Oregon football’s first big transfer of the offseason not named Tyler Shough happened on Friday evening as starting linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia announced he would be entering the portal.
This was rumored for a little bit but nothing concrete had come out. It comes at an interesting time because the Ducks wrapped up spring ball about two months ago and usually when players decide to transfer, it’s right at the end of spring or early in the offseason. Slade-Matautia must have seen something on the depth chart he didn’t like and honestly, I don’t blame him.
This isn’t a knock on the program, but rather an indication that better things are on the horizon.
Slade-Matautia signaled the start of an era that many fans have been looking forward to for a little over a year now. That’s right, it’s the start of the Justin Flowe era, folks.
After a strong spring which followed up a missed freshman season due to an injury, Flowe was making a serious push for that starting job that was held by Slade-Matautia. He looked like a budding star all spring and the coaching staff had nothing but praise for him.
And now, he’s the presumed starter with no roadblocks.
Oregon football’s defense is going to be scary
Slade-Matautia was a solid starting linebacker for Oregon, but the ceiling with Flowe at the position is much higher. He’s a former five-star with nearly 40 offers and 247Sports even ranks him as the No. 133 high school prospect of all time.
So to say hopes are high and the hype is palpable would be an understatement.
Now that he has a clear path to the field to begin the 2021 season as a redshirt freshman, Oregon may have the best linebacker duo in college football with Noah Sewell and Flowe. Add Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mykael Wright, and Dontae Manning to the mix and you have a national title-caliber defense in Week 1.