Penei Sewell came to Eugene with huge expectations on his shoulders. As a consensus four-star recruit, the no. 1 prospect from the state of Utah in the class of 2018, and the highest rated offensive line commit in program history, Sewell was in elite company. And somehow he managed to exceed them.
As a freshman, the 6-foot-5, 349-pound athlete from Malaeimi, American Samoa made an immediate impact for the Ducks. Sewell was a rare freshman week-one starter at left tackle, and the young star started in seven games during his debut season. In the first six games, Sewell dominated against the competition until a right ankle injury took him out for the rest of the regular season.
Fortunately, Sewell was able to make one more appearance in the 2018 season. Against Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl, Sewell showed up big, holding his own against one of the best defenses in the BIG 10 that season. He tallied 450 snaps, just one penalty, and allowed just one sack.
Then, in his second and final season of college football, Sewell put together a historic stretch of play that earned him the Outland Trophy - the award given to college football’s best interior lineman.
He joined LaMichael James and Marcus Mariota as one of three Ducks to be a unanimous first-team All-American selection. He started 13 of Oregon’s 14 games played during the 2019 season, and allowed just seven pressures and two hits on the quarterback.
Sewell planned to come back for his junior year, but COVID-19 forced the potential top-five pick to consider his future. He announced his decision to forego the 2020 season in order to focus on the draft.
Though some teams may foolishly avoid drafting Sewell because of his “undersized measurements” (6-foot-4 ⅞ inches, with 33 ¼ inch arms), there’s no way a player with his rare combination of strength and athleticism makes it past the first round. And though it’d be amazing to see Herbert and Sewell together in the pros - Justin certainly thinks so, as he’s been actively campaigning for him - it’s unlikely he’s still on the board by the time the Chargers make their pick.
The ATQ oracles say that he’ll be going to Cincinnati to protect quarterback Joe Burrow. He’ll also be a rookie starter and will erupt into the history books!