The Ducks have been blessed with a long line of outstanding centers. Lucas, Unger and now Holmes, the next guy will have a lot to live up to. Hroniss Grasu out of Crespi high school has been recruited with that in mind. DSA sat down with Coach Steve Greatwood to discuss.[details]
2005 (Freshman): Itís not easy for a redshirt freshman to step in and protect the blind side of a quarterback but Unger did so admirably for 12 consecutive starts and did it well. Was a major reason why Oregon rose from last in the Pac-10 in QB sacks allowed in 2004 (41) to third in 2005 (20). Took part in 80 snaps or more in 10 of 12 appearances at left tackle, including 100 plays at Arizona State, to receive the teamís Ironman Award following the season as the player who played the most snaps. Was part of the starting offensive line that was awarded the programís weekly offensive player-of-the-game acclaim for their performances at Arizona State. His performance didnít go unnoticed from those on the outside as well as he not only earned Pac-10 Conference honorable mention accolades from the leagueís coaches but was selected a first-team Freshman All-American on more than one front. The freshman all-conference first-team pick (The Sporting News) also benefitted from all his hard work off the field, receiving league academic honorable mention acclaim in the classroom.
2004 (Redshirt): Honored as the scout teamís offensive player of the week for play prior to the Indiana game during his redshirt year.
2003 (Redshirt):HIGH SCHOOL ó Ranked among nationís top 50 offensive guards by Rivals.com despite playing organized football only since the ninth grade. The 2002 second-team all-state offensive honoree (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) was a first-team all-Big Island Interscholastic Federation pick on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Recorded close to 100 pancake blocks as a junior for the 2002 BIIF champions (8-2 record). Possesses the physical tools to play a number of positions along the offensive front, with his development enhanced due to improved speed and quickness.
Personal: Born Maxwell McCandless Unger on April 14, 1986 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Parents: Keith and Cynda Unger. Family: One sister. High School (Coach): Hawaii Preparatory Academy (Tom Goodspeed) 2004. Major: Undeclared. Redshirt: 2004.
The Good: An athletically gifted pivot man who has experience at left tackle. Can line up at any position along the offensive line and offers a lot of versatility. Possesses great foot quickness and athleticism in space. Displays elite lateral mobility for an interior lineman and is difficult to get around in pass protection. Extends his arms well and keeps D-linemen off his body. The Bad: Is a bit tall for a center and lacks the base strength and power to really hold the point of attack. Gets too high at times and doesn't play with consistent leverage. Doesn't get much push as an in-line run blocker.
Positives: Carries his weight well. Good hand technician - punches and replaces his hands and has good hand quickness. Good effort and intensity. Gets out to the second level quickly, can initiate contact and cut down linebackers. Pulls and traps and can make every athletic block. Operates on his feet in space and shows the agility to maneuver through traffic and run the field. Plays with natural knee bend and balance in his feet. Good lateral slide in pass protection. Has a good feel for blocking schemes, plays smart and sets the protection. Works well in tandems. Very mentally tough and has played through serious injuries. Good snap-and-step quickness. Very versatile and football smart. Quick learner. Very durable, four-year starter. Negatives: Has a thin build and is not overly strong or explosive. Lacks ideal arm length and athletic ability to play outside. Does not play with a lot of power and could struggle handling massive, widebody defensive tackles like he did at the Senior Bowl. Has a tendency to play a bit tall and narrow-based and let his pad level rise. Does not come off of the ball with power, create a surge or drive defenders off the ball. Summary: Could play outside in a pinch and brings added versatility to contribute anywhere along the line, but his lack of bulk and arm length would expose him on the edges over a prolonged period and he would be best inside. Could always have some leverage deficiencies given his great height inside. Grade: Second-round talent.