Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports first reported Wednesday some truly awful news: Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu suffered a knee injury that would keep the All-American out of the Ducks’ College Football Playoff matchup with Florida State.
Sources: #Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu suffered what is believed to be a serious knee injury in practice yesterday. Concern it's a torn ACL.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) December 17, 2014
Ekpre-Olomu became a consensus All-American for the second time in his illustrious college career just this morning. His stellar 2014 campaign ended with what was arguably the best individual performance of his career, as Ekpre-Olomu locked down Arizona’s big, physical star receiver Cayleb Jones in the Pac-12 Championship Game earlier this month.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is about as good a coverage player as there is in college football, which Oregon needs against Florida State. The Seminoles’ passing attack runs largely through Rashad Greene, an All-American in his own right with two straight seasons catching for over 1,100 yards.
Greene heads into the Jan. 1 showdown with Oregon at the Rose Bowl sporting 1,306 yards and seven touchdowns. Ekpre-Olomu would have almost assuredly drawn that assignment.
The comparisons to be drawn to Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Dennis Dixon are sadly glaring. Dixon was on his way to being a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2007, and Oregon was positioned to win its first Pac-10 championship since 2001.
With the Ducks ranked No. 2 and just a few wins away from reaching the BCS Championship Game, Dixon tore his ACL in a Thursday night loss at Arizona. Oregon went on to lose that contest, as well as the two subsequent.
Coupled with Marcus Mariota’s late-season knee injury last year, which predated a pair of Pac-12 losses that effectively kept the Ducks out of title contention, and you’ll have to forgive any Oregon fans who feel snake-bit.
Of course, this is unfortunate for no one more than it is for Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Not only does a torn ACL thwart his pursuit of a national championship, but it could badly hurt his NFL draft stock. CBSSports.com ranks him second among all cornerbacks with a first or second-round projection. Missing the NFL Combine and individual team workouts could negatively impact Ekpre-Olomu’s stock, however.
The unfortunate coincidence is that Ekpre-Olomu was a highly projected prospect prior to last year’s draft, but opted to return to Eugene for one more run at a national championship. To come so close and be denied the opportunity is truly heartbreaking.
Some good news is that Ekpre-Olomu’s family took out an insurance policy prior to the season — a policy that GoDucks.com reports the University of Oregon reimbursed them for.