Oregon defensive tackle Wade Keliikipi, a senior from Waianae High School (Waianae, Hawaii), enters his fifth season in the Oregon program.
Few players are as daunting and grab a bigger presence on the football field than the 6’3″ 295 lbs Keliikipi. He’s the fifth heaviest Duck on the active roster (excluding freshman) and is one of the strongest defensive linemen. As a redshirt sophomore in 2011, Keliikipi had the second-best bench press max among defensive linemen with a weight of 365 lbs.
Keliikipi was ranked as one of the top Hawaii DT prospects of the 2009 class and was listed as the No. 69 overall player at his position by Scout. Rivals and Scout both ranked Keliikipi as a 2-star prospect. Keliikipi received scholarship offers from Oregon and Hawaii before signing with the Ducks.
He joined the Ducks in 2009, redshirting his freshman season and working on the scout/practice team. Oregon’s loaded d-line included stars Kenny Rowe, Blake Ferras, Brandon Bair and Will Tukuafu.
In 2010, Keliikipi played in all 13 games including the 2011 BCS National Championship Game against Auburn when he contributed one unassisted tackle. He finished the season with 18 tackles (10 unassisted, eight assisted) and recorded at least one tackle in 11 different games. Keliikipi was primarily used as a second-string rotational player during the season, playing the most and being one of the biggest contributors of any non-starter on the defensive line.
In 2011, Keliikipi broke on to the season as a starter tacking over the left defensive tackle opening by Zac Clark. Teammate Ricky Heimuli, now known as Ricky Havili-Heimuli, started the first three games of the season but Keliikipi took over the starting job for the final 11. Keliikipi recorded 25 tackles (10 unassisted, 15 assisted) and 1.5 tackles for loss during the year. He also had the biggest performance of his career to that point with a career-high five tackles in a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin.
In 2012, Keliikipi, like many Oregon linemen last season, battled the injury bug and only appeared in 10 of the Ducks’ 13 games. Havili-Heimuli took over for Keliikipi’s nose tackle position when the Hawaiian starter went down. But despite missing a quarter of the season, Keliikipi still recorded 20 tackles (10 unassisted, 10 assisted), 4.0 tackles for loss for 15 yards and 2.0 sacks for 11 yards. He finished tied for fourth on the team in sacks.
Keliikipi will start at nose tackle again and, barring injury, could very well put up all-conference numbers. CBS Sports has Keliikipi listed as the No. 15 DT for the 2014 NFL Draft class and the third highest ranked Pac-12 player at the position.Advertise your business on Eugene Daily News!