Oregon football is a forward-thinking operation, so it's only natural for fans to start projecting the futures of the 2013 crop of recruits.
But what about the group from 2012? Not Arik Armstead, Byron Marshall or the other handful of players that saw the field right away, but the guys who redshirted?
If you recall, the class was filled with talent, some of which didn't see any action this past season. Out of those players, who's most likely to take that next step and contribute on the field?
The Ducks currently have 16 redshirt freshmen. If we take quarterbacks Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie out of the equation (barring injury to Mariota, they probably won't get any meaningful snaps), that leaves us with 14 players who are hoping to make an impact after a year of learning from the sidelines.
Let's take a look at five redshirt freshmen who will reemerge into the spotlight and help out in 2013.
All photos via 247Sports.
Reggie Daniels is the perfect example of a guy who many fans have likely forgotten about but will find himself on everybody's minds by the time his career at Oregon is over.
Listed at 6'1" 200 pounds, Daniels has the size to play anywhere in the secondary.
It's been noted that the Ducks don't really lose any defensive backs from this past season (aside from Boyett, who played just one game), so it's going to be hard for young guys to break into the rotation.
But I think Daniels has the talent to do it. Terrence Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu have the corner spots locked up while Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson should hold down the safety spots.
After that, Isaac Dixon, Troy Hill, Erick Dargan and Dior Mathis should all see playing time. But Oregon graduates both Patterson and Jackson after next season, so you can bet that Helfrich will do everything he can to get young guns like Daniels some playing time.
I see Reggie Daniels potentially having a similar season to the one Dargan just had, where he gets more playing time throughout the year and ends up as a budding young star by the time the calendar turns to 2014.
Evan Baylis was an early enrollee of the 2012 recruiting class, and many who saw his tape thought he was a lock to play in year one.
That wasn't the case, but Baylis still has a great chance to make a major impact on the Ducks. He was recruited as a tight end but has the size to play a variety of positions on defense as well.
In the spring game, Baylis caught two passes for 27 yards, showing impressive power for someone running in the open field.
He's listed at 6'6", 244 pounds, and I still think he creates the biggest matchup advantage at tight end. However, if either Pharoah Brown or Koa Ka'ai emerges at tight end next season behind Lyerla, we could see Baylis on defense. He's just too talented to be sitting on the sidelines.
In any case, look for No. 32 to soon be making plays for the Ducks.
Oshay Dunmore is another member of the Oregon secondary who, like Daniels, has a great opportunity to show what he can do next season.
This was a profile The Oregonian did on Dunmore last year. He's 6'3", 210 pounds, which means Oregon could have a pretty tall secondary in the next couple years, and that's a good thing.
He's as versatile as they come and seems to have a great head on his shoulders. Dunmore is also one of those kids that you can count on to maximize his potential before his career is over. He's not going to fade away or fail to make any kind of impact.
Whether he begins to realize that potential sooner rather than later is the question, but you can count on hearing his name next season.
Given the inexperience at the linebacker position, redshirt freshman Brett Bafaro could begin to make a name for himself in 2013.
The 6'2", 225-pound Hillsboro, Ore., native played both ways in high school and, like most Oregon football players, has serious athleticism.
The Ducks have a lot of linebackers who've seen a few minutes here and there, but after Boskeo Lokombo and Tyson Coleman, nobody has really been on the field for extended periods of time.
That's why Bafaro should be able to play next season, despite having less experience than guys like Rodney Hardrick and Rahim Cassell. Plus, a lot of his action should come at the beginning of the season in garbage time. That may seem like a meaningless position to be in, but really that's the perfect spot to work hard and grab the attention of coaches.
He'll likely be competing with one of the incoming Robinson twins as well as Danny Mattingly for plays at linebacker, but I expect Bafaro to solidify a spot in the rotation by season's end.
The wide receiver position will be an interesting one to watch over the next few seasons as Oregon looks to potentially incorporate more of a passing attack with Marcus Mariota at the helm.
Enter Chance Allen, a redshirt freshman from Texas who, at 6'2", 195 pounds, has the size to create problems for opposing defenses. He came to Eugene as the less-heralded WR from Texas, (the other being Braylon Addison), but that doesn't mean he won't make a difference in Oregon's offense next season.
The starting trio is solidified with Josh Huff, Keanon Lowe and Daryle Hawkins. But both Huff and Hawkins graduate next season, and after that, you have De'Anthony Thomas (who also gets time at running back), Braylon Addison, Dwayne Stanford, B.J. Kelley and Eric Dungy.
Somebody will need to step and become that featured receiver after Huff, and I think Allen has as good of a chance as anybody to compete for that role. Of course, he'll have to fend off challenges from incoming freshmen like Darren Carrington.
But there should be more catches up for grabs next year, and you can expect Allen to be right there in the mix.