Oregon defensive lineman Maceal Afaese has medically retired, according to Dan Lanning
When Oregon held its first spring practice on Thursday, there was one notable absence among the Ducks’ group of defensive players.
Maceal Afaese, sophomore defensive lineman who redshirted last season, was not seen at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex during the open portion of practice. He also was not listed on the Ducks’ updated spring roster.
While meeting with reporters after practice, Oregon head coach Dan Lanning confirmed that Afaese has medically retired and is no longer with the program.
“Yeah, he medically retired,” Lanning said when asked about Afaese.
Afaese was sidelined with a leg injury for the entirety of last season.
In 2021, he played 22 snaps in three games but spent much of the year working his way back from an injury that he suffered the year prior.
The 6-foot-4, 259-pound defensive tackle signed with the Ducks out of the 2020 class. According to On3, Afaese was a 3-star signee and the No. 408 overall player in his class. 247 Sports tabbed him as a 4-star and the No. 24 defensive lineman in the nation.
With Afaese’s departure, Oregon’s scholarship count now sits at 91.
During the offseason, defensive lineman Sua’ava Poti also opted to end his playing career in order to join Oregon’s coaching staff as a student assistant.
As it stands, Oregon’s roster features 14 players who are listed as defensive linemen:
- Popo Aumavae (R-Sr.)
- Brandon Dorlus (Sr.)
- Treven Ma’ae (R-Jr.)
- Sir Mells (R-Fr.)
- Ben Roberts (Soph.),
- Casey Rogers (R-Sr.)
- Taki Taimani (R-Sr.)
- Keyon Ware-Hudson (R-Jr.)
- Johnny Bowens (’23 signee)
- My’Keil Gardner (’23 signee)
- Terrance Green (’23 signee)
- Tevita Pome’e (’23 signee)
- A’mauri Washington (’23 signee)
Dorlus and Aumavae are both former all-conference players who will be back for their final seasons. Rogers, Taimani, and Ware-Hudson all made big contributions last season.
Ben Roberts was one of Oregon’s more impactful true freshmen last season. He played 48 defensive snaps in five games, including 14 in the Ducks’ blowout win over Colorado.
Roberts would seem to be the closest to consistent playing time out of the program’s group of underclassmen. 2023 could be an audition of sorts for him, and a handful of others, with Dorlus, Aumavae, Rogers, and Taimani all set to depart at the end of the season.
Lanning was also asked Thursday about the status of Mells, who reportedly was working with Oregon’s offensive linemen during the offseason. The head coach neither confirmed nor denied that Mells has made a position change.
“We’re going to work guys in multiple positions,” Lanning responded.