Jake Breeland wasn’t able to compete in the Rose Bowl for the Oregon Ducks this year, but make no mistake, he was an integral part of their culture change and overall success in 2020.
Breeland was on pace for an All-American season with the Ducks. Prior to suffering a season-ending injury, he had 26 receptions for 405 yards and six touchdowns in just six games.
The positive news here is that Breeland is making a speedy recovery from his torn ACL. In fact, he should be more than capable of playing when the regular season begins in September.
We sat down with Breeland to talk about his career at Oregon, overcoming a season-ending injury and what he expects to bring to the NFL. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: How did you manage handling a season-ending injury in 2019 after being on pace for an All-American year?
Jake Breeland: Yeah, I would say that was one of the hardest things I went through in my career. It was tough, but at the same time I felt at peace. I’m religious, so God really comforted me throughout this process and I really just knew that this wasn’t going to be the end. I knew I was going to get better and healthy again, and I was going to come back stronger and play again. It was definitely super hard to be on the sideline knowing I can’t do anything, but then again, I just had that comfort where I wasn’t too down and was excited for the future.
Words can’t describe how thankful I am to be apart of the Oregon Family! Thankful for everyone who has been there to support me and help me through these past 5 years. So much love for my teammates and the best fans in the nation! I will never forget the feeling of being a Duck🙌🏻
— Jake Breeland (@JakeBreeland10) January 2, 2020
The Spun: Where are you now in your recovery?
JB: I am almost back. I’ve been running routes now, so I’m about to get cleared by my team doctor. I’m feeling good, I’m probably at like 85 percent I would say. I’m getting there real soon.
The Spun: You shared some great moments with Justin Herbert. What makes him such a special QB?
JB: He’s for sure the best quarterback in the draft. He’s just a great guy. Obviously when he came in, he was shy. But then knowing him and seeing him grow each year was so fun to watch. Justin became more of a leader each year, and this last season he was just the leader that we needed. He was vocal and he led with his actions. I lived with him for a few years, so I got to know him on and off the field and we became close. He’s a stud and he’s going to do great things in NFL.
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) September 15, 2019
The Spun: Who do you think replaces him at Oregon?
JB: Tyler Shough is a stud. I’ve gotten pretty close with him throughout these years too. He’s a great guy, one of my favorite players on the team. He’s improved a lot. I went out to a couple of practices during spring ball before this whole virus thing was going on, and he was throwing really well, and he looked like he was being that leader that Oregon needs. I think he’ll start next season and he’ll be a great player.
The Spun: How was it to experience Mario Cristobal change Oregon’s identity from speed to physicality in such a short time?
JB: Well, my class went through three head coaches, so we’ve been through a lot. But yeah, Cristobal came in and changed the culture of our team. We became even closer as friends, almost like a family. His mantra was that we’re going to be the most physical team in the Pac-12 and we’re going to run the ball down their throat, and that’s what we did. During practices we didn’t take it easy. We were getting after it during one-on-ones, just getting better and being that physical team that he wanted us to be.
This is the combination of Cristobal's culture, tough and physical practices and of course, the off-season strength program.
Can't speak enough about Coach Feld and the work the Ducks are putting in in the weight room. https://t.co/O0wKaDm8rI
— Alek Arend (@alekarend) January 3, 2020
The Spun: What will go down as your favorite moment at Oregon?
JB: I’d say 2018 against Washington. We won that game in overtime, it was a fun game and great win for the team. Celebrating after that win was so fun, you just can’t beat that feeling.
The Spun: Tight ends are becoming a really important part of NFL offenses. What would you say is your greatest asset that you bring on the field as a tight end?
JB: For me, I would say I bring that athleticism and speed to the team. I also love to be physical. Blocking is not something that I don’t want to do. I will stick my face in there, my nose in there and try to run people over. I’ll bring my work ethic and I’ll be the best player to any team that drafts me. I’m in it for the long run, so I’m not going somewhere just to be there for little or whatever. I want to play for a long time. I love the game and I just want to play.
Did a Film Session earlier today with Oregon TE Jacob Breeland (@JakeBreeland10). Probably the most underrated TE in this class. Former WR who is also a pretty solid blocker.
Met with all but 3 NFL teams at the combine.
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) March 13, 2020
The Spun: What about making the NFL excites you the most?
JB: Yeah, it’s for sure the childhood dream aspect of it. It’s everyone’s dream as a kid when they love the game of football. Just getting the opportunity to play college and then get an opportunity to play NFL is just huge. Competing against these players is going to be another step up and I’m excited. I love to compete. I’m super competitive. So yeah, I’m just excited because I love the game of football.
Breeland didn’t have the chance to work out at the NFL Combine, but he did meet with several teams there. If he can return to 100 percent, he’ll be a playmaker at the next level.
Oregon fans will find out where Breeland will start his NFL career later this month.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.