Ducks

Ducks: Troy Franklin, Dont'e Thornton & Kris Hutson show they belong

Ducks

If you had just one takeaway from the 2021 Oregon Ducks Spring Game, it's that the program is loaded with more talent than any other year in recent memory.

That's what the recruiting prowess of head coach Mario Cristobal has brought to Eugene.

However, no position group seemed to catch the eye of Ducks fans more than the wide receivers, specifically the three true freshmen Troy Franklin, Dont'e Thornton, and Kris Hutson. 

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The three freshmen combined for 10 catches, 231 yards, and two touchdowns.

Hutson, the talk of 2020 fall camp, never had the breakout game anticipated from the noise last season, but his talent was on full display during the Spring Game Saturday. 

"Kris Hutson made some really big plays, made some people miss," explained Mario Cristobal. 

Although, fans will likely come away impressed by the two true freshmen most of all.

On Jay Butterfield's first pass of the game, he connected with Thornton for a bomb down the right sideline. Later in the game, Franklin nearly scored a touchdown on a deep ball from Anthony Brown.

Franklin was one yard away from having all three receivers get into the endzone. 

"The new arrivals? Both Dont'e and Troy, yeah they stood out because they’re big, long, fast guys that can stretch the field," said Cristobal.

"If they get the ball in their hands, they can make people miss and make ‘em pay so I thought those guys did really well."

 

To make matters more impressive, Franklin and Thornton should be preparing for their senior proms right now rather than burning scholarship cornerbacks deep. 

"They're terrific," gushed Hutson of the four-star duo. 

"They're definitely talented guys," added Mycah Pittman. "They came in and they're advanced. They're willing to learn."

Pittman added that a lot of kids struggle with accepting they have more to learn once getting to college, but instead both Franklin and Thornton have been soaking up all the knowledge they can from Oregon WR coach Bryan McClendon. 

"I can take them under my wing really easily and they're willing to learn," he concluded.

After the game, Kris Hutson said we "haven't seen anything yet" and "this is just the beginning for this receiver group," echoing what Johnny Johnson III told media members weeks ago about the talent inside his position group.

"Our saying as a group is No Limit,"  the senior explained. "We break that down every day so the sky's really the limit for us.

"I think we can be one of those groups that go down in history."

Additionally, quarterback Anthony Brown described his freshman pass-catchers with a single word.

"Explosive."

Based on their performances Saturday, we agree. 

However, Cristobal did not want all the attention to go to the freshman as he felt other players stood out, too.

"I think it's important to point out guys who have been here and are finally getting their chance like Isaiah Crocker, I thought [he] did a really good job [and] Josh Delgado did a really good job," said the Ducks head coach.