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Jim Leavitt’s Starting 11: Ugo Amadi, Cornerback

The junior is ready to thrive under his new defensive coordinator

NCAA Football: Oregon at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon junior Ugo Amadi will start at cornerback opposite Arrion Springs. The native of Nashville is ready to shine under the guidance of defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and head coach Willie Taggart.

We are just 32 days away from Oregon’s first game against Southern Utah on Saturday, September 2 at Autzen Stadium.

Here are my projections for the defensive and offensive starters of Willie Taggart’s 2017-18 team. Let’s get caught up with what you missed:

JIM LEAVITT’S 11

SAFETY - Brenden Schooler (Monday)

CORNERBACK - Arrion Springs (Tuesday)

LINEBACKER - Troy Dye (Wednesday)

DEFENSIVE TACKLE - Scott Pagano (Thursday)

DEFENSIVE END - Henry Mondeaux (Friday)

DEFENSIVE END - Jalen Jelks (Saturday)

LINEBACKER - Jimmie Swain (Sunday)

LINEBACKER - A.J. Hotchkins (Monday)

STARTING CORNERBACK, UGO AMADI

Last season, the then sophomore appeared in all 12 games and started eight of them. Amadi registered 42 tackles overall, including 31 solo wrap-ups. He deflected six passes and did not force any turnovers.

Amadi made a drastic improvement over the offseason. He is a cornerback that Leavitt can envision starting for his unit. He started fall camp with a bang on Monday. Amadi housed an interception and recovered a fumble during a scrimmage on Day 1 practice.

A year after a freshman season that saw him intercept two passes, Amadi failed to force a turnover last season. This year will be different, especially if fall camp is a sign of things to come.

There are a handful of players that are in the running for the final spots. Some people get hung up on the literal starting 11 that begin a game. However, after the first play, subs are made and that 11 changes instantaneously.

This is a great place for athletes who are versatile. Therefore, a typical safety like Khalil Oliver could start the game. However, a certain matchup could bring Thomas Graham Jr. onto the field for a majority of the contest.

Oliver and Graham remain in the fold for the final two starting spots. Additionally, the always intriguing Tyree Robinson, alongside the nation’s No. 1 athlete Deommodore Lenoir. Class of 2016’s top prospect from the state of Oregon, Brady Breeze is on the outside looking in. With Taggart’s ever-changing depth chart, you never know.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Amadi will make a giant leap this season and conclude his campaign with 49 tackles, 41 solo, and 2.5 tackles for loss. After not creating a turnover last year, Amadi will intercept a team-high four passes and recover three fumbles. The junior will deflect 12 passes, doubling his production from 2016. He will be named to the All-Pac-12 team.

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