During Mario Cristobal's tenure as Oregon's head coach, the Ducks have recruited nationally to bring in as much elite talent as possible. The program doesn't have the benefit of a USC or a Florida, with robust high school talent near campus.
That reputation gives additional pressure for local kids to perform when the Ducks do grant them a scholarship. For Dawson Jaramillo (Lake Oswego), Alex Forsyth (West Linn) and Ryan Walk (Sheldon), they proved during last weekend's 35-28 win at then-No. 3 Ohio State that talent from Oregon can outplay the nation's best.
"Yeah it means a lot," said Dawson Jaramillo Monday about representing his home state in such a massive game.
"As players from Oregon we come play with a chip on our shoulder because Oregon high school football gets dismissed sometimes and it just shows you we can play, we can perform. Really proud of our guys."
The offensive line trio weren't the only homegrown prospects to make an impact. Keith Brown (Lebanon) made his college debut starting at inside linebacker in replacement of Justin Flowe. Nate Heaukulani (Jesuit) began his Oregon career as a walk-on and played over 50 snaps in the Horseshoe on Saturday. Jordan Happle (Jesuit) saw significant time at safety. Cam McCormick (Summit) converted a key 3rd-and-8 deep in Oregon territory.
"It just shows Oregon gets discounted a little too much but we can hang with the other guys in the country," said Jaramillo.
Talent from Oregon has made impacts at other schools as well, as explained further by Jaramillo.
"You can look at the guys who go to other schools like Chase Cota, he plays at UCLA. He's a great player. It's just cool to see other guys being successful," he added. "Talanoa Hufanga, he's in the NFL and he's from Crescent Valley so it's just cool to see guys in the Pac-12 performing well and then other conferences from Oregon."
In fact, the Ducks signed Dawson's younger brother Bailey as a preferred walk-on this past April.
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"It's really fun, me and Bailey playing together," said Dawson Jaramillo. "We didn't get to play high school football together because he went to Wilson High School and I went to Lake Oswego so I never got to experience that before. But it's really fun. I'm showing him the ropes and telling him what to do. A lot of people give us a hard time trying to say his hair is better than mine but I have to say I take the cake as the original."
With two Jaramillo sons suiting up for Oregon, his family makes the trip to Eugene routinely.
"It's amazing, having my family come down every week and hang out with us, it's the coolest thing. I cherish it," concluded Dawson Jaramillo.
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