The Sports Daily > Duck Stops Here
Getting to know the Oregon Duck newcomers: Andre Yruretagoyena

Andre Yruretagoyena
OL – 6-5, 260, 4.94
Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral HS)

2010 Team Record: 14-0 season, back-to-back Class 5A-II state championships.

3,700 yards rushing (263 per game), 54 TDs  7.4 yards per carry

1st Team All-State, consensus 4* recruit

Yruretagoyena: rolled r – etha – go – yehna.  It looks Russian but it’s Basque, the proud, dispersed people of the Pyrenees Mountains. Andre Y is likely to be a well-deserved affectionate nickname, as Duck fans will love his intensity and agressive blocking, but it shouldn’t be adopted out of mere laziness.

Off the field, he likes the usual teenaged stuff, girls, computers, music and movies. Oh, and weightlifting.  He’s a low-key kid who plays football with a nasty edge, telling Richard Davenport of Arizonapreps.com that for him football is “a way of getting my anger out, friendship, love of the game, one of the few things I get excited about.”

Andre channels his anger very well.  There are linebackers and defensive backs picking themselves up all over Arizona with bruises that attest to his effectiveness in that area. On the field, he’s punishing, nasty and relentless, nothing like the normal and well-adjusted guy you’d find hanging out with friends.  David Piper of Addicted to Quack noted that his playing style made him a perfect Chip Kelly lineman, something that’s readily evident in his highlight film.

Ironically, Yruretagoyena is a childhood friend of Oregon recruit Tyler Johnstone. Their reunion was a little magical, as the talented tackle explained to Igor Lansorena  of eitb.com., “Tyler and I go way back. We had the same kindergarten teacher when we lived in the small town of Vancouver, Washington. We played soccer with each other and were really good friends. My parents got divorced and we moved to Arizona and I didn’t really get to say goodbye since we grew apart a little, but I was visiting U of A during the summer and he was there too. I walked into the coach’s office and he jumped up and we had our own little reunion.”

They both chose to play for Kelly and Steve Greatwood, and in the months between Signing Day and reporting to campus they worked out together in Scottsdale, so fiercely that Johnstone gained 25 pounds of muscle.  Jim Radcliffe’s testing at the start of Fall Camp is likely to show similar gains for Yruretagoyena.  The two will push each other for four to five years, and the benefits to the Oregon program will lead to a lot of foghorns and end zone celebrations, something Andre calls one of the best parts about football.

He understands that line play requires unity and teamwork, and he’ll carry that attitude to Oregon.  Talking about his high school line, the one that won back-to-back state championships and powered for a very Oregon-like 3,700 yards rushing and 54 touchdowns, he told the website College Level Athletics, “We were all extremely quick, strong, and technically sound because my coach drilled every step for every block.”

Not all elite players are this coachable. Some have trouble embracing discipline, but Yruretagoyena revels in it like a highly-trained soldier.  Interviewed by Michigan’s MGO blog during recruiting he said, “Coach Ragle has completely changed me as a player. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for our coaches or trainers. We came up with a work ethic for ourselves, just to work our hardest. They’re really supportive. My line coach is only like 21, but he’s a really good coach, and he’s really the reason I’m here today. They are all just really awesome coaches.”

Consider this: between them, Johnstone’s and Andre Y’s high school teams won four Arizona State Championships in different divisions, losing a total of one game in two years.  That’s some great football, and top-flight recruiting, a tremendous foundation for success at the college level.  Again, it needs to be said, Chip Kelly and Steve Greatwood don’t need Will Lyles.  They’re adept at identifying and securing players who are great fit for the Oregon way, that set a new standard and a new level of commitment in this program.  As good as the Ducks have been in the last three years, the quality and character of the players they are bringing in now is utterly mind-blowing.  These are outstanding, extremely-focused young men.

Take a look at his highlight video and see if you agree:


Notes and observations:

Hits people downfield like they were hit with a stun gun.  They recoil and bounce and fall to the ground. :56 knocks down two defenders like a couple of bowling pins–he’s a bullet and a bowling ball.  Very agile in downfield blocking. Moves fluidly and plays tackle like a stud linebacker.

 1:04 Blows up the linebacker.  1:13 Throws down a defensive back–there’s a mean, nasty just within the rules edge to his play. Chip Kelly will love his tremendous intensity:  Wants to win every physical confrontation on the field and seeks them out, really challenges people.  Wants opponents on the ground. 

Devastatingly effective downfield blocker.  Has good vision at the second level, picking his targets and creating opportunities for his ball carriers. Prodigiously strong, with beautifully focused aggression. 1:28 Drives a defensive end 8 yards up the field and then to the ground.  Puts an exclamation point on a block, that physical dominance and intimidation that establishes a character for a team. 1:32 great frame for a lineman, strong and powerful, really fires out of his stance, solidly built, at 6-5 he can gain muscle without losing agility. 1:43 and 1:50 locks up and secures an opponent, uses good leverage and position, a powerful base, excellent technique.

2:04 team uses the “bust block” and double team techniques they use at Oregon. Very finished as a lineman in terms of his technique and understanding of the game, playing in a highly successful and sophisticated high school program.  Maybe the best candidate among the linemen to play right away in terms of skills as a linemen, although he needs to make a jump from his 257-lb. high school playing weight. 

2:27, 2:34 stays on a block with the tenacity of a Brazilian bullrider. 2:45 delivers a blow to a defender, physically breaking them down. A few probably think about becoming point guards instead. 2:58 squares out and blasts the defensive end on a pull.  Has the agility to lead the Oregon stretch play and seek and destroy. 3:01 good slide step and another big impact. A punisher. 3:11 stays balanced and under control as a pulling lineman, decisive.  He’s drilled his assignments extremely well and plays with a lot of discipline and intelligence.

3:22 Great pass blocking technique. Delivers that first blow to get the defender neutralized and squares off for the next one.  Doesn’t lose aggressiveness.  His stance stays nice and neutral pulling, pass blocking or run blocking.  Doesn’t give the defense an inadvertent key. 3:33 his push rocks the defender backward and out of the play, reduckulous domination in pass blocking, never passive.

High school teams are notoriously right-handed; he plays strong side tackle in the video but has the skills to play anywhere on the line, including left tackle, although he may not be large enough to play there. 3:57 terrific footwork and quickness.  ESPN says he “lacks explosion”–whose highlight video did they watch?

Some measurables, from Richard Davenport.  (Yruretagoyena has probably exceeded most of these numbers by now):

3.2 gpa 5.0 40-yard dash
Bench max: 275 x 8 (We do rep max)
Squat max: 385 x 9
40-yard dash: 5.0 laser
Vertical: 32

Andre is a perfect fit for what the Ducks try to do, and their system is a perfect fit for his skills as an agile, athletic lineman who loves to compete.  He’ll thrive here, and the accomplishments of the offensive line class of 2011, Yruretagoyena, Johnstone, Fisher, Eusher and Prater, are likely to be legendary.  All that talk about elite defensive lines and not being able to control the line of scrimmage versus teams with time to prepare will be knocked flat, like the linebackers and cornerbacks the Basque strongman has been hunting down for two years.