Eugene – Oregon’s vaunted defense, which undeniably won the game for the Ducks in the Redbox Bowl, received yet another boost Thursday as leading tackler and versatile linebacker Troy Dye announced he will follow in the footsteps of quarterback Justin Herbert and a slew of others by returning for his senior season.
Dye, who possesses elite closing speed among many other physical tools, has been Oregon’s leading tackler each of the last three seasons. He was a rare bright spot during Oregon’s disappointing 2016 campaign and excelled under defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt in 2017 after moving to inside linebacker. He compiled 115 tackles during the 2018 season, good for 7th in the Pac 12.
Dye will play alongside returning starting linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr. and will be backed by incoming touted freshman Mase Funa, who along with No.1 recruit Kevon Thibodeaux and 6th national cornerback Mykael Wright, provide enough additional firepower to make Oregon’s defense a potentially scary unit next season. Dye had Tweeted after Thibodeaux’s commitment that he would have to “reevaluate”, leading many to believe he was leaning towards the NFL draft.
With seniors Ugo Amadi and Jalen Jelks heading for the draft, Dye will be the unquestioned leader of Oregon’s defense next year and will have the unique opportunity of playing on the same team as his younger brother, running back Travis Dye, for another season. Fellow senior returner Justin Herbert will also be playing with his younger brother Patrick, truly making Oregon Football a “family affair”.