Spencer Paysinger, now a senior at Oregon, has proven to be a great leader and a great person in his fourth year as a D-1 Linebacker.
With the Ducks losing many veterans from the last couple of years: (Patrick Chung, TJ Ward, Dennis Dixon, Jonathan Stewart, etc.), players such as Casey Matthews, Darron Thomas, Kenny Rowe, and now Paysinger have to take over as not only seniors but as leaders.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Spencer a little bit through a short interview, and he mentioned that the hardest part about being a senior was filling the void of the former veterans, and when is it not?
Every team has to deal with this very reality, the reality that no player can stay in college forever. That is why Spencer and Casey have to really take control of the defensive end as the new veteran leaders.
The great advantage that Spencer and Casey have over other veteran leaders across the country is the type of relationship the two players have. Both players have been great friends throughout their respective stays at Oregon.
I asked Spencer if he had talked with Casey about taking over as seniors. He told me that they had and that they were working on it together. You know what they say, two is better than one.
Another question I had asked Spencer was, "In your mind, do you think you have done well mentoring the young prospects so far, whether it be in practice or outside of it?"
What he told me honestly gave me a bit of a surprise.
"You know, we actually learn off each other, it's like a give-and-take type relationship. I try to give as much as I can to these young players, but that does not mean I don't learn from them, I also try and learn as much as I can from them."
It seemed obvious to me that Spencer had really figured out what it meant to be a true veteran leader, and if he can keep progressing as a leader, there's no doubt in my mind that he will be able to fill that infamous void that every team strives to fix.
The last question that I had asked Spencer was, "Where do you see yourself after college ball? Possibly the NFL?"
Spencer answered, "If the opportunity comes, of course I will, but I have been doing a lot of things around the community, so I could see myself doing something other than playing ball."
Spencer Paysinger: veteran linebacker, great teammate, and a humble person, looking to football as a fall-back.
It seems to me that Spencer has his life planned ahead for himself, but he hasn't forgotten his current first priority, which is to help lead this 2010-2011 Ducks team to success. It will be very exciting to see how Spencer will progress during the season not only as a player but as a man.