Perhaps the most impressive player during summer camp in Eugene, Bralon Addison is prepared for the Oregon Ducks to take on Arkansas State in their season opener.
At 5’10” and 185 pounds, Addison reminds Oregon writer Rob Moseley of a former favorite target of Joey Harrington, Keenan Howry. Coming into the 2012 season, many may hope that Addison becomes a favorite target of newly-announced QB Marcus Mariota.
Moseley remarks that Addison is “fearless, though not huge. Elusive, though not blazing.”
The versatile athlete runs a 4.49 40-yard dash and is a force to be reckoned with in the open field because of his toughness and “escapability” from the tackler. As he comes into Eugene, he is prepared for the next level after perhaps the most impressive summer camp on the Oregon Ducks roster.
“Addison is a guy who has stuck out for sure, just as a playmaker type guy in the mold of De’Anthony,” said offensive coordinart Mark Helfrich on Addison's performance during summer training camp. “We’re trying to move him around. He’s not at his level yet, but he certainly has the capability.”
His training camp has certainly shown his skillset so far. On August 21, Addison returned a punt for a touchdown much to the delight of his team. On the last day of camp, Addison impressed with a sideline catch-and-run for a deep run. He has since received praise from QBs Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota, was singled out by defensive back Terrence Mitchell for his stellar play and has received high compliments from fellow Houston receiver Josh Huff, who calls Addison his little brother.
“He’s a smart young man,” Huff said of Addison. “He’s able to learn things a lot faster than others can. And he takes what he learns from the film study onto the field. He was very dedicated from the moment he got here.”
Addison wasn’t always going to be on the Oregon Ducks. The Texas A&M verbal commit was prepared to play for his home state Aggies before his admiration for head coach Chip Kelly and the facilities of the University of Oregon moved him across the country and into the blur offense of the Ducks. Addison has also expressed an interest in the broadcast sports journalism program offered by the school.
“When looking to fill out their recruiting classes, the Ducks look for athletes first. A quick look at the current roster reveals numerous examples of this,” said ESPN writer Brandon P. Oliver. “Now Addison seems primed for a breakout season as a freshman after drawing praise throughout fall camp for his game-breaking ability at receiver and as a returner. It extends beyond the skill positions, as well.”
It should be no surprise that Oregon receiver coach Scott Frost noticed him when he and Houston-area friend Chance Allen impressed in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Because the Oregon Ducks have a wide-open offense, Oregon fans should very much expect to see Addison on the field this season.
“He’s returning kicks, returning punts, taking snaps in the backfield, snaps at receiver—we’re using him much like De’Anthony,” said Chip Kelly.
The idea of playing the “taser” position under Chip Kelly was part of what drove Addison to the program to begin with.
“Coach Chip Kelly is creative and that is something that I like. Basically he said that he wants to use me in many ways to get the ball in my hands, much like they do with DeAnthony Thomas,” Addison told Ahmard Vital on Scout.com. “I may even get in the backfield and play some quarterback, in like a Wildcat package. Many guys used like that might not be able to throw that well. The coaches like that I can throw.”
Even at this point in his young career, Addison is used to reaching extreme levels of success once on the field. The true freshman athlete played receiver in high school before converting to quarterback. By the time he graduated from Hightower High in Houston, he had accumulated 50 TD’s and 1,300 yards with only six interceptions.
With only one other major recruit on the roster, Addison took Hightower to the Texas State Championship.
“That was when Bralon really was at his best,” said Fort Bend Hightower coach Barry Abercrombie. “With the game on the line, you wanted the ball in his hands. And most of the time he made the play.”
Aside from his natural athletic talent, Addison is well-liked and regarded as an exceptional character guy learned as a leader at the quarterback position in high school.
“He had really good support from both sides,” Abercrombie said. “Both his mom and dad, they knew he was a good player, but they’d do their best to keep him humble and hold him accountable.”
His current coaches echo those same admirable sentiments.
“He’s not perfect, by any stretch,” Helfrich said. “And he knows that, and he’s working at it. All those young receivers are very encouraging that way. They want to be great, and the scale is tipping that direction. They know what they have to do and how to do it.”
Addison comes in with high expectations. As the second-highest recruit for the Oregon Ducks' 2012 class behind only Arik Armstead (No. 2 overall player in Class of 2012), he is also the No. 14 WR in the 2012 class (No. 90 overall player in Class of 2012), according to Scout.com.
With the departure of Lavasier Tuinei (NFL), Justin Hoffman (retirement) and Tacoi Sumler (transfer), Josh Huff and Rashaan Vaughn are the two likely starters for the Oregon Ducks. Other likely candidates to receive a starting job for the Oregon Ducks include B.J. Kelley (red-shirt freshman) and Devon Blackmon (red-shirt freshman).
However, there are a total of 15 WRs on the Oregon roster, also including: Eric Dungy (sophomore, son of Tony Dungy), Keanan Lowe (sophomore), Daryle Hawkins (junior), Will Murphy (senior), Chance Allen (true freshman) and Dwayne Stanford (true freshman).
Of course, the hype is there. Bleacher Report writer Nathan Lowery lists Addison as No. 4 on “Ducks Who Will Break Out in 2012,” and it seems as if every writer and fan on Twitter can’t stop talking about Addison.
When the Oregon Ducks' official depth chart was released on Friday, it was no surprise to see Bralon Addison listed. Writers like Rob Moseley had already called the odds of Addison receiving playing time a “foregone conclusion” for the upcoming season. And as Brandon P. Oliver explained, “his knowledge of the game and his quick, slashing style will make it tough to keep him on the sidelines in 2012.”
Meanwhile, it seems to be a fair assumption to believe that Bralon Addison will join the ranks of Josh Huff, Darron Thomas and LaMichael James as elite Oregon offensive threats from the state of Texas.
Bryan Kalbrosky is a student of Journalism at the University of Oregon and writes as a Featured Columnist for the Oregon Ducks football team on Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow him on Twitter to see more of his work.