EUGENE, Ore.,- Offensive lineman Kyle Long’s appeal for another year of eligibility was denied by the NCAA Tuesday, making the Jan. 3 Fiesta Bowl his last game as a Duck.
Long had just one year at Oregon after starting his collegiate career as a baseball player at Florida State in 2007. He started the last three games at guard for the Ducks.
“First off, just disappointed in the ruling, but very excited about the future. First and foremost going down to Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl with my teammates,” Long said after Wednesday’s practice. “It’ll be a great way to top this thing off.”
“I’m just very appreciative for all the people around the Eugene area, the Oregon area, all the Duck fans across the country for all the support, the outpouring of support over the last few months and for everyone adopting me as one of their own with the Ducks,” he went on to say.
Because of his short stint at Florida State and his time in junior college, Long will not be able to finish his degree at Oregon this year, something that he had known all along would not be possible. It is his hope, however, that he’ll be able to accomplish that goal at some point, describing doing so as a “bucket list” item.
“The main thing is that I want to keep working towards my degree. So, I need to come up with a plan to keep my academic focus intact.”
The impending NCAA decision didn’t affect his preparation this fall, although it was always in the back of his head. For teammates and friends alike, he described the situation using verse from the hip-hop group Outkast.
“'You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather,'” he said. “I tried to make that an emphasis to my teammates who were wondering about it.”
The son and brother of NFL defensive linemen, the 6-foot-7 long has both the professional pedigree as well as the body to go with it. Despite only a single season playing Division-1 football, Long will likely be an enticing prospect for NFL teams.
Long listed attention to detail, work ethic and technique as three aspects he hopes to continue improve on prior to May’s NFL Draft. Having played both guard and tackle at Oregon, Long classifies himself as simply an “offensive lineman.”
“I just want to play. I’m just a hungry kid who wants to have an opportunity,” he said.