Oregon Ducks: Darren Carrington

Over the past few weeks we examined the Ducks, position-by-position, evaluating the talent. But since I was in Eugene last week for the NCAA Track & Field Championships, I figured I'd stop by the football offices to check in with one of the guys who knows that information best, offensive coordinator Scott Frost. Wednesday, we went through quarterback and running back highlights. Today, we're on to wide receiver, tight end and the offensive line.

WIDE RECEIVER
  • On Devon Allen: He was actually a late offer for the Ducks who was offered after Chip Kelly left for the NFL. There were a few spots open (initially there had only been one spot for a receiver). "It all kind of worked out that we offered him, and this is where he wanted to be. I knew he could be fast. I had no idea he could go 13.1 in the high hurdles."
  • Frost actually was at Allen's race last Saturday when Allen won the 110-meter hurdle national title. Frost said that he doesn't think Allen "looks like he'd be a track guy, he's built more like a football guy, he's thick."
  • On his mindset on the receivers: "We felt good about receiver even losing the guys we did, with Bralon [Addison] back and some young guys we think are really talented. We're just going to have to have some of those young guys step up quicker than they would've had to otherwise."
  • The first receiver that Frost brought up after Allen was redshirt freshman Darren Carrington. "He has to grow up quick, but he has it in him to be that guy." The next three receivers he mentioned were redshirt sophomore Dwayne Stanford, redshirt sophomore Chance Allen and early enrollee Jalen Brown. Frost said that he thought Brown was "in over his head a bit" from a conditioning standpoint this spring, which limited his reps, but he's up to speed now, and Frost could see him being a contributor in the fall. So it sounds like after Keanon Lowe and D. Allen, there's certainly a pecking order of things, but the competition is still very much open.
  • It's the youngest crop of receivers Frost has ever had, so I was curious if there were any way he could speed up the learning curve or provide a catalyst (other than just more and more live reps). "Sometimes there's just no replacing experience. But all those guys are competitors. … They're going to get their shots early. You see it all the time in sports, when people get their opportunities some of them reach out and take it with both hands and others struggle a little bit. We're just hoping we have a bunch of guys where the former happens."
  • Frost said something interesting about indicators regarding whether a young guy can play early -- it's typically more based on mental and emotional maturity than talent.
TIGHT ENDS
  • Look for these guys, like the running backs, to be more involved in the pass game. "We have three, which is more than we've had going into a year that I can remember. … We have three guys that we trust to go out there and do it, and there's probably going to be times that a couple of them -- if they're playing well -- deserve to be on the field, and we can play with two tight ends."
  • Pharaoh Brown's injury isn't going to limit him through the fall. Frost said it's just a matter of keeping him healthy through the season. "He's really talented."
  • Frost called John Mundt’s freshman year a "roller coaster" but said that when he was on, "he did some exceptional things."
  • Frost thought Mundt and Evan Baylis' biggest areas of growth over the past year has just been confidence. No surprise there.
OFFENSIVE LINE
  • I asked Frost about senior Hroniss Grasu taking the blame (for the line as a whole) for the losses last season. Grasu had said in the spring that he thought the group lacked toughness and got outmuscled in those games, and that's why the Ducks lost. "I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. I think we had two losses against teams that played really good games against us." Frost though the turnovers were a bigger problem in the Stanford and Arizona games. "If you play a team that does things right and you give them the ball that many times, that's a recipe for losing."
  • He wasn't surprised that Grasu said that, because he's that kind of a guy. He said it speaks to Grasu's leadership that he's willing to shoulder that kind of blame.
  • The line returns all five starters and considering the weight gain, the general consensus with everyone is that the Ducks should be just fine. But, I wanted to make sure to ask about a few backups who were getting significant reps during the spring season. Frost's thoughts: Redshirt junior Andre Yruretagoyena had his best spring season yet. He said the staff has high hopes for redshirt freshman Jake Pisarcik. He was impressed with redshirt junior walk-on Matt Pierson at right tackle.
During the next few weeks, we’re going to go through Oregon’s roster, position by position, examining what talent was lost to graduation or the NFL and what that leaves the Ducks with in 2014.

The wide receivers are up on Thursday.

Who was lost after the 2013 season: Josh Huff, Daryle Hawkins, Chad Delaney, Blake Stanton

Lost production: 89 catches, 1,510 yards, 15 touchdowns

Who’s back in 2014: Junior Bralon Addison*, redshirt senior Keanon Lowe, redshirt sophomore Chance Allen, redshirt junior B.J. Kelley, redshirt freshman Devon Allen, redshirt sophomore Dwayne Stanford, redshirt freshman Darren Carrington, senior Johnathan Loyd, redshirt sophomore Chris Tewhill, redshirt sophomore Austin Daich, redshirt senior Jeff Stolzenburg, incoming freshman Jalen Brown

* Questionable whether Addison will return for the 2014 season due to injury

Statistics of returning players: 85 catches, 1,234 yards, 11 touchdowns

Outlook: The Addison injury certainly doesn’t help anything (typically no injury does), because without his production the returning stats really are 24 catches, 344 yards and four touchdowns. Pretty meh.

Luckily, the wide receivers looked like they had quite a bit of potential during the spring game. Nine wide receivers caught passes, and Devon Allen was certainly the headliner of the day with his two touchdown receptions. Some of the younger players -- Carrington and Chance Allen -- showed potential too, though quarterback Marcus Mariota likely has the most established chemistry (in this group) with Lowe.

This will continue to be one of the biggest question marks heading in to the 2014 season because, as I’ve said before, Mariota’s Heisman campaign is only going to be as good as those on the receiving end of his passes. Look for Devon Allen to have a big season, for Lowe to be the most consistent player and for the receiving corps as a whole to be one of the youngest contributing position groups in recent history for the Ducks.

Other spring position reviews:

Video: San Diego Ducks

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San Diego prospects -- WR Darren Carrington, WR Tyree Robinson and ATH Tyrell Robinson -- talk about signing with Oregon.
Devon AllenMiller Safrit/ESPN.comDoes securing a pledge from Devon Allen mean Oregon expects to lose Darren Carrington?
The last DuckNation recruiting mailbag before national signing day has received a record number of submissions. With so much action recently surrounding the Oregon football program, there are a lot of topics to cover.

Warren S. (Henderson, Nev.): With the Ducks landing Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep), do you think that has more to do with their feelings on what [Darren] Carrington (San Diego/Horizon) will do or how they feel about Allen?

Ohio State’s only Oregon commitment to take an official visit was Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) and the Buckeyes are starting to cut their numbers down in terms of possible suitors for the slot receiver/wide receiver position to fill out the 2013 recruiting class.


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Recruiting battles loom for Helfrich, Ducks 

January, 31, 2013
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Mark Helfrich is off to a solid start in his first two weeks as head coach of the Oregon Ducks. Helfrich was able to retain the majority of his staff and to date has been able to gain three new commitments from 2013 recruits.

Under Helfrich, Oregon has added WR Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep), OL Elijah George (Las Vegas/Arbor View), ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and QB Damion Hobbs (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill), who flipped from Utah State to Oregon on Wednesday.

The Ducks are likely to take up to five more commits, depending on the decisions of ATH Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto), Darren Carrington (San Diego/Horizon), WR Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) and his twin brother, ATH Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln).

There has been a lot of action over the past few days. New offers have been issued and last minute in-home visits are taking place daily.


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Thomas TynerCourtesy of Tiffany FiekenThomas Tyner is set to sign with Oregon despite late pushes from other schools.


Recruits, their families, coaches and football programs from around the country are holding their breath in hopes the right decision is made on national signing day. The truth is, no one knows what will happen between now and the time the pen hits the paper at high schools nationwide next Wednesday. What we do know is that both publicly and privately, the biggest decisions of recruits' lives are about to be made official.

For the Oregon Ducks, it appears as if their current commits are locked into the decisions they already have made. Now, the Ducks hope that their latest recruiting efforts provide a boost to an already strong class.

Here is where things stand for the Ducks and what their class might look like by the end of the day on Feb. 6.


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With all the focus on Mark Helfrich replacing Chip Kelly as Oregon's new head coach, the rest of the coaching moves haven't received nearly as much as they should have.

Former Nebraska national championship QB Scott Frost was promoted to offensive coordinator after four years as the Ducks' WR coach. Frost is one of the hottest young coaches in college football and his promotion to OC helps the Ducks keep him for at least another year. Adding to the youth movement on the Ducks' staff is his replacement, former Duke WR coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick. Lubick has assumed the same roles in Eugene that he had in Durham.

[+] EnlargeMatt Lubick
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMIAt Duke, Matt Lubick helped the Blue Devils' passing game to one its best seasons ever.
Not only did Lubick help the Blue Devils WR corps to a record-breaking year in 2012, he also had the Blue Devils in contention for some high-level recruits from around the country. His reach extended as far west as Nevada and California, as he had Duke in play for two OL recruits that had Oregon offers. Duke was the likely destination for recent Oregon commit Elijah George (Las Vegas/Arbor View) until Lubick got to Oregon and made sure that George was offered. He helped the Blue Devils land players from Northern California, Southern California, Las Vegas and Texas.

At Duke, Lubick was able to cast a wide recruiting net due to the prestige of Duke's academic prestige. At Oregon, he will be able to cast an even wider net due to the success of the Oregon football program. Lubick has an extensive network of contacts due to being around college football his entire life. His father, Sonny Lubick, is well known in the college football world for orchestrating the great Miami defenses from 1988-1992. After being named head coach at Colorado State in 1993, he went on to become the winningest coach in Rams' history. His network comes from the wide range of positions held by both himself and his father.

Lubick started his coaching career as a graduate assistant upon graduating from Colorado State in 1995. In 1996 he moved on to coach at Cal-State Northridge for one season before being hired at San Jose State. Like his father once did, Lubick was hired by Dennis Erickson on Oregon State's staff as the DB coach and helped guide the Beavers to their best season in program history. He then left for his alma mater and spent four years in Fort Collins as the Rams' WR coach. He then moved on to coach the WR at Ole Miss where he helped the Rebels land their best recruiting classes in history. Before heading to Duke, Lubick grew his reputation while guiding Arizona State to three of their best recruiting classes in history, including being the lead-recruiter for Vontaze Burfict, who became the Sun Devils' highest-rated recruit ever. At Duke he coached a WR corps that set records in 2011 and 2012, including having three players with at least 66 receptions in 2012.

His connections in all corners of the country, his experience and his proven ability to close on some elite recruits will only be bolstered by joining the Oregon program. The Ducks are gaining momentum daily in the college football world and Lubick could help them get to an even higher level in terms of recruiting. The Ducks' signed five WR in the Class of 2012 and currently have two WR commits in Darren Carrington (San Diego/Horizon) and Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep)
With Scott Frost being promoted to offensive coordinator and Matt Lubick being hired as the new wide receivers' coach, there has been plenty of news surrounding Oregon's WR recruiting lately.

Long-time Ducks WR commit Darren Carrington (San Diego/Horizon) is taking official visits elsewhere as he tries to decide on his future, the Ducks didn't waste any time in snatching up one of the top WR recruits in the West. After finally receiving a football scholarship offer from the Ducks, Semper Fidelis All-American WR Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep) committed to the Ducks. Allen had offers from Florida State, Stanford, Texas, UCLA and many more due to his status as an elite hurdler along with his football talent. Similar to how Florida State handled Allen's recruitment, Allen was initially only given a track and field scholarship offer from Oregon. With Carrington looking around, new Ducks coach Mark Helfrich offered Allen a football scholarship to Oregon. Despite the delay, Allen pulled the trigger on Friday.

Devon Allen
Courtesy Louis AllenDevon Allen gives Oregon a potential home-run hitter at wide receiver.
Allen's commitment was the first under Helfrich and gives the Ducks two commits at wide receiver. If Carrington decides to stick with his commitment, the Ducks will be thrilled to have the two on board as future weapons. The Ducks have a couple of commits in the class that could make the switch to WR if need be. Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) is slotted to play defensive back in Eugene, but like his twin brother Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) and ATH Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon), the No. 273 player in the ESPN 300 can move to offense if the depth chart necessitates the move.

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Ducks' weekend rewind 

January, 28, 2013
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Entering the weekend, the Oregon Ducks were steady at 13 commits in their 2013 recruiting class. On Friday, they landed a commitment from one of the top remaining players in the West. And Sunday they landed a commitment at a major position of need from one of the top sleepers in the West.

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Ohio State and Oregon are locked in a battle for a quartet of the Ducks' top commitments. Things have changed daily since Chip Kelly's departure, but it appears that half of the quartet being wooed by Urban Meyer has put an end to the speculation.


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There could be a fourth Duck visiting Mirror Lake for Ohio State if things play out the way they’re headed now for the Buckeyes.


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Chip Kelly's rule of recruits not being able to visit other programs after committing to the Ducks was an issue for certain recruits and their families. That was always the case for Ducks commit Darren Carrington Jr. (San Diego/Horizon), who has expressed interest in taking official visits to other programs in recent months.

With Kelly out of the picture, the four-star wide receiver is doing just that by visiting Arizona, and other programs have also been in touch.

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January is always an unpredictable time in recruiting, with unexpected commits and surprise decommits. For Oregon, Chip Kelly's move to the NFL means the next three weeks could make things extra chaotic. One day after Kelly accepted the Philadelphia Eagles' job, several of Oregon's top recruits said they would be taking visits to other schools.


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When reports surfaced earlier this month that Chip Kelly would be staying at Oregon instead of going to the NFL, Ducks recruits breathed a sigh of relief. All 13 commits confirmed they were still on board with Oregon despite the coaching uncertainty and were looking forward to playing for Kelly.

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly
Kyle Terada/US PresswireDespite reports he'd stay at Oregon, Chip Kelly is headed to the NFL.
But Wednesday morning's news that Kelly will be taking over as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles could throw things into flux for the nation's No. 21 recruiting class.


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