In 2010, a young 4-star recruit from Portland, Oregon found his way to the Oregon Ducks joining a line up of outstanding route runners like, Lavasier Tuinei, Jeff Maehl, Josh Huff, and Bralon Addison. As a redshirt freshman, Keanon Lowe would put his time in on the scout team, begining his journey through the Oregon receiver ranks.
It wasn’t long before Keanon would befriend, Will Murphy, an older receiver who took a shining to this young hard-working fellow Oregonian trying to find his way in the team. Will, an Albany, OR native, also knew a little bit about working his way up, having joined the team as a walk on a couple of years prior.
For the next couple of years, the two would build a natural friendship, encouraging each other along the way. It was about that time, Will recalls, then Head Coach, Chip Kelly started attaching GPS tracking systems to each player to record their performance. Will and Keanon, both dedicated and competitive, would use the tracking system to motivate each other, seeing who could beat who in different areas. When unplugged however, it was Will who would pour into Keanon, teaching him the on-the-field lessons he had learned from those before him. As Will, now a receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles, explained, he felt drawn to help Keanon because he could see he had more talent than him and “was willing to listen.”
“Keanon plays the game the right way and if it’ll help the team, Keanon will do it,” Will said.
Little did he know, that time spent would not only be remembered, but would also help develop a much-needed Oregon leader.
This season, with that once long line-up of talented receivers moving on to the NFL, graduating or receiving unfortunate injuries this Spring, Keanon now finds himself in the spotlight, a place he didn’t necessarily expect or want to be.
I don’t really like attention or need attention or want it in any way,” he recently told gridirongirl. Going on to explain how important it is for him to be humble, something he’s spent years teaching his little brother, Trey, who he says sends him a “pump up text” before each game.
“You can always get better. You’ll never reach where you want to be so if you take that approach to it, you’ll be successful,” Keanon says.
What Keanon is focused on however is being a good leader. These days, he’s not only working hard on his game, but encouraging and teaching other young receivers just like Will did for him.
“He’s definitely our number one guy. He’s our leader,” receiver, Darren Carrington says.
He’s like our dad. He just treats us like his sons. Really. Literally. He walks us through what we’re supposed to do. He’s just a good encourager, a good leader and on top of that, he works hard. That’s the guy we want to follow then everything will come into play.
Perhaps that fatherly role is something Keanon’s adopted from his father-like relationship he shares with his younger brother, Trey, but as Keanon explains, it’s more about getting to know the guys.
I have a great relationship with every single one of those guys in the receiver room, whether it’s Jalen Brown who just got here or it’s Bralon who I’ve been playing with for a couple of years. I think I just developed a good relationship with all of them.
That relationship piece is something often missed in all the stat talk and game analysis. Above all else, the guys will play for each other, especially when the “brother to left”, as Mariota likes to say, is a guy like Keanon Lowe.
Tomorrow, Duck fans will get a chance to see a glimpse of what’s to come from Keanon, as he struts his stuff during Oregon’s Spring Game Scrimmage. For the past couple of years, Keanon has made some big plays but has also played a vital role in the Ducks’ blocking game, making way for other play-makers like Josh Huff and Bralon Addison, Keanon This year, he will undoubtedly be depending on those younger guys he’s been helping to make the way for him as a go-to-guy. Again, those relationships will prove important.
If being described by both Coach Helfrich, Coach Frost and Marcus Mariota as being “consistent” and as “doing everything right,” doesn’t say enough about Keanon, perhaps this will: When asked how he likes to spend his time off the field, Keanon simply replied,
Probably trying to get better really. This is my last year of football and I have no time to waste so I’m pretty fully dedicated to this. I’m taking this serious. I got a lot of people counting on me whether it’s this team or my family so I’m definitely not going to let anyone down. The more work you put in the better results you get.
As the Oregon Ducks face an upcoming season with high expectations, many questions marks, new coaching leadership, they can rest assured leaders, like Keanon will be ready to carry them.
“There’s No need to worry. We’ve got a great group of guys. I don’t think there’s anyone out here who works harder than us. You know me personally, I’ll be ready to step up.”