The best play Keanon Lowe made last year was a block. He cleared out standout safety Deone Buchanon to spring Thomas Tyner for a 66-yard touchdown run against Washington State, an effort that typified the solid, steady role Lowe plays for the Ducks.
He’s been the consummate team player at Oregon, playing on every one of the special teams, a dedicated and consistent blocker, the guy who runs the clear-out routes and winds up where he’s supposed to be as third option in the pattern, an athlete who practices hard and represents the program well in the community.
In three seasons and a redshirt year since coming out of high school as a four-star prospect from Beaverton’s Jesuit High, Lowe has caught 40 passes for 477 yards and 6 touchdowns, usually one or two balls a game. His biggest output came against Stanford as a sophomore in 2012, grabbing 5 receptions for 51 yards, including a nifty 28-yard reception on a post pattern.
Listed at 5-9, 186, Lowe isn’t slow. He ran a 10.77 100 as a Crusader, and last year he returned a kickoff 48 yards against Nicholls. He broke open for a 32-yard completion down the left sideline against USC as a junior.
This season the Ducks need the versatile and hard-working senior to reach another level as a receiver.
Position coach Matt Lubick has done it before. At Duke he turned Vernon Conner into a 70-catch, 1000-yard guy, and Josh Huff blossomed into an NFL player and clutch pass catcher under his tutelage. With Huff graduated, De’Anthony Thomas gone and Bralon Addison injured, the Ducks need Lowe to become not only a mature, poised leader, which he has been throughout his career, but a playmaker and a producer. They need volume from their most experienced wideout.
This spring he told Andrew Greif of the Oregonian, “It’s my last year of football and I’ve been putting everything I have, every ounce of energy into this outside of practice or extra work,” Lowe said. “I’m definitely excited and definitely be ready to step up as the guy.”
His attitude and personality have made him a fan favorite, and he’s earned his status as the position leader and a spokesman for this team. Now the Ducks need him to show the confidence and assertiveness to be a number one guy in the passing game, the reliable target Mariota had in Huff and Addison.