The Oregon Ducks got their man (back)! Justin Herbert announced that he will return to school for his senior season at Oregon. Countless mock drafts and experts have had him rated the top QB in the upcoming NFL draft and, given how teams like the Giants have performed this year, that prediction wouldn’t have been far off the mark.
The rumors began to build when his brother, Patrick, committed to Oregon. Patrick is a 4 star TE out of Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon. This lead to major speculation that Herbert would return for his senior year.
When a recruit is making a decision of whether to enter the draft for their sport, there are two sides to consider: the family side and the business side.
When a player grows up playing sports with their closest buddies as teammates, the player rarely looks past going to college and playing with their friends. When it happens to be brothers or sisters, that desire only grows. If Herbert is close to his family, why wouldn’t he want to play a year of college ball together at Oregon? This is such a unique opportunity that can only be topped by playing in the pros as a father-son combo.
Herbert, who is only 20 years old, recognizes the growth he can have in another year at school. With a top 10 recruiting class arriving as early as the spring, this could be a team who has a real opportunity to compete.
The other side to this decision is the business side. Herbert could, more than likely, lock himself in as a top 5 pick. Returning to school is sort of a puzzling, unnecessary risk.
This is one of the worst quarterback classes that the NFL has seen since 2013 (EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, and Mike Glennon to name a few). Herbert is risking millions of dollars in contract and endorsement deals that cannot be done unless he declares himself as a professional. This is an extremely risky business decision to make, especially given how prevalent injury tends to be at the QB level. Why take the risk?
It is hard to say whether Herbert made the right decision or not. I believe in all situations you must choose the path that you’re happy and confident in. I see a lot upside in a 20 year old going back to school to grow and mature. Playing with your brother is simply a cherry topper.
On August 31st, Oregon will play Auburn in Arlington, Texas. This should be a sure-fire battle that will have a lot playoff implications.