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***MARCH 27 UPDATE ON PAGE TWO***
If you'd said before the 2009 season that LaMichael James would crack a thousand yards en route to Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year honor, most would have called you overly optimisitc about him making an immediate impact. Or if you anticipated Tuinei's performance at the Rose Bowl as the world-beating juggernaut that it was, you were probably one of only a handful of Duck fans. Every year, someone surprises and ascends to that next level right before our eyes, exceeding expectations, making big-time plays, just plain killing it. The 2012 season will have its share of as-yet unheralded heroes to be sure. Which Duck - be they a freshman, senior, JC transfer, water boy, etc. - will surpass perception to show and prove in 2012?
1) Ayele Forde, RB. This kid is not just a scout team back. He showed flash, cutback quickness and the determination to take on contact that at 5'7", 179 pounds epitomized the guts and fire the Ducks will need to win a fourth straight confence title. I like his shifty, scatback brand of running. Reminds me of LMJ as a frosh, Darren Sproles in there a bit too. He will make our depth at running back look all the more ruthless when breaks the century mark in Week 2 vs. Fresno State.
2)Jake Fisher, OL. When he committed to the Ducks last February, Coach Kelly and Steve Greatwood knew they had stolen someone sepcial from Big 10 country. In his sophomore year, expect the pride of Traverse City, Michigan make an massive impact early and often on his way to all Pac-12 Second Team honor. He was a force in the Stanford game last year (among others) and his physical, intelligent brand of hard-nosed O-Line play will make the loss of Asper and Weems easier to shoulder. A future All-American.
3)Derrick Malone, LB. More than a few times last year I saw his #22 make some hits count and I see his spry, agile brand of play making an impact in the heavy rotation of Aliotti's defense. A role-player whose role will continue grow in his redshirt sophomre season. Our linebacker corps will be FILTHY in 2012 and the deeper the better. Look for Malone to make his reps count when he sees the field.
Who you guys got?
This post has been edited 5 times, most recently by DuckDude 2 years ago
Great Thread Duckdude. I love the guessing game because Oregn is loaded with young talent.
1. BJ Kelley - Becomes the next Demetrius Williams at Oregon
2. Kyle Long - gets starting nod, is granted 2nd year of eligibility but goes to the NFL as a early 2nd round pick.
3. Anthony Wallace - starts the season as a back-up but gets considerable playing time and is a beast on Special Teams. Ends up as an all conference selection ala Bryson Littlejohn.
The easy top choice to me is Brian Jackson. That kid is ALWAYS near the ball, a solid tackler, and has a knack for rising to the challenge in big moments...
Other guys I think will be nice surprises - Darryl Hawkins and Boseko Lokombo...
Hawkins' experience in different roles probably means that he knows the ins and outs of this offense better than anyone. He's a tough blocker and a big, athletic body that is still learning the WR position... Given how unselfish he's been for this team, I think he'll put in the work this offseason to take care of that issue, and he likely already has a report with Bennett.
Despite the fact that he's a pseudo-local star and a high-profile recruit, BoLo has somehow flown under the radar so far (I suppose that happens when you have arguably the best 3 LBs in program history above you in Casey Matthews, Josh Kaddu and Michael Clay...), but I think this year is going to be BoLo's coming-out party...
1) Anthony Wallace - Going to be such a monster.
2) Erick Dargan - Why doesn't anyone talk about this guy? Starts in Pleasant's ROV spot from day one.
3) Rahim Cassell - Don't sleep
4) Ricky Heimuli - Finally gets healthy and has a monster year on the inside.
5) Curtis White - Major talent who finally gets healthy.
I love all of these lists. There's so many different candidates to step up big this year, you know someone's going to.
This post was edited by illmatic88 2 years ago
Not trying to be antagonistic here, but James is not a good example. There are a ton of people who were going to practices back then that thought he was the best back on the team as a true freshman. His greatness in our system was evident immediately.
Malone is a good guess.
Rahsaan Vaughn might be the most highly rated yet under the radar player on the team. All the talk is about the incoming freshmen WR the last 2 years.
We're also going to see a lot of SOME young DE who hasn't played yet.
Only people who don't watch the games would think BoLo is under the radar imo. He was our best blitzer last year. Aliotti absolutely loves to send him on passing downs.
I would agree with Jackson. He's clearly a player in line to get some major PT who is well under the radar.
Yeah, BoLo is already a star.
I think Dargan, Malone and Heimuli step it up and become household names. I also like Jackson and his aggressive play but I think he has a lower ceiling than the other three.
I also see Hardrick (if he gets healthy) and Wallace becoming major forces on the defense.
There is no denying speed. For me, i can't wait to see what Tacoi Sumler can do with the ball in his hands. Very highly rated coming out of high school, has been the most under the radar of all rfr. last year. I do have to agree with the integrity of this thread and its "bloggers" . Jake Fisher & Derrick Malone have tremendous upside to their games and hopefully we see it this season.
Wallace, Addison and Kelley
USC is like a german car, every piece that breaks is of the highest quality.
I get yr point for sure. James had the skills, but he was not the projected #1 back. That job belonged to Blount. James struck me as a prime example of a player who had yet to define his role and realize his potential ON THE FIELD.The way he arrived in full glory was indeed a surprise, at least to me. He may have had a high practice profile, but he was definitely under the radar, an unproven star, yet to shine at this point in 2009.
Good call. The guy could make a big leap this year, many do between their 1st and 2nd years out of JC. His film is crazy impressive, but we didn't get a chance to see that player this year. Hopefully this year we will.
Dior Mathis: absurdly fast, team oriented, positive attitude. I don't know how or where, but I'll go out on a limb and pick him to make an impact.
Good list ill - I'll put hardrick (sp) in at the LB spot.
I'm so not sold on Forde(original post), so if he does... then dang, I didn't see it coming.
I also agree about Vaughn as a good guess.
Heimuli shouldn't be a surprise, but many have written him off too soon.
Mathis is a great pick, His story was one of the biggest 'Huh?' developments of all last year. We tried him out at WR, then moved him back to DB, but in the end, they seemed to let him basically idle. I can't honestly remember hearing his name called. He has the tools and I hope he carves the niche he deserves to make some meaningful contributions.
I am going to say Tra Carson.... I think he will get most of the reps behind Barner.... I think Barner/ Carson is the closest thing to JJ / Blount we have had available... I am super excited about Barner as the starter but he isn't the same kind of runner and I don't think he will get as many carries as LMJ did so that will open up more carries for Tra....
I think the combination of barner, bennett (or mariota), DAT, and Carson (not to mention Huff or Addison) creates so many more possibilities that need to be defended... I hope Chip doesn't just use Barner like he did LMJ. There has to be a balance between finding a rhythm (with many carries) and spreading the wealth that there was no need for in the past - IMO.
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