Like many Duck fans, Semper Fidelis All-American offensive lineman and Oregon commit Shane Lemieux was devastated by the national championship loss to Ohio State.

But while many fans remember Ezekiel Elliott’s 246-yard, four-touchdown performance, the long-time Duck commit’s most vivid memory comes from an entirely different portion of the game.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota rolled out to avoid pressure and released a pass just before Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa leveled the Heisman Trophy winner, putting his full weight on the shoulder of the Ducks’ most prized player.

The play didn’t draw a penalty, but was controversial nonetheless, and caused a bit of a skirmish shortly thereafter as Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher took issue with the hit and defended his quarterback.

“After Mariota got sacked by Bosa, that irritated me,” Lemieux said. “I watched Jake Fisher almost get in a fight with him and I loved that.”

For the 6-foot-6, 310-pound lineman, the play also brought back the first lesson he learned from Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, his soon-to-be position coach.

“The first thing Greatwood ever said to me in my whole entire recruitment was, ‘We’re looking for guys that want to add to the program, not just be a part of it.’ After that national championship loss, I felt upset,” Lemieux said. “I’m really eager to get in there with the guys and get it going again. I feel like we are going to have a great next four or five years.”

During the Washington product’s recruitment, Greatwood’s lessons were a significant part of his decision to commit to the Ducks. In fact, it was the 27-year Oregon coaching veteran that lured Lemieux to Eugene.

“That was pretty much 100 percent of my recruitment. Through all of the recruiting, I was just looking for a solid coach that was going to stay there my entire career,” he said. “(Greatwood) fit the mold. He reminds me a lot of my dad, actually. I know that’s weird. I wanted a coach that was going to push me, get me to the next level.”

The other personality that left an impression was Mariota, who first introduced himself to the starstruck recruit in March.

During a return trip to Eugene for the game against Colorado, Mariota sought out the future Oregon lineman immediately following the game.

“He came up to me, gave me a hug and said, ‘Hey man. Welcome to the family,’ ” Lemieux remembered. “He’s a leader, but he leads by example.”

The towering recruit has become a leader in his own right, recently participating in the Semper Fidelis All-American Game.

Although his team lost, the offensive tackle moved to guard for the week, and spent several days displaying his abilities against some of the top recruits in the country.

“It was just really cool going after good competition,” he said. “I tried to gauge my level based on the skills of the other guys that were there.” 

The week of practices was especially beneficial for Lemieux, as the offense’s gameplan provided a feel for what he’d experience at the next level in Eugene.

“We ran a lot of up-tempo stuff and inside zones at the Semper Fi game,” he said. “Just practicing for a week, we had to practice as a team and if one person missed their block, it messed everything up. It’s just working as one unit against the defense.”

Lemieux, who holds offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Cal, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, South Carolina and others, still isn’t the most heavily recruited Oregon pledge, but few incoming players have a better grasp of what is expected out of the Ducks’ next wave of talent.

“Oregon definitely has a lot of achievements so far, but I want to add to those achievements,” he said. “I want to add to the program, and have my name in there when they are winning more Rose Bowls and winning a national championship. I want to be a part of something bigger – really big.”

No. 9 OL Calvin Throckmorton

No. 10 DB James “P.J.” Locke

For the next 10 business days, The Oregonian will take a look at the top 10 Oregon Ducks football recruits in the class of 2015. Tomorrow: No. 7.

— Andrew Nemec | @AndrewNemec  

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