It is very difficult to predict how many of the 2013 recruits will start as freshmen for the Oregon football team. That's because the Ducks were a young team absolutely loaded with talent prior to national signing day.
About the only areas of need for Oregon were at offensive line and linebacker—two areas where they helped themselves with this recruiting class. And, although head coach Mark Helfrich didn't identify kicking as an area of need in his NSD press conference, most Duck fans would put it at the top of the "need" list.
Helfrich also pointed out that Oregon does not make promises of immediate playing time during the recruiting process. But the Ducks have always been a meritocracy; practice smart, play well, fulfill your responsibilities to the team and you will have a chance to work your way into the starting lineup.
Here are some of the newbies that have a chance to do that in 2013.
Probably the single biggest area of need for the Ducks is at offensive line. That's the bad news.
The good news is that Oregon inked five quality offensive linemen in this 2013 class. Expect 4-star Evan Voeller and 4-star Cameron Hunt to work their way into the lineup at some point in the season, perhaps even from the get-go.
Voeller will play at guard, and will likely compete with left guard Hamani Stevens for former Duck Kyle Long's spot at left guard. According to Helfrich, Voeller "plays urgently and physically, and has gotten a ton better and bigger as his high school career went on."
According to Scout.com, Hunt ended up the No. 3 OL in the west. His scouting report says that there was never a question about his skill level, toughness or ability on the field. Scout.com also says that Hunt saw his stock soar over last summer at Nike camps, and that he moves well and is stronger than he looks.
I'm not sure if Hunt will end up at guard or tackle, but he could compete with Nick Cody for former Duck Ryan Clanton's right guard position. The starting tackle positions should belong to Tyler Johnstone (left) and Jake Fisher (right), but if Voeller and Hunt can play guard, they have a good shot at breaking into the starting lineup.
In his press conference, Mark Helfrich said the Ducks would let both Robinson twins pick their position, and that they both had the ability to flourish in several different roles. He added that both twins would contribute immediately on special teams on both sides of the ball.
Tyrell is most comfortable at linebacker or defensive back, although he's also played receiver. If he picks linebacker—and that would be the smart pick, kid, if you want to play in 2013—expect to see Robinson challenge for former Duck Michael Clay's or former Duck Kiko Alonso's linebacking positions.
Scout.com says Robinson is an instinctive outside linebacker who is quick off the edge rushing the passer. Scout.com also says that the sky is the limit for Robinson—who also loves to play basketball—if he focuses on football.
Mark Helfrich, calm and cool as he is, gushed over Tyree Robinson at his press conference. Helfrich said that 6'4" Tyree, who is listed as one pound lighter than twin Tyrell, who is also 6'4", is a "very dynamic athlete who can play a ton of places."
According to Scout.com, 4-star Tyree can play receiver, corner or safety at the collegiate level. Honestly, it's hard to see Robinson breaking into the starting lineup at any of these three positions as a freshman, but after listening to Helfrich rave about this kid, you have to believe that he intends to find a place for him and soon.
I like his chances best at the wide receiver position opposite Josh Huff. But you might also see him backing up Erick Dargan at free safety and/or Brian Jackson at strong safety.
All I can tell you now is you'd better learn Tyree's number in fall camp, memorize it and look for it in the opening game.
The best thing Mark Helfrich said in his entire press conference was that kicker Matt Wogan was captain of his high school football team.
A kicker. Captain of his team. What on earth is the world coming to?
In other music to your ears, Helfrich said that Wogan "is a touch-back machine, and just a very productive, very efficient kicker. He's an athlete who's a kicker."
Can Matt Wogan be on the next plane to Eugene, please?
Junior college transfer linebacker Joe Walker is the most likely player in the 2013 class to play immediately.
Walker is from Los Angeles Harbor Community College, he's ready to play, and he could help stem the loss of Kiko Alonso, Michael Clay and Dion Jordan. He is 6'3" and 230 pounds, and Scout.com lists him as middle linebacker—Alonso's old position.
Walker is smart, has good speed and has worked hard on his strength and conditioning. Eligibility-wise, he will have four years to play three.
Obviously, 4-star Torrodney Prevot was a tremendous steal from USC at the last minute, and will be a linebacker of the future for the Ducks. But the word on Prevot is that he needs to add some muscle and size this year.
Look for Walker early on.
If you haven't seen Tyner play yet, you are in for a major treat come fall. He is just amazingly fast, and looks like he's at full speed the second the play starts. Tyner is also a big, strong kid who is hard to bring down. He is an amazing combination of speed and power, and if he proves to be durable and stays healthy, he could be the best ever.
However, I have one teensy little problem here. Sophomore RB Byron Marshall is really good, folks. He filled in admirably for superstar Kenjon Barner last year, and in a just and fair world, it should be his position until someone knocks him off the RB throne.
But unfortunately for Marshall, the one person who can probably do that will be in town soon.
Kay Jennings is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.