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