The Oregon Ducks College Football Playoff chances took a major hit when all-American cornerback and Jim Thorpe Award finalist Ifo Ekpre-Olomu suffered a serious knee injury during Wednesday’s practice. The star cornerback has already been ruled out of the playoff and had been the backbone of the Ducks’ defense, ranked 29th in the country.
Oregon is set to square off against Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles and will be forced to play without Ekpre-Olomu in the lineup. The severity of the injury will be determined in the coming days, but most sources expect Ekpre-Olomu to miss a large quantity of time.
Over the course of the season, Ekpre-Olomu has recorded two interceptions and 63 tackles while shutting down some of the nation’s top wide receivers.
Ekpre-Olomu’s injury could drastically change his path to the 2015 NFL Draft as he will likely miss a substantial portion of the NFL workouts. This could plummet a once sure-fire first round pick into the third or fourth round in the draft.
Despite the injury, Ekepre-Olomu has $3 million loss of value insurance policy that has been paid for by Oregon. If Ekepre-Olomu slips into the second round he will be partially compensated and if he slips to the third round he will collect all $3 million.
Taking a star out of your secondary against a Heisman-winner in Winston is not a recipe for success. Now, Oregon’s key to beating Florida State is to make them beat Oregon on the ground.
The Ducks, who are loaded with talent, shouldn’t see too large of a drop off as they will turn to senior cornerback Dior Mathis for the remainder of the season. Mathis competed for a starting role in training camp and has proven he’s ready for the bright lights of the College Football Playoff.
*Section Photo (above) credit t0 Justin Edmonds, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Scott Olmos, USA Today Sports