LaMichael James and Darron Thomas will return as determined juniors
With National Signing Day approaching rapidly, the Oregon Ducks have their focus blatantly on one position.
On Wednesday, the Ducks will likely add two highly touted prospects to a team that fell a field goal shy of a National Championship just three weeks ago. Oregon will bid adieu to its top two receivers from the magical run, Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis.
The two combined for 119 receptions, 1,546 yards and 15 touchdowns during the 2010 campaign. That is just under half of the team's output in all those categories. Oregon recorded 248 catches, 3,178 yards and 31 touchdowns this season.
To put it gently, Oregon needs some players to step up if they want to repeat last year's performance and possibly improve upon it.
Enter Devon Blackmon and Tacoi Sumler.
Blackmon is currently listed as an athlete because he played all three offensive skill positions during his senior year at Summit High School. The 6'0", 180 pound recruit is currently ranked No. 23 by ESPN. He is considered the second best athlete-type in the country.
Recruiters rave about his speed, footwork and ability to make decisive cuts. The 4-star recruit from Fontana, CA will team up with Sumler, the No. 11 receiver of his class.
Who will make the bigger impact for the Ducks this season?
Sumler, also a 4-star prospect, may have been higher on recruiting lists if it weren't for his small stature. The Miami, FL resident is listed at 5'8" tall and 157 pounds. With a little time in the weight room, Sumler should turn out to be a threat in a green and yellow uniform.
I'm sure he's heard of DeSean Jackson.
The Ducks will look to create some running room for LaMichael James, who was held to just 54 yards on the ground in the title game. The Auburn defense packed it in and tried to force quarterback Darron Thomas to beat them, which he almost did.
Oregon's recruiting class is ranked No. 16 as a whole, but they failed to land a 5-star recruit. With nine 4-star recruits, the Ducks hope they have found under-the-radar talent that will push them to another title game.