Oregon has several reasons to be optimistic about its defensive front in 2023. A couple of those reasons are Jordan Burch and Matayo Uiagalelei.

Both are newcomers to the roster, and both are looking to get after the passer. Oregon hopes to improve its pass rush in Year 2 under Dan Lanning, and it really prioritized beefing up the defensive line through the 2023 recruiting class.

Burch comes to Oregon after three seasons at South Carolina. He’s a former 5-star recruit and was viewed by many as one of the best offseason transfer portal additions in college football. The edge defender recorded 60 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and three pass breakups in 13 starts last fall.

“I do set goals. I can’t tell you all of them. I’d like to win a championship. That’s one of the main reasons I came here,” Burch said. “I feel like Oregon has the group to do that. That’s the main goal for me. Coming out here wasn’t to just play, but to be part of a team that can do that.”

There’s optimism about the role he can play in helping bring a title to Eugene.

And Burch himself is optimistic about his freshman teammate.

“He’s really good,” Burch said of Uiagalelei. “Watching him, some of the moves he does a lot of people can’t do. He’s athletic and a good player. He’ll be a really good player for this defense.”

The 6-foot-5 freshman was a top-50 recruit out of St. John Bosco in California. He was a major win in the 2023 class for Lanning, and should be on the field in some fashion right away.

Lanning often says if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. It’s certainly possible that Burch and Uiagalelei form a one-two punch on the edge for the Ducks this fall, with veteran wrecker Brandon Dorlus lining up on the other side of the line.

“I think we have better depth, better understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Lanning said at Pac-12 Media Day. “We have done a good job in recruiting, bringing some great talent in that can make us better there.”

If they can get off to a hot start, the Ducks think they can be a feared defensive group.

“When you can line up and the offensive linemen look at you and respect the group that’s lining up, that’s a really big deal. For us this year, I feel like we have the pieces to do that,” Burch said. “It really doesn’t take much. Do as you’re told, be athletic, play your game, and I think we can do that.”