Oregon could be lethal offensively — again — with

10 returning starters, including quarterback Marcus Mariota, the expected Heisman Trophy candidate who spurned NFL millions to return to college for one more season.

The defense needs to develop depth, and will work in three new starters in the secondary — but the Ducks received good and relieving news when Ifo Ekpre-Olomu decided to return for one more season.

The schedule is interesting: Oregon opens Aug. 30 against South Dakota at Autzen Stadium. Rose Bowl champ Michigan State visits Eugene on Sept. 6, and Pac-12 showdowns will include UCLA and OSU on the road and Washington and Stanford at home.


*Marcus Mariota, junior

Depth: Sophomores Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues presumably will vie to be the backup — and future starter? Sophomore Damion Hobbs could be in the mix. It’s a priority to develop a quality backup, considering coaches played Mariota through an injury in 2013.

Running back

*Byron Marshall, junior

Depth: Sophomore Thomas Tyner figures to be starter 1B to Marshall’s 1A, and freshman Kani Benoit could get some totes.

The Ducks have verbal commits from a couple star preps.MARSHAHLL

Wide receiver

*Bralon Addison, junior, *Keanon Lowe, senior, Chance Allen, sophomore

Depth: Sophomore Dwayne Stanford, junior B.J. Kelley and freshman Darren Carrington will get their opportunities to play, as well.

Tight end

*Johnny Mundt, sophomore

Depth: Mundt and Evan Baylis exited 2013 as starters 1A and 1B, and their status will remain going into 2014. Junior Pharaoh Brown figures to challenge them.

Offensive line

Left tackle: *Tyler Johnstone, junior

Left guard: *Hamani Stevens, senior

Center: *Hroniss Grasu, senior

Right guard: *Cameron Hunt, sophomore

Right tackle: *Jake Fisher, senior

Depth: Some depth needs to develop among the likes of JC transfer Haniteli Louisi (a guard contender?), juniors Andre Yruretagoyena and Matt Pierson, and promising redshirt freshmen such as Jake Pisarcik, Doug Brenner and Evan Voeller.


*Matt Wogan, sophomore

Depth: The strong-legged Wogan sealed the starting spot in 2013 and could be UO’s kicker for the next three seasons.

Defensive line

End: *DeForest Buckner, junior

Tackle: Alex Balducci, junior, Arik Armstead, junior

End: * Tony Washington, senior

Depth: With several departures, young players have to step up, including juniors Sam Kamp, Christian French and T.J. Daniel. Tui Talia, a JC transfer, could provide depth.


Mike: * Rodney Hardrick, junior

Sam: Tyson Coleman, junior

Will: *Derrick Malone, senior

Depth: The unit should be solid and talented with sophomores Torrodney Prevot, Tyrell Robinson and Oshay Dunmore, freshman Danny Mattingly, junior Rahim Cassell and senior Joe Walker.


Rover: Reggie Daniels, sophomore

Free safety: Erick Dargan, senior

Cornerback: *Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, senior, Dior Mathis, senior

Depth: The status of senior Troy Hill remains uncertain. New players will be worked into the mix, including JC transfer Dominque Harrison, sophomores Stephen Amoako and Eric Amoako, and freshmen Chris Seisay, Juwaan Williams and Tyree Robinson.


Dylan Ausherman, senior

Depth: The Ducks could go with the walk-on Ausherman, or Wogan could do double duty.

— Jason Vondersmith

Contract Publishing

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