Welcome to a series I plan on exploring during the down time. I will take a look at the past Oregon Rose Bowl winners this century by offense and defense.
Six years after a devastating defeat to the much hated Ohio State Buckeyes that denied a perfect ending to one of the best Ducks teams in recent memory, it’s time to take a look back at what happened to those within the program at the time.
*Spoiler warning: it’s rather depressing. To begin on a more positive note, here’s a highlight of “that” play.
So where are they now?
Head Coach Mark Helfrich
He was a nice local guy whose status did not befit a program like Oregon. The Ducks version of Larry Coker to Chip Kelly’s Butch Davis. He was subsequently fired during the 2016 season with a career record of 37-16. Oregon had a tradition of hiring the purported offensive genius after said individual served on the previous coach’s staff. It did not end well with Helfrich.
Most notably, he wasn’t a recruiter, whiffing on a clearly desperate to go to Oregon and future first round pick Tua Tagovailoa. This was bad after Chip Kelly notoriously wasn’t that good of a recruiter but a dude who targeted what his system fit rather than collecting talent and figuring it out later. Unfortunately, Helfrich could not make up the difference in recruiting once Kelly left for the NFL.
He was hired by the Chicago Bears to serve as “offensive coordinator” under Matt Nagy in 2018. He was relieved of his duties following the 2019 NFL season and is currently looking for work.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost
He’s the current head coach at Nebraska after a very successful tenure at UCF.
Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum
3rd and Pellum became a running joke and a boon for opposing offenses who needed that extra kick on third down. He’s currently the linebackers coach at UCLA under one Chip Kelly.
Offensive Line Coach Steve Greatwood
Retired after the 2019 season after serving as the offensive line coach at Cal under Justin Wilcox for two years after his dismissal from Oregon in 2016.
Running Backs Coach Gary Campbell
Dismissed after the 2016 and has never coached again.
Wide Receivers Coach Matt Lubick
Currently the receivers coach at Nebraska under Frost. Dismissed in 2016. Hired at Ole Miss, left Ole Miss for Baylor, left Baylor for Washington in a span of a few weeks afterwards.
Defensive Line Coach Ron Aiken
Coached the Arizona Hotshots of the famously defunct AAF in 2019 after a three year hiatus from coaching.
Outside Linebackers Coach Erik Chinander
Currently the defensive coordinator at Nebraska after leaving with Frost for UCF.
QB Marcus Mariota (redshirt junior)
2014 Heisman, Maxwell, Manning, Walter Camp, Davey O’Brien, Unitas Golden Arm winner on top of AP POY and an unanimous All American. The second overall pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has thrown for 13,207 yards, 76 touchdowns and 44 touchdowns on a 63% completion rate in his pro career to date. Mariota was benched for Ryan Tannehill, who subsequently led the Titans to an AFC championship game appearance.
Mariota was signed by the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason to serve as competition to Derek Carr.
RB Royce Freeman (freshman)
The former five star recruit made an immediate impact, rushing for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns on 252 carries. He finished his great career with 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns on an insane 947 carries.
He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Freeman has rushed for 1,017 yards and eight touchdowns to date as a pro. He might be in danger of losing a job with the Broncos after the team signed Melvin Gordon this offseason.
RB Tony Brooks-James (freshman)
TBJ was the primary return specialist throughout his Ducks career, posting 1,047 yards in returns. He did score 21 total touchdowns.
He signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He bounced around the practice squads of Tampa, Pittsburgh, and the Vikings. He has logged 7 yards on 8 carries to date. He was signed to a reserves contract with the Vikings.
RB Thomas Tyner (sophomore)
The former five star recruit did not live up to expectations due to injury. He medically retired from the Ducks after the 2014 season. He returned to football in 2017 with the hapless Beavers.
RB Byron Marshall (junior)
Marshall led the team in receiving during the 2014 season before missing most of the 2015 season with an injury.
He signed an undrafted free agent with the Eagles in 2016. He was signed to the Ravens practice squad in 2019 but was not retained when his contract expired.
HERO / WR Keanon Lowe (redshirt senior)
Lowe didn’t do much statistically but his intangibles were elite stuff as the future would reveal itself later in his life. He’s now best known for stopping a potential school shooter last year. Lowe is currently a head football coach at Portland area high school.
WR Bralon Addison (junior)
Addison tore his ACL before the 2014 season and missed out as a result. He was undrafted and signed by the Broncos. Most notable in the CFL and he recently signed a futures contract with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason.
WR Johnathan Loyd (senior)
Loyd was a basketball player at heart and was on the football team briefly. He’s currently with Canadian basketball outfit Island Storm in the Canadian league.
WR Devon Allen (redshirt freshman)
The track star didn’t do much on the football field but he was one of the best track athletes in Oregon history. He qualified for the US Olympic team in 2016 in the 110 meter hurdles and made it to the quarterfinals in that Olympic event.
WR Dwayne Stanford (redshirt sophomore)
The former Ducks receiver is currently an assistant coach at the high school level.
WR Darren Carrington II (redshirt freshman)
Carrington was relieved of his scholarship after a DUI arrest and he subsequently ended his collegiate career at Utah. He signed as an UDFA with the Dallas Cowboy in 2018. Ended up in the CFL with Montreal. He’s now signed to the Massachusetts Pirates of something called the National Arena League.
WR Charles Nelson (freshman)
Nelson was a versatile weapon for the Ducks during his career, playing at receiver and safety and returner. He’s currently a member of the reigning Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
TE Evan Baylis (redshirt sophomore)
Baylis was an undrafted free agent signing by the Houston Texans in 2017. He is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers with a futures contract signed.
TE Johnny Mundt (sophomore)
Mundt had that one career game and was an undrafted free agent signing by the LA Rams in 2017. He has logged 4 receptions for 29 yards. Still on the roster.
TE Pharoah Brown (junior)
Brown missed all of 2015 due to a catastrophic knee injury he suffered in 2014. He recovered enough to be signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017 by the Oakland Raiders. He’s currently a member of the Cleveland Browns. Has two receptions for 27 yards to date in his NFL career.
OT Tyrell Crosby (freshman)
Crosby ended up missing most of his junior season due to injury. He returned for a senior season and ended up a fifth round pick of the Detroit Lions. He has started seven of a possible 26 games to date in his career.
C Hroniss Grasu (redshirt senior)
A four year starter for the Ducks. He was a third round draft pick of the Chicago Bears. The biggest impact move of his career has been being signed and released by the Tennessee Titans several times. He was claimed on waivers by the Baltimore Ravens in late 2019 but is currently a free agent.
OT Tyler Johnstone (redshirt junior)
Undrafted free agent signing by the Chargers in 2016. He then proceeded to the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts and then the Montreal Alouettes. Minimal impact in Canada.
OT Jake Fisher (senior)
He last played in the NFL in 2018 for the Cincinnati Bengals after being a second round selection in 2015. He converted to tight end in 2019 as a free agent due to the starters ahead of him at tackle in Cincy. He has played in 48 games, starting 12. Currently a free agent.
OL Cameron Hunt (sophomore)
A four year starter for the Ducks. He was an undrafted free agent signing by the Denver Broncos. Placed on injured reserve for the 2019 season by the Raiders. Currently a free agent.