Oregon, which was woeful on defense the past few years, has taken some big steps since Willie Taggart was hired as the Ducks' head coach. First, Taggart landed Jim Leavitt as his new DC. On Friday, he landed another key piece getting Clemson grad transfer Scott Pagano, a defensive tackle, to pick the Ducks over Notre Dame and Oklahoma, among others.
Pagano announced the news on his Instagram account:
To My Family, Friends and Supporters: I want to thank all of you who supported me and my decision to transfer over the last few months. When I announced my intentions, I didnt know how people would react.Thankfully almost everyone was respectful of my decision and wished me well on my journey. I'm very appreciative of that and it definitely speaks volumes of the class and character of my Clemson Family.After taking several visits, I can honestly say there is no place like Clemson. A part of me will always miss Clemson and the relationships I have built here. I'll definitely be back to visit. After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to transfer to the University of Oregon for my final year of eligibility and to pursue a Sports Management Master's. This was a tough decision because of all the great programs that expressed interest in me along with having to leave Clemson. I want to thank all the coaches that took the time to get to know me during this process. However, Oregon is where I felt most at home and it is a great fit for me both on and off the field. I cant wait to get to Eugene to start making new friends and playing for and learning from one of the best DLine coaches in the country. Last but definitely not least, I have to thank my mom, dad, sisters and the rest of my family for supporting me through this process and my entire football career. I know these past few months were not easy on you. I want you to know that I am thankful and feel blessed to have a family who is willing to make sacrifices day end and day out so that I can pursue my dreams. Mahalo and Go Ducks!!!
A post shared by Scott J Pagano Jr. (@scottpagano56) on
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The 6-3, 295-pounder from Hawaii had 31 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and two sacks for the national champs last season. In 2015, he started nine games for Clemson. His strength should be a big plus for a defense looking to get much tougher. Last year Oregon ranked No. 126 in total defense and was No. 122 in run defense.