Oregon’s mantra has been: Next man up. But with four of the top five Duck receivers out of the National Championship game, who does offensive coordinator Scott Frost pick to replace stars such as Bralon Addison, Devon Allen, Darren Carrington and Pharaoh Brown?
If we take a peek at Oregon’s depth chart, we find freshman Jalen Brown in the wide receiver two-deep behind Dewayne Stanford. Brown, an ESPN 100 player from Phoenix, had been red-shirted this year because of a bum back and the wealth of pass catchers in the Duck rotation. Now, that wealth is depleted due to injury and suspension. In late October, Brown pronounced himself fully recovered from his back problem and was placed on the travel squad to the Cal game. He didn’t play, redshirt saved, but for how long?
If Brown doesn’t play, then the next man up is the third man on the depth chart, B.J. Kelley. Kelley, a four star wide-out from Fresno, was a member of the highly-touted 2012 recruiting class of receivers that included Tacoi Sumler and Devon Blackmon. Duck recruiting has improved since then and with the entry of stars like Addison, available spots for pass catchers have bceome scarce. Blackmon transferred to BYU and Sumler to Appalachian State. Only Kelley remains on the Duck roster. Kelley played a back-up role in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but this year he hasn’t caught a single ball.
The question remains: who is the next man up? The blogosphere is full of rumors that Brown will play. Is the National Championship that important, or will Kelley get the call and find a place on the Oregon roster? With one day left before the big game, only Frost and Helfrich know, but we’ll all find out soon.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline