Former Clemson defensive lineman Scott Pagano is transferring to Oregon, FOX Sports reported Friday.
Pagano is using the NCAA’s graduate transfer exemption and will thus be eligible to play for the Ducks immediately.
Pagano was most often a reserve on Clemson’s national championship team, playing about 25 snaps per game. He started a couple of games at tackle early in the season but missed time in the middle of the year with an injury, and Clemson has spent the last few years pumping a series of elite defensive line recruits into the program.
“We all wanted him to stay, but he said he had accomplished everything he wanted to do at Clemson,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said after Pagano announced he’d leave. “He came here to graduate and win a national championship and he achieved both within the last two months.”
He was in high demand. Pagano reportedly collected 37 scholarship offers shortly after he announced he’d leave Clemson. He also considered Texas, Notre Dame, Cal, Nebraska, and Arkansas before whittling his list to Oklahoma and Oregon.
Pagano is a good player, but he’ll get more playing time at his new home than he likely would’ve at Clemson. It’ll be a chance for him to grow as a player.
Pagano was a four-star recruit in the class of 2013 and a top-300 player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite. He hails from Honolulu, Hawaii.
For Oregon, he’s an excellent get. The Ducks were 4-8 last season, and their abysmal defense was the primary reason why. They couldn’t stop the run or the pass and had one of the worst defenses in the entire country. That got head coach Mark Helfrich and defensive coordinator Brady Hoke fired, and the school has since replaced them with Willie Taggart and Jim Leavitt, the architect of Colorado’s defensive turnaround last year.
Pagano’s just one player, but he’s a defensive tackle from one of the great rushing defenses in the country. He’s a former blue-chip recruit whom Clemson listed in January at 6’3 and 295 pounds. He should be able to help against the run.