Former Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd gets a chance at a football national title

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source: AP

If you’re watching the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday night between Oregon and Ohio State you might notice a former college basketball player playing a role in the proceedings.

Former Oregon point guard Johnathan Loyd is now playing wide receiver for the Ducks on the gridiron and he’s exercising a NCAA rule that allows players who have exhausted four years of eligibility in one sport to get a waiver to play an extra season in another. College basketball and football fans are probably aware of former Duke point guard Greg Paulus pulling this same move to play football at Syracuse five years ago.

Loyd was Dana Altman’s first basketball recruit at Oregon and an accomplished four-year player for the Ducks. The former point guard averaged seven points per game as a senior and has the most wins of any Oregon basketball player in program history. When he left, Loyd also ranked fifth all-time in program history in assists and fourth in steals. He also appeared in the most basketball games in Oregon history with 144.

Now Loyd will try to help Oregon capture its first national championship in football on Monday night. As a wide receiver and special teams contributor, he’s appeared in nine games and caught four passes for 19 yards and a touchdown (celebration pictured above).

In high school, Loyd starred on the hardwood but also led Bishop Gorman to a 4A state title in football as a senior while being named first team all-state as a return man in 2009. That season Loyd returned five punts for touchdowns, while also averaging 32.6 yards per kick return.

The 5-foot-8 Loyd could see more playing time with the absence of wide receivers Darren Carrington (suspended after positive drug test) and Devon Allen (injured on opening kickoff of the Rose Bowl) on Monday, but isn’t expected to play a major role.

It’s unique that Loyd gets a chance to win a football national title after a good four-year basketball career at Oregon.

Former Oregon point guard scored his first college touchdown Saturday

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After playing four seasons of basketball at Oregon, former point guard Johnathan Loyd made the move to the gridiron in time for spring practice. As a wild receiver on a team with a host of options at the position, not a whole lot was expected of Loyd this season especially when considering the fact that the 5-foot-8 pass-catcher was in high school the last time he played organized football.

But thanks to hard work Loyd has seen the field, albeit sparingly, in each of the Ducks’ three wins this season. And Saturday in Oregon’s 48-14 win over Wyoming the former point guard made the most of his time on the field, catching a five-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota in the third quarter.

“Once I realized where I was on the field, the emotions kind of took over and I just started screaming,” Loyd said. “It felt good though.”

Maybe he should take a cue from his quarterback, a player with a few touchdowns under his belt.

“You could tell when he scored he wasn’t sure what to do. He was kind of surprised,” said Mariota, who threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more.

Loyd’s caught two passes on the season for six yards, with the first reception coming in the Ducks’ season-opening win over South Dakota. Above is the postgame media session for both Loyd and fellow wide receiver Keanon Lowe, who Loyd shadowed throughout summer workouts as he worked to improve his skills.

Video credit: Duck Territory

Oregon point guard Johnathan Loyd practices with football team

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A loss to Wisconsin in the Round of 32 put an end to Johnathan Loyd’s basketball career with Oregon. One month later, the 5-foot-8 former floor general is running routes as the newest member of the Oregon football team.

Loyd quickly impressed his new teammates with some catches he hauled in, and his incredible speed, according to a story from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated.

“I wanted to suit up for the Ducks one last time. Not a lot of people can say the Oregon Ducks offered them a football scholarship, ” Loyd told Sports Illustrated.

Loyd hasn’t played organized football since 2009 when he was a senior at Bishop Gorman High (Nev.). However, the addition of Loyd could have an impact on the Ducks this season. Oregon graduated top receiver Josh Huff, who caught 62 passes for 12 touchdowns in 2013. An injury to the team’s top returning receiver Bralon Addison has led to depth concerns for the Ducks.

“I’m not looking at John as just another [practice] body,” Oregon wide receiver Keanon Lowe said. “He’s someone who can help us.”

Oregon went 11-2 last season, winning the Alamo Bowl.

Loyd finished his career on the hardwood setting career highs in points (7.0) and assists (4.7) per game.

Oregon’s Johnathan Loyd underwent surgery for a broken nose

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Oregon head coach Dana Altman revealed some potentially significant news on Wednesday afternoon.

Johnathan Loyd, who has been the starting point guard for the Ducks for the majority of the season, broke his nose on Tuesday during a rebounding drill.

“He caught an elbow and it was just an accident, so he missed practice yesterday,” Altman told Matt Prehm of Duck Territory.

What’s concerning is what Altman didn’t tell Prehm: that Loyd had to undergo surgery:

The Ducks play UCLA on Thursday night in what has turned into a very, very important game for them.

If Loyd had surgery, it’s tough to imagine him playing a day later.

No. 15 Oregon remains undefeated but has yet to reach its full potential

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When the suspensions of point guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter were announced, the question was whether or not No. 18 Oregon would drop a game (or more) without the services of their starting floor general. But the fact of the matter was that Dana Altman has multiple perimeter options at his disposal, including the experienced Johnathan Loyd, who made critical plays down the stretch to push the Ducks past Illinois in Portland by the final score of 71-64.

Loyd knocked down a critical jumper with 28 seconds remaining, and his steal and layup with four seconds remaining ruled out any chance of an Illinois miracle come back. Loyd finished with 11 points and seven assists, one of five Oregon players to score in double figures. Mike Moser and Joseph Young scored 14 apiece, and as a team the Ducks shot 55.2% from the field.

But with the incomplete roster now whole with the suspensions for Artis and Carter coming to an end, it’s safe to say that we have yet to see the best from Oregon. The question: will Oregon be able to incorporate Artis and Carter into the rotation without skipping a beat?

Artis will join a front court rotation that’s performed very well with Loyd, Young Jason Calliste and Damyean Dotson handling the majority of the minutes. Artis’ return give Oregon yet another primary ball-handling option, and that has the potential to make them an even tougher team to defend. Entering Saturday Oregon ranked fifth nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per, and they were third in effective field goal percentage.

As for Carter, he’ll provide additional depth to a front court that can use it. Moser and Elgin Cook have played the best basketball of the big men through nine games, and Oregon has Richard Amardi and Waverly Austin receiving minutes as well. Artis and Carter will be able to play beginning on Tuesday night against UC Irvine, and they’ll have a total of three games to play before the start of Pac-12 play on January 4 against Utah.

Given how Oregon’s performed without that tandem, there won’t be as much pressure on them when they step on the floor. And if the on-court chemistry isn’t upset, Oregon stands to be even better than they are now.

Johnathan Loyd’s steady hand propels No. 13 Oregon to a win at Ole Miss

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When it was announced that starting point guard Dominic Artis was one of two players (forward Ben Carter being the other) suspended nine games for a violation of NCAA rules, there wasn’t a great deal of consternation amongst those who follow the Oregon Ducks. Why? There’s still plenty of talent at Dana Altman’s disposal in the backcourt, with his most seasoned player also being the one who’s the most overlooked.

That would be senior point guard Johnathan Loyd, who won MVP honors at last season’s Pac-12 tournament and has been a steady influence for a team filled with contributors who played their basketball at other schools in 2012-13. And in the 13th-ranked Ducks’ 115-105 overtime win at Ole Miss on Sunday night Loyd put together one of the best games of his career, racking up 25 points and 15 assists with just four turnovers.

Marshall Henderson’s career-high 39 points paced the Rebels, who shot 15-for-35 from beyond the arc. A Jarvis Summers contested three-pointer with less than a second remaining sent the game into overtime, but Ole Miss’ leading scorer struggled for much of the night before finishing with 12 points.

Loyd was one of six Ducks to score in double figures and the seventh player to score, forward Richard Amardi, finished the game with nine points. Of those six players four weren’t Ducks last season, including forward Mike Moser (25 points, ten rebounds) and guard Joseph Young (19 points). While that certainly doesn’t guarantee chemistry issues it does make the presence of a veteran figure important, and Loyd has been that player for Oregon and that’s unlikely to change when Artis returns to action on December 17 against UC Irvine whether the senior continues to start or not.

Those transfers have the talent needed to lead the Ducks, who are expected to contend for the Pac-12 title, a long way but in order to do so the entire team will need to do a better job on the boards. Oregon broke even with the Rebels but Ole Miss grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, managing to grab nearly 35% of their missed shots, and outscored the Ducks 20-5 in second chance points. That didn’t result in a loss in Oxford, but this is an area Oregon will need to address in the final games before the start of Pac-12 play.

Offensively this is one of the best teams in the country, especially with Moser (scoring 23 of his 25 in the second half and overtime) looking to be back at the level he played at in his first season at UNLV and their three-headed attack in the backcourt. But while many count down the days until Artis is eligible to return to the court, don’t overlook what Johnathan Loyd’s provided in his absence.

Loyd’s been one of the most-improved players in the Pac-12, and that development is one reason why the Ducks will be a contender for conference supremacy.