Oregon Has Plenty of Skills

When fall camp starts next Monday (Aug. 9th) the Oregon Ducks rushing and receiving game will have the most talent it has had in years. The Ducks rushing game was tops in the Pac-10 conference last year and should only improve in 2010.

Leading the way for the Oregon Ducks is running back sophomore LaMichael James, 5-9, 185, a 1,546-yard rusher from last year's Rose Bowl squad. James finished second in the conference as a red-shirt freshman and went over 150-yards rushing six times in 2009 and also had 17 catches for 168 yards. James will be held out of the first game against New Mexico due to a non-football-related incident during the off-season, but will return after the one-game suspension during the second week against Tennessee. Sophomore Kenjon Barner, 5-11, 180 is a more than adequate fill-in. Barner collected 366 yards rushing on 61 carries last year for a 6.0-yard per carry average and scored three touchdowns. Barner also caught four passes for 30 yards, but is best known as the kickoff return specialist. He returned the ball 40 times for 1,020 yards including a 100-yard return for touchdown against UCLA. Senior Remene Alston, 5-8, 200, has battled injuries during his career at Oregon but when healthy can be the type of power back that has worked well in Oregon's version of the spread offense. Alston had 30 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Oregon has Head Coach Chip Kelly dipped in the Texas talent pool for the two new freshmen scholarship backs from the 2010 recruiting class. Some believe that Lache Seastrunk, 5-11, 187, was the best back out of the Lone Star State last year. Seastrunk was a 5-star player (as rated by Scout.com) and is joined by fellow Texan Dontae Williams, 5-11, 198 from Aldine HS in Houston, the same school that produced Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas.

The Oregon fall roster also lists four invited walk-ons. Junior Andres Reed, 6-0, 218, joined the team last September. The 2003 graduate from South Medford HS also spent two years at the College of the Siskiyous where he was team captain and an academic scholar award winner. Red shirt freshmen Craig Loper, 5-11, 194 is from Eugene's Willamette HS while Jordan Thompson, 5-8, Valencia (Calif.) Valencia HS and Brandon Thurston, 5-11, 214 Woodinville (Wash.) Inglemoor HS will also be at fall camp.

The Oregon receiving corps recorded a total of 197 catches in 2009. Senior Jeff Maehl, 6-1, 184 was the leading receiver last season with 53 catches for 636 yards and six touchdowns including a long of 73 against Oregon State for a touchdown. Fellow senior D.J. Davis, 6-1, 205 had 23 grabs for 233 yards and two scores. Maehl and Davis are starters along with junior Lavasier Tuinei, 6-5, 206. Tuinei produced 24 catches for 217 yards in '09.

Red shirt freshmen scholarship-players Blake Cantu, 6-0, 193 and Nick Cole, 6-3, 195 had very good spring sessions when the team practiced in April and should see playing time this year.

Sophomore Justin Hoffman, 6-1, 201 was the surprise of the spring workouts after having a outstanding performance in the practice sessions. Some think Hoffman is the best downfield blocker on the Ducks' roster. Will Murphy, 6-2, 176 is also a sophomore and had a good spring as well.

Three highly recruited freshmen join the roster as scholarship athletes. Jesuit (Portland) product Keanon Lowe, 5-10, 168 is joined by Josh Huff, 5-10, 190 from Houston's Nimitz HS. Eric Dungy, 6-1, 170, Tampa (Fla.) Plant HS, is the son of former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

Five invited walk-ons are also on the fall roster including sophomore Darren Bruhns, 6-2, 193 from North Medford. He is joined by Sherwood red shirt freshman Ben Butterfield, 6-0, 180, Eagle Point's Garrett Davis, 5-11, 169 and Chad Delaney, 6-0, 179, who comes from just outside of Eugene at Elmira. Another Red shirt freshman Dane Ebanez, 5-9, 177 hails from North Pole, Alaska.

The tight end position at Oregon has been an effective weapon for the Ducks and junior David Paulson, 6-4, 241 had 12 catches for 185 yards. He will be the starter and the back-ups are junior Brandon Williams, 6-4, 237 and senior Malachi Lewis, 6-4, 216. Senior Sam Doman, 6-4, 234 rejoined the team after sitting out the 2009 season.

Freshman Curtis White, 6-4, 239 was a 5-star player during his senior year at Eugene's Sheldon HS would have enrolled in time for spring practice but a shoulder injury prevented him from doing so. He enrolled for summer term and participated in summer workouts.

Walk-on red shirt freshmen Clint Sager, 6-3, 237 (Grants Pass' Hidden Valley HS) and Brian Teague, 6-3, 246 from David Douglas HS in Portland will also participate in fall camp.


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