A paramount question mark surrounds Oregon’s wide receivers and tight ends entering the 2018 season: Who will dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate Justin Herbert sling the ball to?
The Ducks return proven pass-catchers, juniors Dillon Mitchell and Jacob Breeland but the position group lacks depth from an experience standpoint. Will there be newcomers who will make an impact? A dive into which Ducks are locks, contenders and longshots at the wide receiver/tight end position to start the 2018 Oregon football season.
Dillon Mitchell, junior, wide receiver: Mitchell led the Ducks with 42 receptions for 517 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Mitchell was Herbert’s go-to target last season and has the potential to become a consistent stretch-the-field receiver. Fun fact, he closed the season with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games to become the first Duck to do so since 2015.
Jacob Breeland, junior, tight end: Breeland led the team with 17.8 yards per reception last season. Breeland's five touchdowns tied for the most within the conference for tight ends. Fun fact, Breeland played wide receiver in high school.
Johnny Johnson III, sophomore, wide receiver: Johnson started 10 games last year as a true freshman and played in all 13 games. He finished his first season with 21 receptions for 299 yards and one touchdown. Last season he impressed with his down-field snags amid a flurry of defenders.
Brenden Schooler, junior, wide receiver: Schooler finished last season with 20 receptions for 274 yards and three touchdowns. He also earned UO’s special teams MVP with seven tackles. Schooler also has shown his versalitilty; starting at safety his freshman year and transitioning to receiver.
Jaylon Redd, sophomore, wide receiver: Redd saw action in 10 games last season, totaling 122 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. His 2017 stats don't jump off the page but his offseason improvements pose him for a breakout sophomore season. Redd totaled 110 all-purpose yards in Oregon’s spring game and earned a spot on ESPN’s top 25 breakout players from the spring session. Redd will play in the slot and return kicks.
Daewood Davis, redshirt freshman, wide receiver: Davis led all receivers with 75 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. He added 20 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame during Oregon’s winter workouts. Davis is known for his speed.
Demetri Burch, redshirt freshman, wide receiver: Burch began last season as a quarterback before moving to receiver mid-season. He earned high praise from then coach Willie Taggart for imitating Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate while on the scout team. It will be interesting to see how Oregon utilizes Burch’s quickness and ability to change direction.
Tabari Hines, redshirt senior, wide receiver: Hines can be utilized in the slot and out wide. Last season he led Wake Forest and tied for 13th in the ACC with 53 receptions. Cristobal announced that Hines may miss a few days of fall camp following a minor procedure on his knee but will be available for the season opener, and cleared full-go by game three.
Cam McCormick, sopomore, tight end: McCormick played in all 13 games last season, finishing with six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He proved himself as a good blocker in the run-game. He backed-up Breeland and started to see the field more in the second half of the season, which may indicate that he is ready for a regular role.
Isaah Crocker, freshman, wide receiver: Crocker comes to Eugene as a consensus four-star recruit and top 300 prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. Crocker was an excellent kick returner in high school and could work himself into the mix as a true freshman. Fun fact, Crocker almost committed to Oregon State.
Bryan Addison, freshman, wide receiver/defensive back: Addison enters Oregon fall camp as the nation's No. 3 athlete prospect in the class of 2018. Addison is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and likely to split time in practice between receiver and defensive back. Cristobal plans to make a firm decision on Addison’s position before fall camp ends. Cristobal has been complimentary of Addison’s “football IQ”.
J.J. Tucker, freshman, wide receiver: Tucker is a three-star wide receiver that racked up 611 receiving yards on 27 receptions with eight touchdowns his senior season at Narbonne HS in Harbor City, Calif.
Which Oregon receiver do you think will exceed expectations this season?