The Oregon Ducks have built themselves into a national power and kings of the Pac 12 with back-to-back-to-back conference titles using a combination of speed and athleticism that has made them one of the most exciting teams in the country to watch. The key to Chip Kelly‘s blur offense always seems to be some X-factor that takes defenses by surprise, often coming out of the Ducks’ newly recruited freshman class. So who will fill the role of super freshman in 2012? Look no further than Hightower High of Missouri City, Texas, alumni Bralon Addison.
In 2010, it was receiver Josh Huff who served as a spark for the Ducks’ offense catching 19 passes for 303 yards and rushing 12 times for 214 yards with five total touchdowns while also being used as a dangerous weapon in the kicking game. For 2011, it was of course De’Anthony Thomas, who exploded as Oregon’s No. 3 running back, rushing for 595 yards on 55 carries and made 46 catches for 605 yards combining for 16 offensive touchdowns while also adding a pair of kick returns for touchdowns. Kelly will now try and capture lightning in a bottle for a third time with Addison, working him out this fall at running back, receiver, returning kicks, and moving him all over the field, admitting “we’re using him much like De’Anthony.”
Addision displayed the versatility and athleticism in high school that could make him just the guy to provide a spark at any position on the field. In high school, he played receiver as a sophomore before transition to quarterback his junior year, acting as Fort Bend Hightower’s signal caller for two seasons. During that time, he threw 50 touchdown passes against just six interceptions and averaged more than 1,300 yards per season on the ground. He took a team that had just one other major college recruit and led them to a state title game appearance, which is no small feat.
Originally committed to Texas A&M, Addison re-opened his recruitment after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl because of the Aggies’ changes in staff. Oregon receivers coach Scott Frost quickly moved in to recruit him to Eugene along with another Missouri City receiver in Chance Allen. Now Frost will get to coach up the dynamic Addison into a legitimate pass catching threat after two years of playing under center.
He’ll be coaching one heck of a player who is constantly defying the expectations of his position. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he doesn’t need it because of an incredible elusiveness. He isn’t big, just 5-foot-10 and 189 pounds, but he’s exceptionally tough and powerful when he runs. He’s became a playmaker by staying grounded and working hard, even while he was “the guy” on his high school team. That quality will come in handy as he makes the transition from “the guy” to just “the next guy” alongside talent like Huff, Thomas, and Kenjon Barner.
Addision hasn’t wasted much time making an impression on his Oregon teammates. During a scrimmage on Tuesday, the freshman took a punt back for a touchdown, which his teammates universally described as the highlight of the day. His playmaking ability has generated plenty of buzz around Eugene this fall which could turn into Addison finding his place on the field sooner rather than later. He’ll be continuing a pretty explosive tradition if (and when) he does.
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