Johnathan Loyd still in school, but readying for football season

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Johnathan Loyd was a consistent component for Ducks hoops. Now it's on to football. (USATSI)

For four seasons with Oregon, Johnathan Loyd spent his time being an undersized but energetic and reliable player. Standing at about 5-feet, 8 inches, he was a typical sparkplug of a point guard. He averaged career bests in his senior season with the Ducks last year, scoring 7.0 points and dishing 4.7 assists.

He was never a star, but those who are familiar with Pac-12 player know he could be fun to watch. Just so fast. Given his genetics, he got the most out of his opportunity.

But with his college hoops career behind him, Loyd is getting in one more year of competition.

In football. The move became official back in April. He's able to squeak in a gridiron year because the NCAA allows student-athletes five years of athletic competition while on scholarship. He's working on a second degree, too. So here we go.

The Associated Press has a story that catches up with Loyd, who's not spoken too much since making the choice to play for the Ducks and football coach Mark Helfrich. Turns out, he's going to play wideout in the quirky Oregon O.

"I'd been curious to see if I could play at this level," [Loyd] said. "I love the University of Oregon, and I love to see the Ducks win. So if I can't do it in basketball anymore, I wanted to try another sport, to see if I could contribute."

Loyd unexpectedly made the jump to football the second week of spring practice. While he played back in high school in Las Vegas, his move was seen as something of a stunt and most figured he wouldn't last. But the 5-foot-8 guard won many of the naysayers over when he donned pads for the annual Spring Game and had a catch for four yards and saw time as a punt returner on special teams.


"I've got nothing but respect for these guys," he said. "A lot of people can say this or that when they're sitting in the stands, but they have no idea what it's really like."

What's going to be fun about Oregon this year: speeeeeeeeed. As usual, the Ducks will have a velocity to their offense that few teams can match around the country.

We hear about basketball players switching to football, but seldom in this kind of role -- and in their final season of eligibility. If anything, Loyd's a nice extra option for a Ducks team that has plenty of them.

No one played more games in Oregon basketball history than Loyd (144). Now he gets a few more on the field. How great would it be to see him find a little more success for the Ducks?

Loyd was on the field for spring practice this past April. (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his eighth season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics,... Full Bio

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