Cam McCormick has played more than one football game just once in the past four seasons.
The Oregon tight end earned a starting spot entering last season when he caught one pass in the opener against Bowling Green before suffering a broken bone in his left leg that ended his sophomore year.
It was reminiscent of three years earlier when McCormick tore his anterior cruciate ligament in practice following the first game of his senior season at Summit High School in Bend.
“This was still hard, but easier due to the fact I had been through it before,” McCormick said. “I obviously know what to expect on the good days and bad days. It is definitely easier mentally, knowing how to prepare for each day and knowing that you are getting one step better to the end goal.”
McCormick returned to practice on a limited basis for the Ducks in December as they prepared for the Redbox Bowl, but was not cleared to play in Oregon’s 7-6 win over Michigan State.
He declared himself “full go” after Oregon’s seventh spring practice Thursday inside the Moshofsky Center.
“It is amazing,” McCormick said. “It feels great to be back out there with my teammates and competing. I am just working to better myself, be more physical and know the playbook more.”
McCormick said his leg feels stronger after surgery.
“I trust it way more than it was before,” he said. “I feel more comfortable because throughout the whole season I worked with certain movements and rehab so now it feels strong with everything I do. … It was a long process, but I was patient with it and took every day to get better and kept pushing.”
McCormick sat out a redshirt season in 2016 to continue rehabbing his knee injury from high school. He had six catches for 89 yards as a redshirt freshman before his sophomore season came to an early end.
“That was tough and disappointing after all the hard work I had put in,” McCormick said. “All I kept thinking about was that I will be back soon. … It was tough to watch, but I was supporting my guys fighting every Saturday.”
The 6-foot-5, 259-pound McCormick was with the first unit on offense during the early portion of practice Thursday as he once again finds himself in a crowded position.
Two-year starter Jacob Breeland and Ryan Bay are both seniors. Spencer Webb returns as a redshirt freshman while true freshman Patrick Herbert arrived early this week after graduating from Sheldon High School.
“We are getting deeper with the new guys we have,” McCormick said. “We all click well together so it is one big family in the tight end group.”