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Who will be the impact frosh of 2012?

6/29/2012
Arik Armstead, at 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds, brings the size and athleticism that will make it nearly impossible to keep him off the field. Damon Sayles

By hauling in the No. 18 recruiting class in 2012 the Oregon Ducks added more depth, size and skill to an already young and talented roster. The class, heavy on defense and elite skill-position players, could see a number of newcomers make an immediate impact in Eugene.

Most likely to see the field

Kyle Long: The son of NFL legend Howie Long and brother of former NFL first-round pick Chris Long, Long has one year to make an impact after transferring from Saddleback College. His size (6-foot-7, 290 pounds) and skill should have him in the rotation early.

Arik Armstead: The U.S. Army All-American brings size and athleticism that Oregon has been lacking on the defensive line in years past. While the Ducks should have their best line in years, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Armstead is simply too big and talented to keep on the sidelines.

Byron Marshall: Another U.S. Army All-American, Marshall will need to be an impact freshman as running back became a thin position with the departures of LaMichael James and Tra Carson in the offseason. Marshall brings size and speed to compliment Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas in the backfield.

Evan Baylis: The 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end arrived in Eugene in time for spring ball. With David Paulson graduating, Curtis White leaving the program due to health issues and Christian French moving to defensive end, Baylis will likely play a big role for the Ducks behind sophomore Colt Lyerla.

Pharaoh Brown: Like Baylis, Brown brings much-needed depth to the tight end position. While Baylis has the advantage of being in Eugene for months, Brown has the talent to make a push for playing time from day one. Either Brown or Baylis will likely become the No. 2 tight end for the Ducks.

Bralon Addison: The 3rd U.S. Army All-American and ESPN 150 member of the Ducks' class, Addison made a late switch from Texas A&M and signed with the Ducks in February, reminding many of De'Anthony Thomas’ last-minute switch from USC in 2011. Addison reminds many of Thomas on the field as well. The dynamic athlete played quarterback, running back and wide receiver for his high school team. With the Ducks’ wide-open offense and ability to get multiple playmakers on the field at once, Addison will likely see plenty of action on 2012. Look for Addison to make an early impact on special teams as a return specialist.

DeForest Buckner: Like Armstead, Buckner has an elite combination of size, strength and skill to make an immediate impact along the Ducks’ crowded defensive front. At 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Buckner received rave reviews from his peers at The Opening last year. A number of the offensive linemen in attendance said Buckner was the strongest defensive linemen they faced in the elite camp. Together with Armstead, Buckner should form the foundation of an elite defensive line in the coming years.

Dwayne Stanford II: The fourth U.S. Army All-American in the Ducks class, Stanford brings a much-needed element to the Eugene as losing LaVasier Tuinei leaves the Ducks with a mostly undersized wide receiving corps. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Stanford should push for playing time early based on size alone. He is still raw but has elite athleticism for his size and will become a big factor for the Ducks spread-option attack that requires more blocking from receivers than most offenses.

There are other potential impact newcomers like junior-college transfer Stetson Bair. The 6-foot-8, 280-pound 'little' brother of former Duck Brandon Bair is raw but has the potential to be a star in the future. Bair could push for time on the defensive line if he doesn't redshirt.

With two young elite quarterbacks already on the roster, expect quarterback signees Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie to redshirt unless injuries force them into action.

A loaded defensive backfield will make it tough for newcomers Eric Amoako, Stephen Amoako, Oshay Dunmore and Reggie Daniels to see the field. If any of the four do see the field in 2012 it will be due to injuries or needs on special teams.

A young and talented roster littered with returning starters and experienced veterans will make it tough for the newcomers to make an impact in 2012, The overall talent in the class is evident and the three-time defending Pac-12 champions are officially at the point where they can reload their roster instead of rebuilding it.

The talent keeps adding up in Eugene but as Thomas showed last year, the Ducks are not afraid to place big responsibilities on young players. Fall camp will go a long ways in determining if anyone is able to break into the lineup and become an instant impact player for the Ducks.