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The ballad of Dawson Jaramillo
A great mullet is taking the show on the road.
There’s a photo of Dawson Jaramillo from the Ohio State game in 2021 that I hope his family has framed somewhere.
Clad in Oregon white juxtaposed over a backdrop of 100,000 Ohio State Buckeyes fans in red, a mulletted Jaramillo stands beside safety Mark Vidackovic and looks the way my favorite baseball players looked on the TV during the All-Star games of the early-90s.
It’s the image that came to mind when Jaramillo announced his transfer to NC State on Monday.
It’s easy to see Jaramillo as a caricature, an offensive lineman who seldom played during most of his time in Eugene who had a great sense of humor and celebrated Mondays with hashtags and alliteration.
That’s what drew me to the lineman the first time I interviewed him. It was Oregon media day 2019, I needed a midweek story and Jaramillo had just gone relatively viral for a video in which the 300-plus pound lineman barreled down a homemade slip-N-slide.
That’s right in my wheelhouse.
So I talked to the former four-star from Lake Oswego about mullets and shampoos, John Daly and the shit he took for going viral with his socks on. “It was 92 degrees,” Jaramillo said then. “I didn’t want to burn my feet.”
Jaramillo was happy to play ball and it made for a fun story. And while he was buried on the depth chart then by a senior-heavy Oregon offensive line, he was someone I always kept an eye on as the years progressed. He matured, he developed from a kid with size to a collegiate athlete. And by the time Oregon traveled to Columbus in 2021 to take on No. 6 Ohio State, he had finally turned himself into a contributor.
He and George Moore rotated at tackle that day and dominated the Buckeyes. Jaramillo even got a nice scene as the lead of Dennis Dodd’s recap over at CBS.
In those heady, wonderful, giddy moments following the Ducks' 35-28 win over No. 5 Ohio State, coach Mario Cristobal ordered his left tackle Dawson Jaramillo to roll up his left sleeve as the hulking 300-pound sophomore headed to the bus.
On the kid's bicep was the logo for the 80s hair band Poison. Inside Jaramillo's forearm was one of the everlasting lyrics of this or any age. "It's only rock and roll, but I like it."
All mullet and sweat, Jaramillo smiled.
"That's what development gets you," Cristobal said.
Jaramillo played a career-high 329 snaps that season.
Then college football happened.
Cristobal left. A new coach and another new offensive coordinator came in. The roster reshuffled.
Jaramillo played 77 snaps under Dan Lanning.
I’m not a good enough eye to tell you if those were good snaps, or if he deserved more, or how much curry he had to favor to improve that number next year. But with one year of eligibility remaining, I get it. If you’re 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds you’re already halfway toward winning the lottery. There’ no shame in exhausting all avenues to see if that thing hits.
But it blows my mind to think there are thousands of players in the transfer portal, all with their own stories. You’d assume none of them ever wanted to end up there. I know Jaramillo didn’t grow up thinking about making an impact in Raleigh.
He wanted to do that in Eugene. I could tell that between the jokes in 2019 and from the conversations I’d have with his father over the years, who always talked with pride about his son’s year-over-year improvements.
Maybe in a different era with less musical chairs Jaramillo never leaves and his Oregon career high-points as a senior at Autzen, not playing road shows 3,000-miles across the country.
But the show must go on. And at least he’s still got that Ohio State photo.
That whole day was pretty metal.
Play us off, Brett…
— Tyson Alger
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