That means Long, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long, will play his last game as a Duck against Kansas State on Jan. 3 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. While raw, Long, who started 10 games in his only season with Oregon, is likely to be an early-round NFL draft pick just based on his pure potential.
Long originally went to Florida State to play baseball, but academic problems and partying got the best of him. He returned to football at Saddleback (Calif.) Junior College before enrolling at Oregon. He petitioned to get an extra year of eligibility based on medical hardship (chemical dependency), but the NCAA -- in a surprise to no one -- opted to be obtuse. That's just how the NCAA rides.
From the Register-Guard:
With Long and right guard Ryan Clanton set to graduate, the Ducks will return three projected Fiesta Bowl starters on the offensive line -- left tackle Tyler Johnstone, a redshirt freshman, and center Hroniss Grasu and right tackle Jake Fisher, both sophomores. Junior Mana Greig, whose knee injury precipitated Long’s move to guard, is a potential starter at guard in 2013, as is regular reserve Hamani Stevens.
Oregon has solid depth on its line, but Long could have provided a massive, physical presence inside, or even at tackle. With him back, the Ducks would have been in the discussion for the Pac-12's best offensive line in 2013.