Hawaii just has to be one of the world’s most beautiful places. But, if your passion is football, you are going to have to leave the islands if you want to be a real football star.
That was the decision that Scott Pagano from Honolulu, Hawaii had to make back in the winter of 2013. Back then, Pagano was a highly desirable Defensive Tackle who was recruited by a bunch of different major college powerhouses to play at their schools. Playing at Moanalua High School in Honolulu, Pagano was a 4 star recruit rated as the 23rd best Defensive Tackle recruit in the country that year.
When all was said and done, Scott Pagano signed with the Clemson Tigers.
That was a great recruiting class pulled in by Dabo Swinney and his staff. 5 star Mackensie
Alexander led the way with guys like Ben Boulware, Mike Williams, Shaq Lawson, Jordan Leggett, Wayne Gallman, Jayron Kearse, Tyrone Crowder, Dorean O’Daniel, Jadar Johnson and Cordea Tankersley to name the majority of the contributors in that class.
Pagano redshirted as a freshman in 2013 and he played very little in 2014 while the Tigers fought their way back from a 1-2 start to finish up 10-3.
2015 was an incredible season for Clemson winning 15 games in a row before losing a heartbreaker by 5 points to Alabama in the championship game. Pagano was in the rotation of extremely talented Defensive Tackles made up of Carlos Watkins, Christian Wilkins, Roderick Byers and Scott Pagano split playing time with starters Watkins and Wilkins getting the majority snaps.
Pagano was a good player as a redshirt sophomore, but true freshman Christian Wilkins came in and passed him for playing time.
Last season’s national title year for Clemson and the Tigers brought in another top Defensive Tackle in 5 star Dexter Lawrence. Christian Wilkins was a great freshman Defensive Tackle in 2015, but Lawrence is on almost another level altogether. Carlos Watkins was back and because of injuries at Defensive End, the Clemson coaches moved the extremely athletic Wilkins outside and into the starter’s position out there.
The now junior Scott Pagano and sophomore Albert Huggins were the new rotation for the 2016 season. Pagano finished the season with 20 total tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss and 2 Quarterback sacks.
Scott Pagano graduated from Clemson in December a few weeks before the national championship game and victory over Alabama. He announced in the Spring that he was going to transfer from Clemson and suddenly, Pagano was one of the more popular people in America. Most colleges wanted to bring him in to help their program.
After eliminating everyone but Oregon and Oklahoma, Pagano decided on Oregon. Wise decision if based on playing time alone because Oregon has had bad defense for quite a while and Pagano can help plug up the middle with his 6-3, 295 bulk.
The national champions, Clemson, lost one game last season and that was a shocker to the Pittsburgh Panthers. Besides injuring the feelings of the Clemson program, Pagano also injured his foot causing
him to miss some playing time.
The Oregon medical staff decided that his foot needed surgery. Scott Pagano is progressing ahead of schedule according to his, and Oregon’s, new head coach Willie Taggart. It’s not known yet whether Pagano will be out there in the Duck’s first game against Southern Utah on September 2nd.
Pagano is a good player, he just happened to be in a program that was loaded at his position. Oregon started over and after firing their old head coach Mark Helfrich, they brought in Willie Taggart from South Florida. The Ducks generally like to hire from within, but they decided on a new beginning by hiring Taggart.
Like Oregon, Scott Pagano decided on a new direction. Clemson finished the 2016 season with the 8th best total defense in the nation. Oregon finished 126th in the nation with only Arizona State and Texas Tech behind them. The hiring of Taggart who hired Jim Leavitt away from Colorado as his Defensive Coordinator shows they are finally serious about fielding a defense. In 2 seasons, Leavitt turned the Colorado defense completely around.
Helping Leavitt with his defense will be graduate transfer Scott Pagano at Defensive Tackle. I’ll be pulling for him.