Treven Ma’ae wasn’t your typical Oregon football recruit when he committed in the 2019 class. He was a mid-three-star recruit ranked in the 600s nationally and he was also the third-lowest rated signee in Oregon’s 2019 class (not counting kicker Camden Lewis) which ranked No. 7 nationally.
Basically, he wasn’t the blue-chip prospect fans expect Mario Cristobal to land from start to finish in every class.
But he faces a huge opportunity in 2021 after waiting in the wings for a couple of years. He is finally projected to crack the two-deep depth chart, at least in my eyes, at outside linebacker for the 2021 season. He looks to be the likely backup to sophomore Mase Funa at STUD linebacker.
I know what you’re thinking, however: how could a backup role be a “huge opportunity” for a player entering his third year with the program?
Well, there’s a decent chance Mase Funa proves himself to be one of the best linebackers in the Pac-12 and lives up to his lofty recruiting rankings and projections as a future Day 2 NFL draft pick by 247Sports. That could come as soon as 2022 and that could leave a void at the STUD position for someone like Ma’ae to fill.
Ma’ae is currently a redshirt freshman after utilizing the free COVID-19 year, but not seeing the field over his first two years. He came in as a defensive end recruit from Nevada but projected as an outside linebacker by the staff and he was adjusting for his first couple of years.
Now is his time to prove himself.
Ma’ae could be a regular rotation player for Oregon football
Being on that projected two-deep at outside linebacker in Tim DeRuyter’s defense, there’s a chance that Ma’ae could prove himself worthy of key snaps throughout the season. Backup linebackers get plenty of snaps and the 6-5, 250-pounder from Bishop Gorman can prove everyone wrong and make some noise behind Funa this season.
Plus — we hate to talk about this, but — he’s just an injury away from a starting job so he has to be ready for his number to be called.
If this is Funa’s last season in Eugene and Ma’ae doesn’t prove himself a capable backup with starter potential throughout the year, he could be quickly passed up by a young former blue-chipper in 2022 or 2023. This is a critical year for No. 48.