Photos: Oregon Ducks lead 42-21 at halftime against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds

Oregon defensive lineman Jordon Scott (34) chases a quarterback for the Thunderbirds. Oregon Ducks start their season playing against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on September 2, 2017. (Phillip Quinn/Emerald)

Jordon Scott is, quite literally, front and center in everything that the Oregon defense does.

The junior nose tackle has been one of the best defensive players on the team since he stepped on the field as an 18-year-old freshman. He was voted by his teammates as Freshman of the Year in 2017, and was honored by 247Sports as a True Freshman All-American. For Scott, growing up fast is nothing new, in life and in football.

“Perseverance. Hard work,” Scott said about his upbringing in Largo, Florida. “Nothing is ever given to you. It’s the real world. There’s nothing to shield you from what’s really going on down there.”

Scott believes what he learned as a kid growing up in the Tampa Bay area has allowed him to thrive on the football field, especially being thrust into the spotlight as a freshman. A lot of young players would shy away from that opportunity, but Scott took it in stride.

“Coming in as a freshman and starting, it propels you instantly into a leadership role that you don’t even notice,” Scott said. “It’s transformed into me being the guy that people ask questions to. It’s just normal for me now. There’s nothing that I do now that I didn’t do two years ago.”

Now, as a junior and the best player on a rotating defensive line, Scott recognizes the importance of his stabilizing presence. 

“Make sure I do everything I’m supposed to do on and off the field,” Scott said of his focus for 2019. “Take care of my body. Increase my pass-rush productivity. If all that’s happening, then the defense should be playing well. If the defense is playing well, the team should be winning.”

While Scott certainly has NFL aspirations after he moves on from the University of Oregon, he’s taken on other interests during his time in Eugene and wants to expand upon those as well, regardless of the future of his football career. 

Over the summer, he visited France and took painting lessons with his teammate and fellow former true-freshman starter Thomas Graham Jr. He’s discovered the natural beauty of the state of Oregon, documenting his travels with the hashtag #Exploregon. He developed an interest in the food industry, and also admires sports media personalities, hoping to follow in their footsteps one day.

“Shannon Sharpe, Stephen A. Smith, people like that have inspired me,” Scott said. “I like watching those shows and that really inspired me to get into sports media. But I do want to open a restaurant chain as well.”

All these different interests represent his unrelenting ambition — the very same trait that has allowed him to become one of the best defensive players in the Pac-12. For Scott, it’s all one in the same.

“I’m the same person on and off the field,” he said. “I’m a competitor at everything I do, and that pretty much who I am.”

Follow Brady on Twitter @BradyLim619

Brady Lim is a sports reporter, currently covering the beat for Ducks football and the Eugene Emeralds. Brady is originally from San Diego, California and is a senior at the University of Oregon.