2014 Season in Review: Receiver/TE
By Rob Moseley
WR: Dwayne Stanford, So.; Darren Carrington, RFr.; Chance Allen, So.; Jalen Brown, Fr.; Chris Tewhill, So.; Chayce Maday, Fr.
SB: Byron Marshall, Jr.; Charles Nelson, Fr.; Johnathan Loyd, Sr.; Casey Eugenio, Fr.; Bralon Addison, Jr.
WR: Keanon Lowe, Sr.; Devon Allen, RFr.; Zac Schuller, Jr.; Austin Daich, So.; B.J. Kelley, Jr.; Jeff Bieber, Fr.
TE: Pharaoh Brown, Jr.; Evan Baylis, So.; Johnny Mundt, So.; Koa Ka'ai, Jr.; Jake McCreath, So.; Taylor Stinson, Fr.; Will Genske, Fr.
Starters: Raise your hand if you had Byron Marshall – Oregon’s 1,000-yard running back in 2013 – as the Duck most likely be an all-conference receiver in 2014? Not only did Marshall earn honorable mention all-Pac-12 accolades this past season, but on his last catch of the College Football Playoff National Championship he became the first player in UO history with 1,000-yard seasons both rushing and receiving. When Bralon Addison became unavailable in the spring, Marshall began making the transition into an all-purpose role, and his willingness to embrace that change proved a huge key to the season. Marshall became Marcus Mariota’s favorite target, and the move cleared the way for Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner to flourish at running back.
And Marshall wasn’t the only new contributor at wideout in 2014 – Oregon’s top four pass-catchers for the season weren’t in the mix there last fall. Darren Carrington and Devon Allen were redshirts as true freshmen in 2013, and Dwayne Stanford also redshirted that fall due to injury. Allen ended up leading the group with seven TD receptions – six in the first five games – and Carrington emerged late in the year, catching 14 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason before being suspended for the title game. Stanford started 13 of 15 games and returned to form as an invaluable presence out wide as a blocker, along with being a huge target who caught six TD passes. And as usual, senior Keanon Lowe was the heart and soul of the group, setting the tone with his blocking on the field and his work ethic and attitude off. That he scored the first touchdown of the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship is a deserved piece of history for a consummate Man of Oregon.
At tight end, Pharaoh Brown earned first-team all-conference despite missing the final five games of the year with a leg injury. He caught 25 passes for 420 yards and six touchdowns, blossoming at midseason into a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He was also invaluable as a blocker, used essentially as a fullback in some situations, not unlike the way Ohio State used its tight end in the title game. Evan Baylis’ blocking acumen earned him the right to replace Brown after the injury, and of his 15 catches for 143 yards and a TD, all but one 10-yard reception came over the final five games.
Reserves: Contributions from newcomers didn’t end with the aforementioned group. Charles Nelson expanded his skill set as the year went on, ultimately proving as versatile as Marshall – able to play wide receiver, running back and in the slot. His production skyrocketed late in the season, as the position group weathered injuries but also due to Nelson’s emergence. Johnathan Loyd ended up catching four passes in his only season of football after playing four years with the UO basketball team, and JC transfer Zac Schuller had two receptions against Colorado to round out the group’s production. Several veterans, notably Chance Allen and B.J. Kelley, didn’t catch a pass in a game but generally had a productive year as practice players. At tight end, Johnny Mundt had his only two receptions in the opening game of the year, as he worked to improve his blocking as a sophomore.
Redshirts: There was no more consistent source of spectacular catches day in and day out at practice than true freshman Jalen Brown. Like Carrington, he’s not the most explosive runner, but he’s incredibly agile and adept at reaching out to haul in passes away from his body. That description also fits walk-on Jeff Bieber, who often took on the role of the opposition’s best receiver with the scout team, such as Rashad Greene of Florida State. Chayce Maday and Casey Eugenio were primarily receivers, but commendably they sometimes played defensive back for the scout team, too, depending on the Ducks' needs that particular work. The new faces at tight end – walk-ons Jake McCreath, Taylor Stinson and Will Genske – are all big kids with good hands and decent mobility, and they put in commendable work with the scout team.
WR: Dwayne Stanford, Jr.; Jalen Brown, RFr.; Alex Ofodile, Fr.; Chris Tewhill, Jr.; Chayce Maday, RFr.
SB: Byron Marshall, Sr.; Charles Nelson, So.; Zac Schuller, Sr.; Casey Eugenio, RFr.
WR: Bralon Addison, RJr.; Darren Carrington, So.; Austin Daich, Jr.; B.J. Kelley, Sr.; Jeff Bieber, RFr.; Devon Allen, So.
TE: Evan Baylis, Jr.; Johnny Mundt, Jr.; Koa Ka'ai, Sr.; Jake McCreath, Jr.; Taylor Stinson, RFr.; Will Genske, RFr.; Pharaoh Brown, Sr.
Despite the graduation of Lowe, the transfer of Chance Allen and the uncertain status of Devon Allen, the Ducks have a lot of talent returning. Given the returning depth at running back, Marshall can still play an all-purpose role, and Stanford is a budding star. Addison’s return should help account for Lowe’s blocking and leadership, and there’s an enviable group of young talent in Carrington, Brown and incoming freshman Alex Ofodile, who enrolled for winter quarter. Position coach Matt Lubick has developed a deep, talented group over the last two years, and his efforts are to be applauded. At tight end, Baylis and Mundt return to help bridge the gap until Brown’s return.