Oregon Ducks Football: 10 Players to Watch in the Oregon Spring Game

Alex Shoemaker@https://twitter.com/#!/MrAlexShoemakerAnalyst IIApril 27, 2011

Oregon Ducks Football: 10 Players to Watch in the Oregon Spring Game

0 of 10

    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Darron Thomas #1 and the Oregon Ducks huddle against the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Get
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    It's almost time Oregon football fans. Duck football is in the midst of spring drills, and the 2011 Spring Game is almost upon us. Now is time for new comers to make a name for themselves, and returners to earn their spot.

    There will be a lot of turnover for the reigning Pac-10 champions, and now is the make or break moment for every player. Who will rise and who will fall...

10. Dion Jordan

1 of 10

    EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 04:  Defensive end Dion Jordan #96 of the Oregon Ducks gets set at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter of the game against the New Mexico Lobos at Autzen Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won the game 72
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    This 6'7" former tight end now looks to replace Kenny Rowe at the defensive end position.

    Jordan served as the top reserve on the defensive line and was a key special teams performer last season.

    Jordan did start one game, against UCLA, and recorded multiple tackles in all but one game.

    With Anthony Anderson and Isaac Remington fighting for a starting job at defensive end, Jordan still needs to fight for his job. 

9. Keanon Lowe

2 of 10

    One of Oregon’s fastest receivers, Lowe might be the chosen replacement for graduated Duck Jeff Maehl.

    Lowe redshirted last season and is now needed to play.

    He’ll be playing with the second-string receiving group, but he can play himself into the starting team with a solid performance.

    You have to know this young stud’s name.

8. Kiko Alonso

3 of 10

    EUGENE,OR - DECEMBER 03:  Kiko Alonso #47 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates tackling Jacquizz Rodgers #1 of the Oregon State Beavers during the second quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on December 3, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Ima
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    One of Oregon’s biggest position needs is linebacker.

    In 2010, Alonso was suspended after a DUI and then suffered a season ending knee injury.

    Now he’s back and ready to prove that he hasn’t lost a beat.

    With both Spencer Paysinger and Casey Matthews graduated form last years team, it’s important to see which star can step-up and earn a starting spot.

7. Justin Hoffman

4 of 10

    EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 04: Wide receiver Justin Hoffman #81 and tight end David Paulson #42 of the Oregon Ducks celebrate a touchdown reception by Paulson in front of safety Freddy Young #17 of the New Mexico Lobos in the first quarter of the game at Autz
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    All signs point that Hoffman will be the other starting receiver with Tuinei and Huff, but Hoffman needs a good spring to solidify a starting job.

    Hoffman is popular with the coaching staff with his work ethic, and ability to block downfield.

    He won’t surprise anyone with his speed or strength, but he offers soft hands and passion for the game.

6. Michael Clay

5 of 10

    TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 21:  Linebacker Michael Clay #46 of the Oregon Ducks during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Wildcats 44-41 in second overtime.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Clay served as the team’s top reserve linebacker in 2010 and earned Pac-10 all-Academic honorable mention.

    Clay was eighth overall in team tackles, and third among LBs with 42 tackles.

    Clay will likely be one of the starting OLB’s in 2010, but he with so many young linebackers fighting for a starting job, Clay has no room for error.

4B. Troy Hill

6 of 10

    So far in spring practices, Troy Hill has been one of Oregon’s surprising talents and has been praised by defensive coordinator Nick Alliotti and secondary coach John Neal.

    Hill has no chance of starting over returning All-American Cliff Harris or starter Anthony Gildon, but Hill can position himself as the top reserve corner.

    If injury or suspension occurs, Hill is a solid replacement.

4A. Terrence Mitchell

7 of 10

    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 06: Mascot 'Puddles' of the Oregon Ducks sdoes some crowd surfing in the fourth quarter of the game between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 5
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    It’s fitting that Terrence Mitchell is next on this list.

    He’s in the same position as Troy Hill, literally.

    Mitchell really impressed in the 2010 Spring Game, setting the tone with a pick six to start the game.

    Whoever has a better performance, Hill or Mitchell, will be in position for the top reserve cornerback role.

3. Ricky Heimuli

8 of 10

    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 06: Defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli #90 of the Oregon Ducks stands at the line of scrimmage in the first quarter of the game against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the gam
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Oregon fans should be incredibly pleased that Heimuli decided to stay with the Ducks and bypass a religious mission.

    Heimuli was one of two true-freshman who played in every game last season, and he should figure to be the main cog for the center of Oregon’s d-line.

    Watch for Heimuli to prove himself in the 2011 Spring Game, and the 2011 season.

2. Bryan Bennett

9 of 10

    EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Bryan Bennett #3 of the Oregon Ducks signals in a play in front of the signal boards that the Ducks use to call plays during the game against the New Mexico Lobos at Autzen Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Eugene, Or
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    The obvious starting quarterback for the Ducks is Darron Thomas, but Oregon fans will be hearing a lot about Bryan Bennett throughout 2011.

    While Bennett probably would have preferred to be introduced to Oregon fans in a different way last season, Bennett became known by Duck fans as Oregon’s fall back quarterback to DT.

    If Oregon faces the QB injury bug again, Bennett will need to be ready to go.

    Watch how Bennett does leading the 2nd team offense in the Spring Game.

1. Lache Seastrunk

10 of 10

    It must be tough to be Lache Seastrunk.

    A heralded 5-star runningback by pretty much every recruiting service, Seastrunk is expecting to be earning legitimate playing time.

    And if Seastrunk was at any other Pac-12 school, he would likely be a starter or in a very solid second-string role.

    Seastrunk has impressed so far in the spring, and if he can fix his fumble issues he will begin seeing a lot of action.