Oregon will have two defensive starters back on the field when the Ducks clash with the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus this Saturday.
Mario Cristobal announced on Monday that he’s lifted the suspensions for safety Jamal Hill and cornerback DJ James. Both will be available this Saturday against the Buckeyes.
Hill and James were expected to start in the Ducks’ secondary during Oregon’s season opener versus Fresno State. The two were suspended indefinitely during training camp, though, after allegedly shooting innocent bystanders with an airsoft gun. They were charged with reckless endangering, disorderly conduct and unlawful firearm discharge.
After missing the season opener, Hill and James will play for the Ducks this Saturday in Columbus.
“They’ll be available for this weekend,” Cristobal said during his Monday press conference. “They’ll be on our organizational depth chart.”
BREAKING: Mario Cristobal says Jamal Hill and DJ James will be available for Ohio State this weekend and will be listed on the depth chart.
— Matt Prehm (@MattPrehm) September 6, 2021
Jamal Hill was one of Oregon’s best defensive players by the end of last season. He recorded two key interceptions against the USC Trojans in last year’s Pac-12 championship game and had an eight-tackle performance against Iowa State in the Fiesta Bowl. The ball-hawk safety will be vital to the Ducks’ defensive success this Saturday.
DJ James, meanwhile, was a backup to now 49ers defensive back Deommodore Lenoir last season. He was projected to be a starter this year, but may now battle it out with Trikweze Bridges and Dontae Manning as the second corner spot. Bridges and Manning split reps against Fresno State on Saturday.
Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener torched the Ducks’ secondary with 298 yards and a score on 30 completions last Saturday, but that was without two potential starters in Hill and James. The two should make a pretty drastic difference for Oregon this coming Saturday.
Oregon takes on Ohio State in Columbus this Saturday at noon ET on FOX.