The Oregon Ducks figure to be a preseason favorite to make a run at a national title in 2014 thanks in part to the continuity they will enjoy on offense. In all, 10 starters return next season, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota at quarterback. The one major contributor from 2013 that the team will have to replace is wide receiver Josh Huff, who developed into a team leader as well as the best receiver on the team. With the Ducks set to take aim at the College Football Playoff next season, who will step up to replace Huff?
Last season, Huff led the team in receiving with 62 catches for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was a consistent threat down the field for Mariota and the leading candidate to bust a big play in the passing game to get the Oregon offense rolling. Huff’s ability to consistently run good routes, make catches and then turn them into huge gains to break games open. That reliability will be the biggest thing that the Oregon offense will miss now that he’s moved on.
Luckily for the Ducks, they have a deep receiving corps that is filled with guys potentially ready to step up and fill the void. Bralon Addison enjoyed a bit of a breakout season as a sophomore in 2013, catching 61 passes for 890 yards and seven touchdowns while also making a serious impact in the return game. Keanon Lowe comes into his senior season as one of the team’s best downfield blockers and a solid secondary option in the passing game. Last year, he caught 18 passes for 233 yards and scored three touchdowns.
In addition, Oregon will break in some new faces to the rotation this fall. Darren Carrington is a polished 6-foot-2 wideout who was banged up in two-a-days last year which kept him from finding any playing time and redshirting in 2013. He’s got great hands and has received rave reviews from coaches about his potential. Dwayne Stanford is a 6-foot-5 sophomore with the ability to go up and snag balls out of the air who was also hurt last season which kept him out of the top four rotation. They’ll also try and work incoming freshmen like Jalen Brown and Charles Nelson into the mix.
The Ducks have plenty of potential in their receiving corps this season to overcome the loss of a player like Josh Huff. But will that potential turn into production this fall and take Oregon over the top in 2014?