Pinch me, I must dreaming! Is Kick-Off really 10 days away???! I’m so excited, but as the season approaches, and “Duck Talk” in Eugene has ramped up, I have to admit I’m starting to become a little nervous! The Ducks have been exceptionally good the past few years, and I think we all know we’ve been a little…OK WAY spoiled! I think we all assume the Ducks have what it takes to keep things rolling, but there is a little voice reminding us that there are a lot of unknowns this year! There are a lot of changes (ie: new quarterback and new starting running backs) that we are all a little bit anxious to see play out! I was especially reminded of this yesterday when I found the #21 Lamichael James Duck jersey on sale for 14.99! I was Flabbergasted! I mean, how could anyone sell #21 at 60% off?!?
So OK, We’ve got changes. As nervous as I am though, I think some of these changes are good. As I’ve discussed before, the past two years have been a little rough for those (like me) who love the passing game. Our receivers have been young and “growing”. This usually means there are a lot of dropped passes, etc. This year though, I have a feeling this is all about to change! Like I have said before, the Ducks have been busy recruiting some amazing talent at WR. For those of you that have been reading, you probably know I had my eye on one these talented players, Tacoi Sumler. Well, if you haven’t heard already, he’s left Oregon because he wasn’t expected to get much playing time this year. At first, I was really bummed about this because I was excited to see him play, but then I realized this news could be a really good clue into what’s going on in WR land! If this highly touted recruit, who is faster than LMJ, wasn’t even going to make the travel squad, what does this say about the guys ahead of him?? Just sayin’.
Now on to the names you’ll need to know…
I had planned on writing this before after a planned interview with one of these guys, but unfortunately Chip Kelly has ordered the players not to talk to the Media until next week. I wanted to be mad, but I guess it goes with the territory when you are a top 5 team in the country!
#1 Josh Huff, Junior, Major: Undeclared.
This is the “veteran” of the crew. He was highly recruited out of Texas and played both QB and WR in high school. He also ran track. No one questions whether or not Huff will start- He’s fast, experienced and a good play-maker. But, he’s had some issues off the field. Last spring, Huff was pulled over for Speeding and arrested for DUII (sound familiar?). He’s reportedly spent the summer dealing with that issue and has pleaded “not guilty”. His trial has been set for several months out, which will apparently allow him to play this season. He says he’s learned from the situation and is moving on. There is some indication he’s matured, but I’m not totally convinced since he was again cited for Speeding this summer- not a huge deal, but…
Off the field issues or not, the Ducks need Huff, and his experience. Maybe he should get a bike 🙂
#16, Daryle Hawkins, Junior, Major: Undeclared
I’ve talked about Hawkins before, but to recap…
Hawkins was recruited as QB a couple of years ago, but given the depth (number of QB’s) he was officially moved to receiver last season. He played both QB and WR in high school so he was able to transition smoothly. He also ran track in High School and we all know how much the Ducks love to have track stars as receivers! Last year, Hawkins saw a lot of playing time, but had some issues catching the ball. In the Spring Game however, I could really see a lot of improvement. He was more consistent and seemed more confident. I have no doubt he will be a go-to-guy this season.
#10 Rahsaan Vaughn, Senior, Major: Undeclared.
Last but definitely not least, Rahsaan Vaughn is the one I’ll be watching on September 1st. He is the only senior in this highlighted group, but hasn’t played all four years for the Ducks. He is from California and ended up playing at San Mateo Junior College. He was the top receiver there and ended up being the top Junior College receiver in the country- thus being recruited by the Duck. Since playing for the Ducks, he’s had some shining moments but admits he struggled with Oregon’s fast paced (no-huddle) playing style. He apparently had some minor injuries, but says he’s recovered and adjusted to Oregon’s pace. In my opinion, Vaughn will be one of this year’s stars! As soon as the “media ban” is lifted, we hope to snag a one- on- one with this guy!
There you have it Ladies-Receiver Boot Camp! No doubt, this is just a sneak peek at only three of Oregon’s WR finest, but I wouldn’t want to overload you right before Kick-Off!
T- 10 days! Go Ducks
Ps. Did anyone see my Debut on the PAC 12 network? I’m practically famous now 🙂