Watching the Oregon-Oregon State game last night, I was reminded of a story from three years ago . . .
On a Friday night in the fall, I decided to take my daughter to a high school football game in the vicinity of where I live. My brother, who lives in Chico area, gave me a call earlier in the day. We were talking about different things and then he suggested I go watch this kid from Paradise High School.
Paradise made the trip to the Bay Area to play Las Lomas of Walnut Creek. I didn’t know anything about the kid I was going to watch. I was even a little hazy on what position I could find him – he played both sides of the ball, so I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to pinpoint him. All I knew was that he had already accepted a scholarship to Oregon.
My daughter and I show up at the game. Between trying to meet her concession-stand demands, I tried to watch warm-ups and figure out which player I needed to watch. Then, the game starts and I’m still trying to determine which kid is going to be a Duck.
While I’m running around with my daughter, I saw 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan and his son at the game. McCloughan was there because of his friend, former Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert, who coached defense for Las Lomas. McCloughan was distracted, just like me. His attention was split 95 percent on his son and 5 percent on the game – if that.
At some point I inform him there’s a player on Paradise’s team who is going to Oregon on a football scholarship.
“Yeah, that’s No. 15,” McCloughan said confidently.
“Oh,” I responded, “you’ve heard of him?”
“Not at all,” McCloughan told me. “But he’s clearly the best player on the field.”
After he said that, yes, it became obvious.
That player was Jeff Maehl, who began his career at Oregon as a defensive back and was converted to receiver. A couple weeks ago, Maehl had two catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona. And last night he caught six passes for 138 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown pass, in the Ducks’ Rose Bowl-claiming victory in the Civil War.
Maehl is a junior. Is he a pro prospect? I don’t know, but at least one GM in the NFL has been scouting him since he was a senior in high school.
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