Fresh faces in Eugene this season
Chip Kelly is a head coach who seems to always get the best out of his roster.
With a top-25 recruiting class coming to the Oregon Ducks next season, expect a few names to standout right away as the Ducks make a push for their fourth straight BCS appearance in 2012.
5) DeForest Buckner
If you like defensive end Dion Jordan’s game, you’re going to love seeing DeForest Buckner in green and yellow for the next four years. For quite some time now, Oregon has been known for its speed and not for its size. At 6’7”, Buckner just might have both.
Having recorded 73 tackles in 2011, Buckner can make an impact at the defensive end position. At just 230 pounds, however, the guy is going to need to bulk up in order to live up to his incredible size.
If he is able to learn behind Dion Jordan next season, Buckner could be a big name on the Oregon line before his time with the Ducks is over.
4) Evan Baylis
Tight end is going to be unexpectedly shallow heading into the 2012 season. We all knew that David Paulson was gone after last year, but former 5-star recruit, Curtis White, has been forced to leave the program because of an injury-plagued start to his college career.
Incoming freshman, Evan Baylis, will now have an opportunity to come in and make a name for himself early. At 6’5”, 220 pounds, Baylis is a player who can make an impact catching the ball or blocking for his teammates.
While nobody will describe his game as agile, he has the ability to fight for extra yards, and with an opportunity to prove himself right away, he could become the next option behind Colt Lyerla next season.
3) Dwayne Stanford II
The Oregon Ducks have lost Lavasier Tuinei, but if Dwayne Stanford II can find his way onto the field as a freshman, he could help fans forget about the 6’5” receiver next season. Depending on where you look, Stanford is listed anywhere from 6’3” to 6’5” and can be a threat to make a play in both deep-ball and jump-ball situations.
Oregon’s receivers are expected to block on the screen plays and bubble routes, and for that reason he’ll need to hit the weight room.
His skills, however, are ready for the collegiate level, as he pictures himself becoming a faster version of Lavasier Tuinei moving forward.
2) Byron Marshall
With the departure of LaMichael James and the transfer of Tra Carson, the Ducks find themselves shallow at the running back position heading into the 2012 season. Byron Marshall may be just a freshman, but he expects to get on the field and show what he can do right away.
Whether or not he can have the same impact as DeAnthony Thomas did in his freshman year is debatable; but with Marshall playing an all-purpose style next season, the 5’10”, 195-pound back is going to have opportunities to utilize both his speed and strength in a number of different spots within the Oregon system.
1) Arik Armstead
As the biggest pickup of the 2012 Oregon Ducks’ recruiting class, Arik Armstead should have a major impact as soon as he hits the field next season.
Although the 6’7”, 280-pound freshman has been considered the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, he is also looked at as a top-caliber defensive lineman, which is where he’ll play in Oregon’s system.
Oregon hasn’t had a Nick Fairley-like player on the line since Haloti Ngata, and the team is hoping that Armstead can have the same kind of impact next season.