Oregon linebacker Justin Flowe explains when he knew he was truly back
We’re all not-so-patiently waiting to see Justin Flowe in an Oregon uniform on a football field in a meaningful game.
The former 5-star recruit and middle linebacker for the Ducks has played in just two games in two seasons for Oregon. He’s had to be patient himself, working back from a foot injury that robbed him of the final 11 games of the 2021 season. Flowe was a bit touch-and-go in the spring, but he’s been flying around in fall camp.
He said he’s feeling 100% ahead of the new season. Asked on Wednesday when he felt like he’d truly made it all the way back from the injury that claimed his second season, the crushing linebacker kept it on-brand.
“I feel like once the pads got on and we started getting to the hitting, that’s when I knew I was ready to go fully,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Once I started really striking and I knew that I felt good, it was over from there. I felt good to go.”
On Oregon’s official rosters, Flowe has cut 15 pounds between 2021 and 2022. Part of that is simply the rehab process and working through not being able to train like normal. But Flowe says he feels even more explosive than before — quite the development for a player who was defined by his explosiveness as a hitter and an athlete.
“It makes me feel like I still have the ability to strike someone, but I’m faster, I can get there quicker,” Flowe said. “If the toss is going that way, I feel like I’m getting there faster.
“After last when I had to get some work on my foot, I just realized that having a lower weight was going to benefit me in the long run. Just staying low so I can be sideline-to-sideline.”
Flowe had a team-best 14 tackles in the opener against Fresno State last season. He had at least 100 tackles in each of his final three high school seasons. If he’s fully healthy, he’s a tackling machine in the heart of Oregon’s defense and potentially one of the best linebackers in the league. We’ll get to see him and the 11th-ranked Ducks in action on Sept. 3 against No. 3 Georgia.