By Rob Moseley
Analyzing where things appear to stand at each position group entering preseason camp, based on developments last season, in the spring and over the summer.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
WR: Keanon Lowe, Sr.; Chance Allen, So.; Jalen Brown, Fr.; Jeff Stolzenburg, Sr.; Jeff Bieber, Fr.
WR: Dwayne Stanford, So.; B.J. Kelley, Jr.; Zac Schuller, Jr.; Austin Daich, So.; Chris Tewhill, So.
WR: Darren Carrington, RFr.; Devon Allen, RFr.; Charles Nelson, Fr.; Johnathan Loyd, Sr.; Bralon Addison, Jr.
TE: Pharaoh Brown, Jr.; Johnny Mundt, So.; Evan Baylis, So.; Koa Ka’ai, Jr.; Jake McCreath, So.; Taylor Stinson, Fr.
The veterans: Unless and until Bralon Addison proves he’s good to go following a spring injury, the Ducks’ top returning receiver is senior wideout Keanon Lowe. The Portland native caught 18 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. This season his production has a chance to really skyrocket. Given the absence of Josh Huff, Daryle Hawkins, De’Anthony Thomas and possibly Addison, Lowe can make the jump this season from dependable blocker and respected leader to perhaps the team’s top target.
Other than Addison (61-890-7) and Lowe, the other returning wideouts combined for six receptions, 111 yards and a touchdown in 2013 – that’s five catches by Chance Allen and one by B.J. Kelley. Those guys obviously also have a golden opportunity to step into the spotlight this year. So too does Dwayne Stanford, who is coming off a redshirt season after playing as a true freshman in 2012. Stanford played with the first-string for most of spring drills, making a strong case for major playing time this fall. April also featured some tantalizing moments by redshirt freshmen Devon Allen and Darren Carrington, before Allen went on to win the NCAA and USA Track & Field 110-hurdles titles. They already look poised to challenge for significant reps as redshirt freshmen.
Two April additions, Jalen Brown and Johnathan Loyd, figure to be much more comfortable as they enter their second camp with the UO football team. The roster also features likely scout-team contributors Austin Daich, Chris Tewhill and Jeff Stolzenburg.
At tight end, on the other hand, the Ducks boast a wealth of experience. Pharaoh Brown has the highest athletic ceiling of the group, and could be poised for a breakout season. Last year’s freshman phenom, Johnny Mundt, has already established himself as a dependable receiver, and Evan Baylis progressed over the course of 2013 to the point that he started the Alamo Bowl. Koa Ka’ai adds even more experience at the position.
The newcomers: The receiver group was bolstered this summer by the arrival of JC transfer Zac Schuller and freshman Charles Nelson, two smaller, speedy weapons. In a position loaded with potential but lacking in proven production, they have as good a chance as any of the other guys to solidify spots in the mix for 2014. The Ducks also added some depth at receiver and tight end with the additions of Jeff Bieber, Jake McCreath and Taylor Stinson.
What to watch: Along with the secondary, this is the group with the most moving parts entering the start of camp Monday. There are multiple starting spots open, and several candidates to fill them. Much attention will be on Devon Allen after his two-touchdown spring game and startling summer on the track, though Carrington's body of work in practice last season was exceptional as well. The wild card will be Addison. If he shows any signs of being available at some point in 2014, that will provide a big boost.