Where Does Oregon Football's Secondary Rank Nationally?

The Oregon Ducks might have one of the best secondaries in college football in 2024.
Jan 1, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive back Tysheem Johnson (0) against the Liberty Flames during the 2024 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium.
Jan 1, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive back Tysheem Johnson (0) against the Liberty Flames during the 2024 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon Ducks look to have one of the most improved pass defenses in the country in 2024.

And for a team that was on the verge of the College Football Playoff last season, that could go a long way.

In 2023, the Ducks were an elite defense, ranking in the top 10 in scoring defense, and in the top 25 in total defense. However, if there was one place where they needed to improve heading into the new season, it was in the secondary.

Fortunately for the Ducks, they had a bevy of success in the NCAA Transfer Portal, bringing in multiple high-level talents to help fortify the back end of the defense.

The Ducks were so successful, in fact, that PFF has ranked them in the top-five pass defenses in the nation heading into 2024.

Washington Huskies cornerback Jabbar Muhammad celebrates after making a play against the Oregon Ducks.
Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies cornerback Jabbar Muhammad (1) celebrates after making a play against the Oregon Ducks during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium. / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

"Oregon rebuilt its secondary through the transfer portal after losing three starters to the NFL," PFF wrote. "The biggest addition was Washington cornerback Jabbar Muhammad, my No. 6 returning cornerback in the nation. He led all cornerbacks this past season with 19 forced incompletions, 17 of them coming in single coverage... The Ducks also added Kam Alexander (UTSA), Kobe Savage (Kansas State) and Brandon Johnson (Duke), all of whom were starters for their respective schools."

The biggest name out of that group might be Muhammad, who was one of the top corners in the nation last season. In 15 games, Muhammad was one of the few bright spots for the Washington secondary, hauling in three interceptions and 16 pass break ups, to go along with 46 total tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks.

One difference for Muhammad this season, however, is that he will have some help. The Huskies were one of the worst pass defenses in the nation in 2023, leaving Muhammad to do his best make up for an outmatched secondary.

But with Alexander, Savage, and Johnson in tow, alongside the already-in-place talent like Tysheem Johnson, Nikko Reed, Jahlil Florence, and Dontae Manning, the Ducks are stuffed to the gills with skilled players on the back end.


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Matt Galatzan

MATT GALATZAN