Turns out that whatever illness caused Colt Lyerla to miss the Tennessee game, it probably turned out to be in Oregon's favor as Johnny Mundt had a breakout game for the Ducks.
At the time, it was viewed as an important piece of depth for the Oregon football team. Now? It looks more important than ever with Lyerla's announcement that he is leaving the University of Oregon to turn pro. Rather than wait until the end of the season, however, Lyerla has withdrawn from school and is no longer an Oregon Duck.
The official release cited "personal reasons" as the cause of his decision.
I probably do not need to tell Duck fans that Colt has had some tough circumstances in his life prior to becoming a high school football superstar. Lyerla had the kind of talent at the high school level rarely seen. He easily could have been another Jadaveon Clowney type defender had he chosen the defensive side of the ball, but offense was where his heart lay.
From several people, I had always heard that Lyerla struggled with academics. But didn't many of us struggle with school? While I as much as anyone hate speculation when we do not know the entire story, the timing of the suspension then withdrawal will leave many to wonder if the academic toll finally took a shot at Lyerla like no defender ever could.
The thing is, it was one more term. Just a few more months of trudging through. But the reality is that Lyerla is a junior; an upperclassman. Classes are more difficult. Again, though, he simply could have truly felt he needed to sign with an agent as soon as possible for monetary reasons.
What we know from this season is that, despite his immense talent, in three appearances he had just 2 catches for 26 yards. Hardly impacting the football team from that perspective.
He was, however, vital with his considerably improved blocking at the edge.
As with every player, though, that leaves, Helfrich and the Ducks can refer back to their "next man up" mantra and allow Mundt and recently returned sophomore Pharoah Brown step into their role.
The Ducks will be fine, as evidenced on Saturday or a few weeks ago against Tennessee. At this point, let us all hope that Colt Lyerla will be fine.
Once a Duck ALWAYS a Duck.
We wish Colt Lyerla all the best as he pursues the dream to play professional football.