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Kamalani listed No. 2 at two spots for Ducks

April 14, 2012 - Robert Collias
Going into his junior season for the University of Oregon, Kamehameha Schools Maui graduate Keloni Kamalani is closing in on a lot more playing time this fall as he continues to move up the depth chart at linebacker during spring drills for the Ducks.

Kamalani is listed No. 2 at the SAM (strong-side) linebacker and drop end spots for the Ducks, who appear headed for a top-10 preseason ranking after winning the Rose Bowl for the first time in 95 years in January.

Here is an excerpt from a story by Rob Moseley of the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard from today's edition on Kamalani (this is at the end of the link above):

The player affectionately known as “K2” has climbed a big mountain with the Ducks by paying his dues on special teams the last two years to position himself for playing time on defense in 2012.

“The opportunity’s here,” said Kamalani, whose 27 tackles in 19 games the last two seasons — including all 14 of 2011 — came primarily on special teams. “I’m just trying to seize the moment, practice hard and get my chance.”

Primarily a SAM the last two years, Kamalani is thus also suited to playing Oregon’s “drop end” position, where Dion Jordan starts. That position has evolved over the last few years to something closer to another outside linebacker than a true defensive end.

The Ducks recruited a couple of potential drop ends who will arrive in the fall, and (linebacker coach Don) Pellum said coaches will reassess personnel at that point. But as of now, Kamalani could factor into the plan.

“It would mean a lot,” said Kamalani, who walked on at Oregon after attending a football camp in Eugene while in high school. “All this hard work, I’m just waiting for it to pay off.”

A couple disclaimers: I worked at the R-G from 1986 to 1987 as a summer sports intern and then as a part-timer, mostly covering preps. Before that, I delivered the paper as a youth. It is still the paper I read first when I want to keep up on Oregon, where I graduated from in 1986 after being the 1985-86 sports editor of the Oregon Daily Emerald, the student daily. Don Pellum was a classmate and close friend of mine in school when he tore up the Pac-10 as a linebacker himself. Moseley, IMHO, is the best college football beat writer out there — no pun intended, but the guy simply doesn't miss a beat.

I caught up with Kamalani for this story prior to the 2012 Rose Bowl, this one prior to the 2011 season, and this one prior to the 2010 National Championship Game. A lot of blogs on the dude as well, just plug "Keloni Kamalani" into our search box on the front page of this website.

Cool stuff for me to observe — as hard as he works, this kid deserves everything he gets.


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