Like Devon Williams, it’s tough to call a former top-100 recruit “underrated”, but Mase Funa fits that description heading into the 2021 season for two reasons: Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell.
When you think about Oregon’s linebacking unit, you think of Flowe and Sewell to start because one was a former five-star and Freshman All-American and the other was also a five-star, ranked in the top 10 of the 2020 class before missing last season with an injury. The transfer of Isaac Slade-Matautia has opened the door for Flowe to win one of the starting spots.
And the excitement over that duo at linebacker has never been higher.
That leaves a guy like Funa out of the conversation, for whatever reason, even though he has serious All-Pac-12 talent. He was a second-team Freshman All-American a couple of seasons ago after recording 26 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks in 12 games. He looked like a budding star.
The 2020 season wasn’t as kind to him as he increased his tackle total to 35, but he had just 3.5 tackles for loss and no sacks. This quiet year has led to many people overlooking him, including Ducks fans.
Funa is going to prove a lot of people wrong this year in Tim DeRuyter’s defense.