Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012
Throughout the month of July, Duck Sports Authority has looked back at previous classes and measuring the contributions of those signed on each side of the ball. We began with a look at the class of 2005. We first looked at the defense and then the offense. With each succeeding article, we moved forward towards the present. Along this journey back to recruits who have impacted the Duck program, we have seen players who would go on to become legendary to the program as well as some players who never quite filled the spots they were expected to fill. There were academic casualties, players that were projects who decided to leave and players that were just misses. There were also, of course, the plus side; players of whom little was expected that proved to be considerably better than Rivals had projected. Today, we move forward and begin with a look at the first class that was truly Chip Kelly's class. His first as head coach of the Ducks; 2010. The 2010 recruiting class will be considered one of the best ever classes for the University of Oregon football team. Nevertheless, like all classes there were some hits, some misses, some hidden gems and players who were everything that Duck fans and coaches expected. We begin, as always, on the defensive side of the ball where the Ducks signed 10 players. The one thing that has been true of Ducks recruiting with Chip Kelly as head coach; there have been no academic misses. Every player that has signed with the Ducks has made it into school. This trend begins with the 2010 class. More importantly, two years later, there has been no attrition on the defensive side of the ball. Some of the players have yet to make a mark as they will be entering their redshirt sophomore seasons this year.
NamePositionStarsGames Started
Erick Dargan

Impact: As with nearly the entire class of 2010, Dargan spent his first season in Eugene as a redshirt working with the scout team. Last season, working onto the field as a reserve defensive back, Dargan appeared in 9 games for the Ducks. In those games, he was able to manage 15 total tackles and a pass defended. The redshirt sophomore is expected to battle for a position on the two-deep this season behind John Boyett and may be the heir apparent to Boyett. Dargan had a very good Spring game this season and will be looking to build some momentum based on his performance.
Isaac Dixon

Impact: Dixon came to Oregon from the state of Florida where he played linebacker in high school. Though he signed with the class of 2010, Dixon "grayshirted" in 2010 and did not begin classes until Winter term 2011. That left him redshirting last season. In the Redshirt Review of Isaac Dixon, coach John Neal points out that Dixon is really starting to "get it" and that the light bulb is turning on. A very physical player as a safety, A.J. Jacobson says in the article that Dixon will be in line to possibly travel with the team to road games. HE could certainly be a factor on special teams this season as well. Keep an eye out as his physicality could land him a spot on the two deep at the Rover position this season.
Ricky Heimuli

Impact: Duck fans breathed a sigh of relief when Ricky chose the Ducks late over just about every school in the conference. Finally the Ducks had landed a top mammoth defensive tackle that many fans had coveted. As a true freshman on the Ducks team that played for the national title, Heimuli was one of only two freshmen to play in every game for the Ducks. As a freshman, he had 9 total tackles and one tackle for loss on the season. A first half injury against Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game cut his playing time short as he was unable to play in the second half. 2011 saw Heimuli really start to emerge as a defensive tackle despite fighting a nagging injury most of the season. Stepped up to 22 total tackles as a reserve for the Ducks.
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Troy Hill

Impact: Spent the 2010 season redshirting and learning the defense. As a freshman in 2011, Hill made his way on to the field in every game including 6 starts at cornerback for the Ducks. Not originally expected to challenge for a starting role, injuries and suspensions got Hill into the starting lineup early in his career. The last time Duck fans saw two freshman starting at cornerback for the Ducks the season would not end so well. This time, however, the defensive backs were able to play through their problems with mostly exceptional results. Hill accounted for 43 total tackles as a freshman last season and 1 interception which he returned 45 yards. Against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Hill had 9 total tackles, 8 of which were solo stops. Hill should again contend to start for the Ducks on one side of the field in 2012.
Derrick Malone

Impact: Malone, like most of the class of 2010, spent the 2010 season as a redshirt. Having played mostly running back and defensive back in high school, Malone saw action in all 14 games as a freshman linebacker for the Ducks last season. Derrick mustered 15 total tackles last season including a tackle int eh Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. Malone is expected to battle for a spot on the two-deep behind Michael Clay and should be a fixture on the travel squad for the Ducks this season. Expect Malone to make great strides this season.
Dior Mathis

Impact: Coming to Oregon from Michigan, Mathis, who redshirted the 2010 season, briefly spent time as a wide receiver in fall camp last season before returning to the defensive side of the ball. One of the fastest football players on the team, Mathis has competed in track for the Ducks which has helped his speed. Dior appeared in five games for the Ducks last season registering 7 total tackles on the season. Showed promise in his only extended playing time of the season against the Beavers when he recorded three solo tackles for the Ducks. Mathis could make the two deep at cornerback this season, but much of that will depend on how Coach Neal deploys the defensive backs. A good returner, he may also see the field in that capacity in 2012.
Terrance Mitchell

Impact: Mitchell arrived at Oregon with the lowest ranking of the three cornerbacks the Ducks signed in 2010. He spent the 2010 season redshirting and growing. Shooting up 2 inches and 25 pounds, Mitchell became the most accomplished of the three cornerbacks in 2012. Gaining the opening day start in place of the suspended Cliff Harris, Mitchell would start 12 of the 14 games he played in last season. Led all cornerbacks with 45 total tackles last season. Also recorded three tackles for loss and led the team in passes defended (12), passes broken up (10) and forced fumbles (3) while notching 2 interceptions as a freshman. Mitchell made a lasting impression in the Rose Bowl when he stripped Jared Abredaris late in the game to help secure the Ducks Rose Bowl victory.
Isaac Remington

Impact: Remington arrived as a junior college transfer from Phoenix Community College with 3 to play 2 in 2010. This greatly benefited the Ducks as Remington, who arrived in time to participate in Spring drills in 2010 had plenty of time to develop before seeing the field. Remington redshirted the 2010 season before seeing the field as a junior last season. Starting three games and appearing in all 14 for the Ducks, Remington was an influential member of the defensive line rotation last season. Recorded 31 total tackles last season including 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Will be a major factor again in 2012 in a defensive line that may be the best the Ducks have ever put on the field at the same time.
James Scales

Impact: A member of a group of very talented players from North Carolina that made their way to the Pac-12, Scales is the strongest defensive back for the Ducks with a bench press of 320 pounds. Appeared in just three games as a freshman last season and notched 6 total tackles in those appearances. With a glut of talent ahead of him at the defensive back position, Scales will really have to impress Coach Neal to get more playing time this season. Could make an impact on special teams, but time will tell how much he sees the field in 2012.
Tony Washington

Impact: Washington spent his redshirt season putting on weight. Originally listed at 235 pounds out of high school, Tony played last season at 255 pounds. Washington appeared in 10 games for the Ducks including the Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. In those appearances he managed 18 total tackles including three in an expanded performance against USC after Dion Jordan went down with an injury early in the game. That experience should serve him well as he is also expected to contend for a spt on the two-deep in 2012.


Games Started: 21/139 Impact: Accumulating just 21 starts to date, at first glance, the group may appear to be under performing. There is a lot of talent on the roster that was ahead of these players, though, and, as they enter their third season in the program expect the number of starts among this group to be drastically different after 2012. At least two players are considered to be full time starters heading into 2012. The biggest find in the class is Terrance Mitchell who went from the 33rd ranked cornerback in the nation as a senior in high school to the cornerstone of one side of the Ducks defensive backfield en route to a Rose Bowl Victory. Troy Hill, rated just one spot above him by Rivals, made 6 starts as a freshman as well. Ricky Heimuli has battled injuries during his time at Autzen but has made himself a valuable member of the defensive line rotations. As long as he is healthy, expect that he will make a significant step up in the 2012 season. Several other players from this class are expected to make the two deep in 2012. Given the talent on the roster ahead of this group, their contributions so far as Ducks should be considered very good. The defensive players signed in 2010 were not as highly rated as the offensive players and, for the most part, this group has lived up to or exceeded expectations. To this point of their Duck careers, it can be said that the defensive players from the class of 2010 have been very good.


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