DuckTerritory.com continues our Freshman 15 feature that looks at 15 Oregon freshman that in our eyes have the best shot at contributing to the Oregon Ducks attempt at winning the first Pac-12 title.
Defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro will look to Tony Washington to step his level of play up in 2011.
13. Tony Washington, JR 6-foot-3 255 pound DE
Tony Washington was an important recruit in the 2010 recruiting class for the Oregon Ducks and picked Oregon over offers from schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Nevada, Oregon State, and San Diego State among many others.
When Washington arrived onto campus last summer he was 230 pounds and has since added 25 pounds onto his frame in his year at Oregon.
With the graduation of Brandon Bair, Zac Clark and Kenny Rowe Oregon will once again need to find replacements along the defensive line.
Washington had a strong spring camp and while he didn't work himself into the first unit he did show enough progress to enter the discussion.
For now senior Terrell Turner has one end spot locked down while junior Dion Jordan and senior Brandon Hanna battle for the other.
Yet Oregon has worked hard on developing their defensive players to play at max capacity every down and build their depth to essentially give them 22 starters on defense.
With that push in playing more players on defense than most other college programs do Washington should see plenty of reps.
Washington suffered a knee injury midway through the spring practice period during a scrimmage but all accounts say he will be ready come August 8th when fall camp opens.
Even with Washington out half the spring coaches got a good glimpse of his progress.
Looking past the obvious bulking up improvements Washington made strides in his footwork and ability to get passed the man blocking him to rush the quarterback.
The injury will still present question marks for Washington going into fall camp but once the pads get put on the coaches will get a real good feeling if he can assume his second string spot on the defensive line or not.
Oregon's success on defense will once again rely on their depth and talent in their second and third team units and expect Washington to provide ample reps for the Ducks in 2011.