2013 Breakout Players

With the season still a little over two months away, all of the talk that’s going on is the release of the Oregon sanctions and those entailed.

Of which I am very satisfied with the outcome.

But I thought I would take this time to distract myself by making some predictions on who I think will be some of the breakout players this season.

What constitutes a breakout player for me?  A player that steps up their game from the last season, improves greatly on their stats and makes a significant impact over the course of the season.  These could be big name players that will finally bust out, or they could be players you know of but haven’t had the chance to showcase their skill yet.  The following are my picks from 10-6, with my 5-1 rankings coming in the following weeks.

10. Derrick Malone – LB

Derrick Malone getting in on the action

Courtesy of Kevin Cline Photography

Derrick Malone getting in on the action

With Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso now graduated.  Oregon is going to need a few linebackers to step up and fill the void.  While Malone is lighter than Clay, he is three inches taller which will allow him to view the backfield better and make quick adjustments to help stop the run and drop back into pass coverage.  Malone has some wheels on him so it will be hard for opposing offensive players to beat him to the edge.  He played in almost every game last season, giving him some much needed experience.  With openings at the linebacker spot, I expect Malone to step up and make some big plays for Oregon this year.  I could imagine his numbers at least doubling up.

9. Hamani Stevens – OL

Hamani Stevens

Courtesy of Stephani Baldwin Photography

Hamani Stevens

With Nick Cody graduating, there will be plenty of playing time for Stevens to make an impact.  Providing he stays healthy, which is a big concern for O-lineman.  At 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, Stevens is a big boy up front that will help the Ducks’ rushing attack.  Without a doubt there will be a lot of linemen seeing playing time this season.  I just have a feeling that if he can stay healthy, he will be a major piece that Oregon is looking for in their O-line.


8. Keanon Lowe – WR

Last season, Lowe caught 22 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns.  I expect those numbers to drastically improve.  Oregon will be passing the ball more this season, out of Helfrich’s design, not just because Mariota is so dang good. 

Keanon Lowe

Courtesy of Stephanie Baldwin Photography

Keanon Lowe

I think Lowe will be Mariota’s third or fourth favorite option this year.  When opposing teams start to focus on players like Josh Huff, Colt Lyerla, De’Anthony, and Bralon Addison; this will open the door for Lowe to catch it and walk it into the end zone.

7. Tony Washington – LB/DE

Tony Washington will more than likely be the player that steps in to the role that Dion Jordan played last season.  At 6-3 and 252 pounds, he is a little smaller than Jordan, but has all of the tools needed to be a great pass rusher. 

Tony Washington gets to the QB

Courtesy of Gary Breedlove Photography

Tony Washington gets to the QB

What better player to learn from than Jordan?  As far as defensive stats go, I think Washington will have one of the biggest leaps this season.  Look for him to go from partially known player, to a stud this season.

6. DeForest Buckner – DE

Buckner was a pleasant surprise last season.  We all knew he was good, but didn’t expect him to pick up the defense and be so aggressive so quickly.  He is a tall rangy player, but utilizes his length and quickness to get by opposing offensive linemen.  He had a great season for a true freshman last year, but this season will be his breakout.  After having a year under his belt and some more time in the weight room to put on some pounds, I think he is going to be a beast this year.  Combine Buckner, with Taylor Hart, and Arik Armstead.  Man, I can’t wait to watch our D-line this season!

That wraps up my 10-6 rankings of players that will have an extra impact this year.  I would love to hear some thoughts from the readers as to who you think some top breakout players will be this year.  Don’t forget to check back for my Top 5 breakout players of the 2013 season and see if your players made the list.

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Sam Arney

Sam Arney

Sam was born and raised in Cottage Grove, Oregon and he has been a die hard Duck fan his entire life. Sam studied at the University of Oregon before moving to San Diego for 5 years. After moving back to Oregon, Sam decided to follow his passion for writing and started writing for various sports sites. To him, nothing is better than being in Autzen Stadium with 59,000 fans screaming their heads off!

  • hoboduck

    Well done and very nice picks. I do not believe anyone can argue with your picks. There are several players who could “step it up” this season.

    One of those in my opinion is B. Marshall. You may have him in your 5-1 write-up. He showed spurts of brilliance last year. This may not be accurate, however, I remember him busting two up the middle, one went 54 yards for a TD (which was called back) and another 34 yards which displayed a “hidden” speed that I did not know he had. He seemed to have found another gear on that run.

    Working with the 1’s should give him the opportunity to really show his stuff and thus have a breakout year. And with TT coming on board, he MUST step it up a bit. I may be the only fan that is not ready to anoint TT as the second coming………yet! He has a lot to learn before he becomes the #1 back for or Ducks. We shall see.

    Go Ducks WTD

    • Sam Arney

      Thank you. I agree with you on Tyner. All of the tools are there for him to be ridiculously great, but there will definitely be a learning curve.

      • oregon111

        what learning curve???

        maybe how to block blitzing LBs on dropback passing plays?

        but that’s all – RB is all instincts – either you have it or you don’t

      • hokieduck

        Yes, I am one of those persons who thinks Thomas Tyner is going to walk onto the football field and do ridiculous things. His academic problems have me a bit concerned since football, IMO, is the marriage of physicality and mental ability… more so than in all of the rest of team sports (thus why I love it so much).

        If TT gets the zone read concepts down early, his speed and power through holes will be instinctive. I pick him for All Pac12 honors by seasons end. The dude is for real.

        • hokieduck

          BTW, I guess I am tooting my own horn here, sorry, but I also picked Marcus Mariota off his HS tape as being the starting QB at Oregon last year even before Darron Thomas took off. I was babbling to whomever would listen about the kid while he was still redshirting and never thought B Bennett had a chance against him. Manziel decommitted from the Ducks after MM got his scholarship offer for a good reason.

          I feel similarly about Tyner’s ability to come in and perform at a very high level immediately, especially given the first half schedule of the Ducks.

    • QuackAttack77

      I was thinking the same thing…GR8 MYNDZ.

    • oregon111

      I’m more interested to see if B Marshall can drive those big thick legs to get first downs

      Remember in the natty, how Cam was contained, yet he grinded out that extra yard to keep getting first downs?

      thats the stuff that keeps your offense on the field, and theirs on the sideline

  • Randy Snauer

    For the top 5, I predict, in no particular order: Huff, Addison, Marshall, Andre Y, and P Brown.

    • Sam Arney

      Haha, we shall see sir, we shall see. I will let you know that all of those names have been in my head for this article, we’ll see who makes it.

  • Jason Curtis

    I say this a lot, but I feel we have too much talent at WR to not have at least one of those guys have some ridiculous numbers. Don’t much care who. I thought Dwayne Stanford was doing good things early and then kind of fizzled. Addison looks good. Huff hasn’t seemed to find the same magic he had as a frosh. + he’s battled injuries.

    I’d love to see one of those guys, hell, even Colt, be a league leader in receptions. Rivaling some of those guys USC has.

  • oregon111

    my breakouts are some of the most talented

    I call breakout because I think these guys will dominate college football

    DAT — he gets more touches — he should get at least double — thats why
    Dargon — the last few games last yr made me think he is the next great safety at Oregon
    Heimuli — sr year – time to go from good to what you were supposed to be
    Huff — like DAT, he should get involved a whole lot more than he does

    I want to say Lyerla — but, we all know — no matter how talented the TEs are, they never get the ball enough — lets hope that trend breaks this yr – before Lyerla goes pro

    I want to say Tyner – but I think we all think he will be the real deal – so it wouldn’t be much of a suprise

    and here is my ‘way the freak out there longshot pick’: Dungy — he just looks really motivated every time he catches the ball — other fans have called out for him to get more playing time