Oregon Football: 5 Freshmen Who Will Make a Huge Impact in Fall Practice
In recent years we've seen De'Anthony Thomas, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Bralon Addison and many other players contribute as freshmen.
That trend may have a difficult time moving forward with the depth the Ducks have built, but guys can still make a difference in fall camp, which could lead to playing time when the games begin.
Some names on this list will be obvious. You probably have a pretty good idea of a couple of players who are all but guaranteed to not only make an impact on the practice field but on the Autzen turf on August 31 as well.
But there's almost always a few names that seem to pop up out of nowhere. So which freshman will make the biggest impact in fall camp?
Here are the top five players who will make a difference right away.
5. Torrodney Prevot, DE/OLB
Oregon has begun to rely more and more on versatile players in recent years, especially on defense.
It's no secret that a fast, athletic defense is probably set up for more success than a slow and bulky one, but Torrodney Prevot is the kind of athlete who will have every chance to thrive with the Ducks.
And the thriving may occur as early as August, when the team reconvenes in preparation for the season.
Prevot has the kind of speed that really jumps out at you, and his skills could translate very well to third-down pass-rushing situations.
What will the other linebackers think of the young freshman? If they want a secure spot on the depth chart, Prevot's play is bound to push them to work harder and get better. So even if Prevot doesn't see the field, he has the opportunity to make a real impact in several different ways.
When the practice reports start coming out (even if reporters are unable to actually see them), don't be surprised to see Prevot's name a few times.
4. Darren Carrington, WR
It's no secret the Ducks are loaded at wide receiver, which hasn't been the case in recent years.
Oregon has experience, talent and a lot of promising youth who should help the passing attack reach new heights in the fall.
Darren Carrington has the potential to play a major role in that group once the season begins. The 6'3", 185-pound freshman has the ideal build to play receiver in Oregon's offense. He has the height the Ducks have coveted recently (Dwayne Stanford, B.J. Kelley) but the speed to become another dynamic weapon in the blur attack.
Whether he sees the field will depend largely on his ability to grasp the playbook and his effort in blocking. But his athleticism is hard to ignore, and if any of the new faces are going to make an immediate impact in the receiving game, it will be Carrington.
3. Cameron Hunt, OL
You can never have too many offensive linemen, and despite the position having solid depth, Cameron Hunt has the ability to come in and help out immediately à la Jake Fisher in 2011.
I went back and forth between Hunt and Evan Voeller as immediate impact players, and the two are probably interchangeable at this point.
Hunt had an impressive list of suitors last year with both Michigan and Ohio State extending offers, and the 6'4", 270-pound (at the time of his commitment) freshman will have a chance to make those who failed to land him, like Cal, pay this fall.
The Ducks are set at the center and tackle positions, but the starting guard spots are up for grabs. And how often does the offensive line unit make it through the season unscathed?
I see Hunt coming into fall practice and showing right away why he was a top recruit, which will not only bolster depth even further but will also give him a chance to make an impact in games.
2. Matt Wogan, K
Considered by many to be the savior of Oregon football (yes, that's a joke), Matt Wogan is near the top of the list of freshmen who could make an immediate impact in the fall.
As I've said before, there's no point in rehashing the many struggles of current starter Alejandro Maldonado, but the reason Wogan can make a difference right away can be summed up with only a few words: Field-goal kicking has not been good.
Wogan was one of the highest-rated kickers in the country, and his services should be of use when practice resumes in August.
Though the Ducks haven't kicked very many field goals over the past few years due to the preference of scoring touchdowns instead (crazy, I know), having a reliable kicker is something that every team yearns for.
If Wogan can be that guy, he'll undoubtedly make a major impact in the fall.
1. Thomas Tyner, RB
Let's see, what do you get when you have a talented but fairly thin running back group and an incoming, uber-hyped freshman at the same position?
The answer is the potential for the new guy to contribute in a major way, and that's exactly what Thomas Tyner will look to do when fall camp begins.
Aside from what we know about Tyner with his size, speed and strength, the sheer impact he could make in the offense cannot be understated.
As it stands, Byron Marshall is a bruising running back with deceptive speed who should be a solid and potentially outstanding starter. De'Anthony Thomas is the undersized lightning bolt who has proven to be an effective runner, yet anything more than 10-12 carries might be pushing it.
If Tyner can come in and understand the offense right away and get used to taking hits in college, Oregon could have the most ridiculous three-headed monster in the backfield in school history.
Then there's the matter of Marshall, who has probably grown tired of fans salivating in anticipation of seeing Tyner, when, in reality, he's the guy in line to take over in the backfield. You think Tyner's arrival might motivate him a little bit?
No matter how you slice it, Thomas Tyner will impact the Ducks from the very moment fall practice begins.
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