Last season, many Ducks wondered where Patrick Herbert was.
The former four-star tight end and younger brother of Justin Herbert did not play in 2020 despite the tight end position being so depleted, freshman walkon Cooper Shultz saw playing time.
On Thursday, Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead gave an update on his development after missing all of 2020 with an undisclosed injury.
"Patrick was dinged up a little bit last year," explained Moorhead.
"I don't want to say he's starting over from scratch because that's not necessarily the case but I think you see him getting his feet back underneath him and kinda getting reaccustomed to the physicality and the speed of the game."
However, clearly, the Ducks play-caller sees why the 6'5", 241-pound Herbert was a four-star talent and the nation's No. 6 tight end in the 2019 recruiting class.
"I think Patrick obviously has all the physical tools. Big strong guy. Physical in the run game. Can get open and catch the ball well. Very natural hands. I think in his development, missing a little bit of time, he's just maximizing these opportunities to spring ball to improve his fundamentals and technique and knowledge of the offense and making plays.
"He's certainly a guy who possesses a lot of talent and he'll take full advantage of these fifteen opportunities," he concluded.
Herbert finds himself in a talented, but unproven, tight end room with returning starter DJ Johnson, returning contributor Spencer Webb, a seemingly always-injured Cam McCormick, and two four-star freshmen Moliki Matavao and Terrence Ferguson.
"It's a deep and talented room. Giving those guys a ton of reps and giving them a chance to improve as blockers and make plays in the passing game... We just got to continue to give them a ton of reps," said Moorhead.
As a true freshman, Herbert saw action in just one game, a blowout victory over Nevada in Week 2 of the 2019 college football season.
Coming out of high school, 247Sports National Recruiting Editor Brandon Huffman compared Herbert to Hayden Hurst and projected him as a day 2 NFL Draft pick.
"Herbert has great size with good length and plus athleticism," he wrote. "Has good, soft hands, with good body control and ability to adjust to throws and make the catch. Good blocker but can add some strength and technique, but will be utilized as a pass-catcher. Can flex out or play in-line. Should be able to become a major red zone target. Projects as a multi-year Power 5 starter and projects as a second-day NFL draft pick."
Ducks fans may finally get to see Patrick Herbert in action when Oregon plays its annual spring game at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, May 1st.