Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 01, 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 finish our 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 continue, by looking towards the offensive side of the ball where the Ducks signed 12 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. Today, we complete the series by looking at the receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and kicker from this class.
NamePositionStarsGames Started
Bryan Bennett

Impact: When Nate Costa went down with a season ending knee injury late in 2010, Bennett moved up to second string quarterback. It was feared that he may lose his redshirt if Darron Thomas went down. Some even speculated that Bennett would have his redshirt pulled to get some "real game action" in case he was needed. Fortunately for Duck fans, Bennett had his redshirt preserved. Bennett was the clear number two quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2011, but showed considerable progress in relief appearances against Arizona State and Washington State as well as his first career start on the road at Colorado. In total, Bennett appeared in 8 games as a freshman going 25-46 for 369 yards and 6 touchdowns while carrying the ball 23 times for 200 yards. Will be in a heated battle with Marcus Mariotta for the starting spot in 2012.
Josh Huff

Impact: Listed as a running back for the Ducks, Josh Huff has played mostly in a receiver position. As a freshman, Huff flashed loads of potential grabbing 19 receptions for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 12 times for 214 yards and 2 more touchdowns. A dangerous return man, Huff was the leading kickoff returner for the Ducks in 2010 with 23 returns for 567 yards which included an 80 yard return. As a sophomore in 2011, Huff was plagued by a lower leg injury much of the season but still managed to have a major impact on occasion (Stanford). Nonetheless, Huff still managed 31 receptions for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns. Looking to be healthy and more explosive, Huff might be a breakout player for the Ducks this season and could become a leading target at wide receiver.
Keanon Lowe

Impact: Lowe spent his first season in Eugene as a redshirt. He appeared in 8 games as a freshman in 2011, mostly as a special teams player. As a receiver, he saw some action, but made no receptions. By all accounts, he looked better in Spring, but will need to be more consistent catching the ball to have a bigger impact. With the depth problems at running back, Lowe could see time as a "taser" type player on offense.
Alejandro Maldonado

Impact: Maldonado was brought out of his redshirt season in 2010 for the final two games to punt for the Ducks. As a sophomore, Maldonado was once again called on due to injury, this time to Rob Beard. Maldonado struggled some on field goals going 7-12 on the season. The Ducks third leading scorer with 100 points on the season, Maldonado converted 77 of 78 point after attempts on the season. Maldonado is looking to improve his leg strength and will battle with Rob Beard for the spot as the placekicker in 2012.
Lache Seastrunk

Impact: After a highly publicized recruiting win over programs like Texas, Auburn and USC, Seastrunk arrived in Eugene with high expectations. Though he showed flashes of brilliance in his first Fall camp, Seastrunk struggled with the intricacies of the Oregon offensive playbook. Seastrunk sat out the 2010 season as a redshirt. Just prior to Spring football in 2011, Seastrunk was at the center of a storm of controversy surrounding his recruitment. Putting it behind him, he arrived at Fall camp looking to make an impact. After slipping on the depth chart behind incoming freshman De'Anthony Thomas, Seastrunk transferred to Baylor University to be nearer to his ailing grandmother. At the Baylor Spring Game, Seastrunk stole the show with 135 yards on a mere 7 carries. He looks like a solid contender to start for the Baylor Bears in 2012.
Dontae Williams

Impact: Another running back from Texas, Williams was brought to Oregon to complement the speed of players like LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner with a powerful force in the middle. At 6' and 200 pounds, Williams was powerful with still very good speed. After redshirting his first season, Williams transferred following Winter term. He landed at Grossmont College in San Diego appearing in 8 games with 32 carries for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams will look to play one more season at Grossmont and see where that leads his football life.


Games Started: 28/69 Impact: One of the highest rated classes in Duck history, the skill position players in this class were some of the most impressive talent that the Ducks have ever secured. Not without reason either. Obviously, Bryan Bennett showed in his brief time as a freshman why coaches were so high on his ability even during his redshirt season. With another year to learn the offense and a summer to work on flaws noted during the Spring Game, he could develop into a three year starter at quarterback for the Ducks. Josh Huff may have been one of the most under-rated four star players in the class of 2010. He made an immediate impact for the Ducks as a freshman and, despite fighting injuries all season long as a sophomore, still managed to start 10 games and make one of the more important catches of the season with his fourth down catch and run against Stanford. Maldonado was reported to have needed some strength work on his kicking leg when he arrived, but due to injuries at punter in 2010 and Rob Beard's injury problems last season, Maldonado has not had enough time to work on leg strength. Hopefully he had plenty of time to work on that this past off-season and can work on his accuracy and distance with the field goal team. Nonetheless, his presence has been valuable with the injuries over the past two seasons. The loss of two running backs is especially evident this season as the Ducks have just two scholarship running backs who have carried the football in a college game. Granted, those two running backs are extremely talented, but Oregon could have benefited from Lache Seastrunk and/or Dontae Williams in 2012. With one other player remaining in this class who has yet to make his mark, this class, the ones who have played, has been an extremely impactful class. Though the Ducks lost 2 of the players to transfer, we can still say that the players who remain have exceeded expectations to this point of their young careers.


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