiting classes fail to meet previously sky-high expectations.
“I understand the fan disappointment, especially from what we previously had, but a lot of stuff went down,” Shough said. “We understood the circumstances and we’re just really happy with what we have now. I think we’re more than good enough to accomplish our goals this season.”
Included in that group are five offensive linemen, with three of the five entering the program as 4-star recruits. That has to please Shough, who will get to know how well his classmates can play rather quickly when dropping back behind them.
“I’m really close with all of them, we have a group chat,” Shough said of the blockers. … “They’re a great group of guys. They’re really cool off the field, really down to earth and obviously their size and strength really helps. … I don’t think I’d be getting too dirty outside the pocket.”
We’ll see in a few years, when Shough, who is slated to succeed current starter Justin Herbert, likely takes the field in Eugene.
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