Green Valley’s Crosby starting for No. 2 Oregon

It was just a year ago that Green Valley offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby was getting ready for a big game against Palo Verde.

The Gators pulled out a wild 42-41 victory over the Panthers that night. Hard to believe that less than 12 months later that Crosby is now starting in the Pac-12 Conference for the nation’s No. 2 ranked team, Oregon, and blocking for one of the nation’s top Heisman Trophy candidates, quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, one of the best in the business, had hoped to redshirt the former Green Valley star this season. But the Ducks have been hit by a rash of injuries on the offensive line including one to starting left tackle Tyler Johnstone (torn ACL) in fall camp and starting right tackle Andre Yruretagoyena (right leg) against Michigan State. Backup right tackle Jake Fisher, who was also injured last week against Wyoming, moved over to left tackle opening a spot for Crosby.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Crosby, who played a key role in Oregon’s big 46-27 win over No. 7 Michigan State on Sept. 6, moved into the starting lineup at right tackle for last week’s 48-14 win over Wyoming. And he’s listed as the starter there again for Saturday night’s Pac-12 opener at Washington State that will be televised by ESPN at 7:30 p.m.

Greatwood told the Eugene Register-Guard that Crosby graded out well in the win over Michigan State, considered one of the top defensive fronts in the nation.

“Nothing fazes him,” Greatwood said. “I thought he did very well. He had a couple plays that he’d like to have back, but for a true freshman to go into that situation and perform against the caliber of opposition he did, I was very pleased with his performance.

“He’s a natural-born offensive tackle. He has worked diligently at learning the scheme and system.”

“Tyrell is a really talented kid,” offensive coordinator Scott Frost told the Register-Guard. “He had a great fall camp.”

Crosby told the Register-Guard that he was hoping to play this season.

“I worked as hard as I could during fall camp and then it just kind of happened,” Crosby said. “When they told me that I would play as a true freshman, it helped build a lot of confidence. I knew if they thought I was ready, then I was ready.”

Any doubt about Crosby’s athleticism should be squashed after watching Play No. 8 in Barry Wong’s Best plays of 2013. It features Crosby picking off a mid-year fumble and rambling up the left sideline like a running back for a touchdown.

Tyrell Crosby photo by Chris Poulson.

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