DuRocher the student.

Since arriving at the University of Oregon last spring, freshman Johnny DuRocher, 6-4, 197 from Graham (Wash.) Bethel HS, has met new friends, put on weight and started an intense learning process.

DuRocher, was the Washington state Gateraide Player of the Year for 2002, a Tacoma Tribune Northwest Nugget, on the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best In The West list and was the No. 1 player on TheInsiders.com Hot 100 Northwest. He threw for 2,255 yards and 26 touchdowns his senior year. His junior year he passed for 2,299 yards and 23 touchdowns and was the starting signal caller for a team for three years that went undefeated in each regular season. So what does a guy with credentials do at Oregon?

He goes into the learning mode.

"I want to learn as much as I can," said DuRocher. "Jason (Fife) is here for one more year and I want to learn as much as I can from him."

Johnny enrolled in the spring session at Oregon after graduating early from high school. He was able to participate in spring drills, giving him a major boost in the learning curve. He completed two-of-five passes in the spring game. Even though he is penciled in as the No. 3 quarterback as a true freshman on the Ducks depth chart behind Jason Fife and Kellen Clemens, DuRocher is using his upperclassmen as mentors.

"I was just behind Jason and Kellen," confessed DuRocher. "Everywhere they went, I was learning as much as I could from them."

Since coming to Oregon he has put on 10 pounds and has set a personal best in the weight room with a 242-pound power clean. While arriving early has had some definite advantages DuRocher is still impressed with how the University of Oregon runs the football program.

"So far, everything is done very professionally," observed DuRocher. "If teams prepare differently than us and win national championships then I don't know how they do it. I don't think anybody prepares harder than us."

Part of the transition for a student-athlete is meeting new friends that can greatly influence their life. DuRocher may have given a clue to the leadership of the team when he revealed that one of his friends at Oregon is junior lineman Nick Steitz.

"Nick Steitz is one of my best friends on the team," Johnny said.

Who else on the team leaves a big impression on DuRocher?

"Samie Parker is one of the hardest working guys on the team," said DuRocher. "He always wants to catch the balls."

DuRocher also noted that another true freshman might catch much notice.

"Ryan Gilliam, came out to Oregon a couple weeks before the season started and he really impressed a lot of people." the new quarterback observed.

Johnny is a confident young man that has a clear outlook on his role at Oregon and what the possibilities might be. He is ready to learn and will someday put those lessons to use as a Duck for the University of Oregon.

Oregon will open the 2003 football season with a trip to Starksville, Mississippi to take on Mississippi State on August 30th.

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