Ducks

DJ Johnson has been ‘a pleasant surprise’ in the Oregon tight end room

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One of former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert’s favorite targets last season was tight end Jacob Breeland. The two connected on six touchdowns through the first six games before Breeland missed the final eight games of the season due to injury. 

Now in 2020, there is a new quarterback and new offensive coordinator, but the tight end position will remain heavily involved and that’s something the Oregon Ducks can take to the bank.

Here’s what Oregon head football coach Mario Cristobal had to say on the tight end room after day one of training camp back on October 9:

“The nice thing about it, we have a lot of personnel groupings in this system and we have a lot of sets involving multiple tight ends… DJ [Johnson], he had gotten injured in the summer. He’s almost full go now… He’s another big body that can go. You mentioned a lot of guys there that can have, I would say, different skill sets, but same mentality and they can do everything required of them at the position in the system. I’m excited about the depth. These guys provide a lot of depth and a lot of playmaking ability, at a position which obviously, they’re specializing in, plus special teams wise. You want to have six, seven, eight bodies that are 6’4” to 6’6”, that weigh 230 to 270 because they’re on your cover teams, on your return teams…

These guys do a lot of things and serve a lot of roles, so they’re all going to get action and they’re all attacking this the right way.

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal

A glimpse at the roster:

  • Cam McCormick: Senior; 6’5”, 251 pounds
  • Hunter Kampmoyer: Senior; 6’4”, 240 pounds
  • DJ Johnson: Junior; 6’5”, 258 pounds
  • Spencer Webb: Sophomore; 6’6”, 240 pounds
  • Patrick Herbert: Redshirt-freshman; 6’5”, 244 pounds
  • Tyler Nanny: Redshirt-freshman; 6’8”, 243 pounds
  • Cooper Shults: Freshman; 6’6” 229 pounds

A few notes:

 

McCormick returns after playing just one game in 2018 after sustaining two season-ending injuries in 2018 and 2019. Johnson played tight end in high school, but last season he played in the final 13 games as defensive end where he recorded 14 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. Webb is coming off a stellar redshirt freshman campaign after recording 18 catches for 209 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. 

Plus, who could forget this incredible play in the end zone against Auburn in week one:

On Thursday, Special Teams Coordinator and Tight End Coach Bobby Williams was particularly fond of one tight end who has caught his eye after the first week of camp: “DJ [Johnson] has been a pleasant surprise. He played tight end in high school and was a pretty good tight end. So, having him come over and we had a chance to see him in the spring for a few practices we had. 

So far in fall camp, he’s been a pleasant surprise.

Bobby Williams

With so much talent and depth, it sounds like first-year Oregon Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead has something up his sleeves.

“From a depth standpoint, we’re pretty solid at the position as well as being a part of this new system and seeing how the tight end is utilized. Guys are really excited about it.

“He’s [Moorhead] done a lot as far as bringing a brand new system to us and what’s been amazing is that a lot of these players, we’ve run in the past. You just call it something different now. But the tight end is heavily involved both in the 11 and 12 personnel and some three tight end sets. 

The fact that we have a number of quality tight ends in the program, can give us the ability to utilize a number of different personnel groupings. 

Bobby Williams

A good problem to have, right?

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