Oregon Football: 5 Players Headed for Breakout 2014 Season

5 Oregon Football Players Headed for Breakout 2014 Season

Mark Helfrich Oregon Ducks
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The Oregon Ducks head into the 2014 season as a title contender once again. Being a perennial powerhouse, they tend to lose talent to the NFL seemingly every year. If Oregon plans to stay in title contention every year, they have to trust their new starters filling in the vacancies left due to graduation and the NFL. Here are five players on Oregon that are headed for a breakout 2014 season.

5. RB Thomas Tyner

Thomas Tyner Oregon Ducks
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5. RB Thomas Tyner

Thomas Tyner Oregon Ducks
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In 2013, running back Thomas Tyner gained 711 yards on the ground on 115 carries. With the graduation of offensive weapon De’Anthony Thomas, look for those carries and yardage to go up significantly. Tyner is going to be used almost like Thomas, on the ground and in the air. He is set to have a much better season in 2014.

4. LB Derrick Malone

Derrick Malone Oregon Ducks
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4. Derrick Malone

Derrick Malone Oregon Ducks
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In 2013, Derrick Malone received honorable mention All Pac-12 honors, and didn’t even begin the season as a starter. He finished the season leading the team in tackles as well. In 2014, he looks to improve upon that by finishing the season with First Team All Pac-12 honors. He will do just that and show everyone in 2014 that he is a premier linebacker.

3. OG Hamani Stevens

Hamani Stevens Oregon Ducks
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

3. OG Hamani Stevens

Hamani Stevens Oregon Ducks
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Hamani Stevens has had a good spring thus far, and is taking much more of a leadership role on this offensive line. He has become a lot more physical this spring as well according to coaches, and is looking to apply that on the field this fall. Stevens is one of the lesser known starters on that offensive line, but that might all change by the end of 2014.

2. DT Alex Balducci

Alex Balducci Oregon Ducks
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2. DT Alex Balducci

Alex Balducci Oregon Ducks
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Alex Balducci has been a key reserve on the defensive line for Oregon. He will be their starter this season, and has some big shoes to fill. At the end of 2013, Oregon’s run defense faltered some, in part due to the defensive line play. They will rely on Balducci to take his game to the next level in 2014 and prevent that from happening again. He has ideal size for his position, and will certainly be a name you start hearing a lot more of.

1. CB Dior Mathis

Dior Mathis Oregon Ducks
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

1. CB Dior Mathis

Dior Mathis Oregon Ducks
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Dior Mathis is one of three new starters in the Ducks’ secondary. He is one of the fastest players on the roster, and it shows when he’s on the field. He’s a consistent player who has been in the system for four years already and is in very good favor with the coaching staff. When he gets his interceptions this season, look for him to be taking them to the house. He will also be their return man and will be making a name for himself there too.

Brian Cox is a San Francisco 49ers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bacox87, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

The Oregon Ducks football schedule has the team beginning their season on August 30 against the South Dakota Coyotes at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.





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