Oregon needs a much better pass rush in 2023, and so upgrading the talent on the edge was a major area of emphasis for the coaching staff this offseason.

To that end, securing a commitment from former South Carolina defensive end Jordan Burch was a huge win. And Burch, a 5-star prospect as a recruit, has lived up to the billing so far this spring for the Ducks.

“Jordan Burch coming in, he’s been excellent off the edge,” said former Rhode Island tackle Ajani Cornelius. “He’s a strong dude. He’s not your typical end out there. He’s heavy, and he’s quick. So him being that heavy, sometimes you want to expect, but he’s a true athlete, especially for his size.”

Cornelius is acclimating to Oregon the same as Burch. He said the competition level has risen from what he was used to at Rhode Island.

He also gave shout-outs to freshman edge Matayo Uiagalelei and returning standout Brandon Dorlus as guys who have made his job tough on the outside.

“Early on, it was obvious that the level of competition had risen,” Cornelius said. “And that forced me to raise my level of competition, which ultimately was what I wanted. It’s been a great thing for me. I feel like I keep on growing as a player because of it.”

That back-and-forth between Burch and Cornelius should be an “iron sharpens iron” situation for the Ducks.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Burch was a full-time starter in 2022 at South Carolina, when he put up 56 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and three pass breakups. Burch led the Gamecock defense with 40 quarterback pressures, which were the sixth-most among SEC defenders.

“Really excited about what he can do for our team. He has a demeanor about himself,” head coach Dan Lanning said earlier this spring. “And I think when you see him at practice, you see moves, you say, ‘Okay, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.'”