Steve Greatwood’s not looking for lumbering oxes, fat guys who can fall on people. When your offensive backfield features blur-fast scooters who run the 40 in four-flat and a burp, it wouldn’t do to have slow, clumsy linemen who can’t pull or take on a safety 10 yards downfield. All De’Anthony Thomas, Thomas Tyner or Byron Marshall need is a swath of daylight, and any routine Zone-Read play can turn into a touchdown.
He sets up strong and fires out: Layth Friekh is the real deal as an Oregon line prospect, if the Ducks can win out over Arizona and Washington. (Photo by Tracy McDannald/GoAZCats.com)
Offensive line play makes the Oregon offense go, and it takes agility and mobility to run the system that brings Duck fans so much enjoyment. The electricity starts with a good, stout power supply.
Which is why Greatwood needs to sign Layth Friekh (rhymes with “rake”) in the 2014 recruiting class. Looking at all the highlight tape of linemen with projected interest in the Ducks, he’s the one with the athleticism to fit in the blur-fast attack. Friekh, 6-6, 251, from Centennial High School in Peoria, Arizona, the talented offensive tackle prospect is a lean athlete rather than a blobby fat guy. He plays high school basketball. He can get out and run. He moves his feet beautifully in pass blocking, striking a blow and setting up nimbly against the defender, walling off his quarterback at left tackle. On screens and pulls he displays impressive quickness, and he’s a big effort guy, playing to the whistle on every down.
Friekh is aggressive. He has the strike ability and nimble feet to be very, very good at the college level, perfect for the type of game Oregon plays, with the agility to lead, pull, and attack at the second level with a fast-paced offense. As a basketball player he’s used to getting up and down the floor, and that’s essential in an offense geared to score in two minutes or less.
He has the frame to get bigger, adding “good weight” without losing quickness. He benchs 315, squats 385 and has been tested in 4.98 in the 40, a consensus 3-star recruit with a 4th star from 247Sports. The UO coaching staff care more about his character, competitiveness and potential than ratings, and those are all excellent.
He’s visiting Oregon for the September 14th Tennessee game, and visiting Washington October 12th, the weekend the Ducks have their showdown in Seattle for a 10th straight win over the Huskies. Right now he seems to favor in-state school Arizona, but the Webfoots have two chances to make an impression.
Of all the line prospects the Ducks have evaluated in this class, he and verbal commit Tyrell Crosby are the best suited to continue the Oregon tradition of athletic lineman who can run, hit, and succeed at the next level.