Elijah Molden’s offseason has been focused on getting healthy up to this point. After suffering a high ankle sprain in the 6A state playoffs last year the West Linn defensive back and 2017 four-star prospect has been trying to get back on the field for 7v7 play. He finally accomplished that goal on Wednesday with his first practice.
“It’s not 100 percent but it feels a lot better,” he said of the ankle.
Molden’s EForce Oregon Breed squad received a wake up call last Sunday against Washington’s Team FSP while he was forced to sit out. Now that he’s back in the fold, the team is already going through film and prepping to amp up the intensity in practice so that they can avoid a repeat performance of last weekend’s drubbing and try and duplicate, if not exceed, their performance at last year’s Pylon finals where they made the final four.
The team will not be able to lean on former safety Brady Breeze this year as he has moved on to the college ranks to play for Oregon, but a majority of last year's defense remains intact. For Molden that means making sure that he and other upperclassmen on the team assume more of a leadership role.
“We just have to be vocal leaders,” he said. “I’m going to have to do a lot of talking and help people out that may not be sure what to do and everything. But as far as chemistry, I think we’ve got it.”
While 7v7 will be an important part of his offseason, Molden has a strong desire to make it back to the marquee camp of the year.
“That’s my main goal is to go back to The Opening and perform really well there and be one of the first team defenders,” he said. “I want to become a better athlete.”
Instead of attempting to repeat his MVP performance at the regional qualifying camp in Eugene, Molden is eyeing a trip to either Houston or Oakland to lock down his spot this year. He attended the Oakland regional camp last year as well.
As far as recruiting goes, Molden welcomed an offer from Arizona State a couple of weeks ago and said that Notre Dame is recruiting him heavily. LSU, Florida State, Auburn and USC have also been in the mix, but things haven’t changed in terms of his favorites.
“No leaders,” he said. “I think Oregon and Stanford have always been my two. If Notre Dame offered me that’d be pretty big. I’d like to see Michigan get more involved in recruiting because they’re a great school and I’d be interested in playing for them.”
Molden knows that Stanford and Oregon will evaluate him this spring. New Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke, who Molden has already taken a liking to in his short time in Eugene, figures to be in attendance.
“I want to see what he can bring to the table,” Molden said of Hoke. “He did well as a head coach at Michigan and now he’ll be a defensive coordinator and that’ll be cool to check out.”
Molden will also be traveling this spring and already has a few destinations in mind.
“I plan on going to see Stanford for one of their spring practices,” he said. “Then I plan on maybe going to Notre Dame early in the summer and I also want to visit Washington. I think I’ll be able to visit Washington maybe Spring Break.”