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Season In Review: Receiver/TE

Jan 14, 2021

Reviewing Oregon's 2020 season and looking ahead to spring drills.

DEPTH CHART
WR: Johnny Johnson III, Sr.; Devon Williams, So.; Josh Delgado, So.; Lance Wilhoite, RFr.
WR: Jaylon Redd, Sr.; Jack Vecchi, Jr.; Justin Collins, Sr.; Spencer Curtis, RFr.
WR: Mycah Pittman, So.; Kris Hutson, Fr.; Tevin Jeannis, So.; Isaah Crocker, So.; Korbin Williams, So.
TE: Hunter Kampmoyer, Sr.; DJ Johnson, Jr.; Cam McCormick, Sr.; Spencer Webb, So.; Patrick Herbert, RFr.; Cooper Shults, Fr.; Tyler Nanney, RFr.

Starters: With few exceptions, the Oregon football team in 2020 enjoyed stability at the the receiver and tight end positions and got production from several different Ducks. Senior Jaylon Redd led the team with 25 receptions, and Johnny Johnson III was second with 19. Hunter Kampmoyer took a big step as a threat in the passing game, and when he missed the first two games of the season, DJ Johnson was a breakout performer in his first year on offense. Like Kampmoyer, Mycah Pittman also provided production despite being unavailable for two games, and that absence also opened the door for a breakout performer, Devon Williams.

The 2020 Ducks didn't have one player along the lines of a Samie Parker or Jeff Maehl who dominated production as a receiver. What the team did feature was a variety of different threats, from the explosiveness of Redd to the length of Williams to the fearsome size of DJ Johnson, which gave the coaches and quarterbacks the ability to target specific guys in specific situations. Along with the pandemic-shortened season, the limited statistical output by the individual receivers can be chalked up in part to the depth, although also to the fact the passing game was less dynamic over the final few weeks of the season.

Reserves: DJ Johnson exploded onto the scene with his early play in Kampmoyer's absence, and Williams showed off the tools that made him such a coveted addition as a transfer in 2019. The receiving corps added a dynamic new addition in freshman Kris Hutson, like Pittman an explosive athlete and also a fiercely competitive guy who went all-out to haul in any ball remotely close to his catch radius. Josh Delgado provided more depth, and Tevin Jeannis and Isaah Crocker rotated in with the travel squad around midseason as injuries took their toll and after Bryan Addison and JR Waters moved to cornerback; Jeannis made his presence felt most notably on special teams as a coverage guy.

The tight ends behind Kampmoyer and Johnson had a frustrating year. Cam McCormick tried to battle back from the injury issues that plagued him the previous two years, but ultimately didn't see the field regularly. Neither Spencer Webb nor Patrick Herbert had a reception in 2020, as they combined for one total appearance, by Webb in the Pac-12 Championship game. An unsung hero of the 2020 season was walk-on Cooper Shults, who due to those absences and the early games missed by Kampmoyer stepped in as the backup at tight end in early October, seeing the field in some goal-line situations.

Developmental squad: Shults otherwise made his presence felt primarily with the scout team, drawing cheers of "Cooooooooooop!" whenever he made a catch. Tyler Nanney also gave the defense a look at tight end, and the receiving corps with that unit included Korbin Williams, Jack Vecchi, Justin Collins and Spencer Curtis. When depth defensively became an issue late in the year, Curtis also helped out by getting some reps as a scout-team cornerback.

ROB'S TAKE

SPRING PROJECTION
WR: Johnny Johnson III, Sr.; Devon Williams, So.; Dont'e Thornton, Fr.; Lance Wilhoite, RFr.
WR: Jaylon Redd, Sr.; Josh Delgado, So.; Jack Vecchi, Jr.; Spencer Curtis, RFr.
WR: Mycah Pittman, So.; Kris Hutson, Fr.; Troy Franklin, Fr.; Tevin Jeannis, So.; Isaah Crocker, So.; Korbin Williams, So.
TE: DJ Johnson, Jr.; Cam McCormick, Sr.; Spencer Webb, So.; Patrick Herbert, RFr.; Terrance Ferguson, Fr.; Moliki Matavao, Fr.; Cooper Shults, Fr.; Tyler Nanney, RFr.

What To Watch: So far, Kampmoyer is the only scholarship senior who has announced he won't return in 2021; though the Ducks signed an elite group of recruits at receiver this year, the experience Johnny Johnson and Redd could bring back next fall would be invaluable, both on the field and as leaders for the next generation. Behind them, though, the offseason storyline among the pass catchers will be about next steps, and first steps.

How smooth will the transition to the college game be for freshman receivers Troy Franklin and Dont'e Thornton, and tight ends Terrance Ferguson and Moliki Matavao? How much will guys like DJ Johnson, Williams and Hutson grow as they look ahead to their second seasons as contributors for the Ducks next fall? And what does 2021 hold for guys like McCormick, Webb and Herbert, who never really had the chance in 2020 to show what they can do?