Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.
Updated: Information added regarding Rex Manu being done for the season.
No. 3: Freshman nose tackle Jordon Scott.
The legend of Jordon Scott is starting to take root and will surely explode the first time the 335-pound nose tackle rips past an offensive linemen to make a for loss or a sack at Autzen Stadium.
Scott should receive plenty of opportunities to do so after making it clear during spring drills that his combination of bulk, strength, speed and low pad level could combine to make him a force.
Scott, out of Largo, Fla., has had to shed some weight since his arrival last winter.
"Iʼm really proud of him," Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt said. "He came in about 358 lbs. and is down to about 330 pounds, in that area. Heʼs always been strong. Heʼs a very explosive guy and he has great character and he has great demeanor. And he has great confidence and knows what he wants. He knows what he wants to do in life, and those qualities are very, very important."
What's important for the Ducks is that they find someone, anyone, to hold up the middle of the defensive in Leavitt's 3-4 scheme.
Junior Rex Manu is out for the season leaing redshirt sophomore Gary Baker as the primarty candidate to start with Scott as the backup. Graduate transfer Scott Pagano, from Clemson, could also play the nose position.
But it's Scott who is the most intriguing. With his natural physical gifts, he has a chance to work his way into becoming an impact player - down the line.
Don't expect Scott to take the Pac-12 by storm next season. He likely won't be in physical condition enough to be the guy inside for most of a game. However, do expect Scott to be in the rotation, making plays, learning and working his way toward potentially becoming a special player down the line.
The working list
No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr.
No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.
No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott.
No. 4: Freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister.
No. 5: Sophomore tight end Jacob Breeland.
No. 6: Sophomore linebacker La'Mar Winston.
No. 7: Redshirt sophomore nose tackle Gary Baker.
No. 8: Wide receivers Ofodile, Lovette and McNeal.
No. 9: Safeties Brady Breeze and Billy Gibson.
No. 10: Several freshman must deliver.