Oregon's uptempo offense is loaded with weapons for 2014, and one primed for a particularly big campaign is junior wide receiver Bralon Addison.
After two seasons operating primarily in the slot and playing special teams, Addison has an opportunity to evolve into the No. 1 target for Heisman Trophy favorite and quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Addison has plenty on which to build heading into the spring practice season. In his first year as a full-time starter, he caught 61 passes for 890 yards and seven touchdowns. With 62 receptions, 12 touchdowns and 1,140 yards, only Josh Huff was more productive.
Huff is off to the NFL with a rising draft stock after he excelled at last month's Senior Bowl workouts, per The Oregonian. His departure leaves Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich with a huge void to fill—and Addison, without a running mate, he credited for a breakout sophomore season.
Addison must now assume Huff's leadership role of Oregon's wide receiving corps, and establish himself as the Ducks' new go-to wideout.
Becoming that primary target should not be a problem for Addison. He has a demonstrated attitude of making himself better, as wide receiver Matt Lubick detailed to The Oregonian last spring:
Even though [Addison is] a young guy, he's playing like a veteran. He's one of those guys who's working on all aspects of his game: not only making plays in space but blocking, which is extremely important here. He's actually made that a strength.
There's no reason why, especially after today, that he can't be one of our better players.
Lubick's assessment turned out to be prescient. Addison showed off more of the big-play ability that he offered glimpses of in 2012. The same speed that made him a dangerous playmaker in space off of receptions also resulted in two punts returned for touchdowns.
In addition to being a big-play weapon, Addison was also a big-game talent. His three-yard scoring reception midway through the fourth quarter slammed the door on Washington, and his eight-yard connection to being the final period gave the Ducks breathing room against UCLA.
The biggest threat to Addison's production next season may not be any opposing defenses, but rather the Ducks offense. Though Huff (2013) and Jeff Maehl (2010) had 1,000-plus-yard seasons, Oregon has thrived with multifaceted looks in the passing game.
Veteran Keanon Lowe should see an increased workload, and 4-star 2013 recruit Darren Carrington is a possible breakout contributor. Tight end Johnny Mundt gives Oregon a big presence in the middle that complements Addison's speed.
Mariota has no shortage of teammates to target, and the quarterback proved willing to spread the ball in his first two years running the offense. But that support means defenses will not be able to key in solely on Addison, and the explosive junior will make them pay.