Wednesday has been a very busy day for Dan Lanning, as he secured signatures from some of the remaining targets in the 2022 recruiting class and has had plenty of media availability as well.
As conversations and focus turns to the 2022 season, Lanning was asked at the National Signing Day event about the role of freshman Jackson Powers-Johnson heading into next year. In his response, the head coach revealed that Powers-Johnson will start spring practice on the defensive side of the football.
“Jackson is going to start off on defense for us this spring.” Lanning said. “We’ll continue to evaluate that. We want him to be able to help us. How can he help our team as fast as possible and how can he enhance himself and his career. So right now Jackson is gonna be on defense, but [that's] always subject to change.”
Powers-Johnson was recruited as an offensive lineman in the class of 2021, making a name for himself as one of the top centers in the country out of Corner Canyon (Draper, UT.) High School. In his true freshman season with the Ducks, he played sparingly on the offensive line as a backup, but showed flashes of his talent when he did see the field, mainly alternating between the two guard positions.
When the time came for Oregon to face off against Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl, the defense was ravaged by injuries, opt-outs, and transfers, so Powers-Johnson stepped up and played defensive line for the first time in his collegiate career.
Powers-Johnson was also in attendance at the Signing Day event on Wednesday, as were a few of his teammates, and he was asked about the idea of playing offense and defense and which one he would like to play more.
“I really don’t care. Whatever is best for the team.” he said in response to which position he'd like to play. “I love both [offense and defense], I played both in high school. I just like hitting people and being violent. So, whatever gives me the opportunity, I’ll go.”
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