Oregon defensive lineman Popo Aumavae announces his return for 2022 season
Oregon got great news ahead of Wednesday night’s Alamo Bowl: Popo Aumavae is coming back.
The California native will return to Eugene for his sixth and final season with the program. Though he won’t play in the Alamo Bowl due to a lingering injury and the Ducks will miss him, getting him back for another year is a major win for new head coach Dan Lanning.
Fa'afetai tele lava and Sco Ducks! pic.twitter.com/qWIpNECC7O
— 50 (@PopoAumavae) December 29, 2021
“After tough consideration of my options regarding the conclusion of the 2021 season I have decided to (forego) the Alamo Bowl game to take care of a lingering injury that needs further attention in preparation for my senior season,” he wrote. “The past few weeks have consisted of multiple conversations with Coach Lanning and my family to determine the route I’ve chosen. I have faith in myself and this coaching staff to bring me back to be a dominant force on our defense in the 2022 season. With that being said, I am pleased to announce my return to Autzen to settle our unfinished business on the turf in front of the best fans in the country.”
A 3-star recruit coming out of high school, Aumavae took a redshirt season in 2017. He appeared in seven games the following season, then in 13 of the team’s 14 games in 2019. He played five games in 2020. During those first three seasons on the field, Aumavae provided depth. He had 30 tackles, six tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks over those first 25 games.
This season, though, Aumavae had his best year yet. In 13 games, he had 36 tackles and three tackles for loss.
Aumavae is the fourth Duck junior to turn down the 2022 NFL Draft in favor of a return to Oregon, joining offensive linemen Alex Forsyth and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and safety Bennett Williams. Sophomore offensive lineman Steven Jones and defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus have also announced their returns to Oregon for next year.