The Rich Get Richer: Kirk Merritt and The Ducks’ Run Game

The World Is A Thorn

Monday night the Oregon Ducks won big time by getting four star athlete Kirk Merritt to commit to play college ball at Oregon. Merritt, a versatile prospect who can play WR and RB, adds another threat to a backfield already full of them. With the addition of Merritt to a backfield already boasting Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall, Oregon’s run game should be downright beastly next year. This overflowing of riches at the RB position will really come in handy while Mark Helfrich & Co. are breaking in Oregon’s next QB.

Good Luck Mark

Steve Francis

Good luck, Mark!

Having these RBs available will help the Ducks’ next QB in a twofold manner, as all four of these guys have the skills to be deadly weapons on checkdown passes as well as when carrying the ball. The challenge for Helfrich and Scott Frost is going to be devising creative ways to get all of these playmakers on the field at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oregon use some wildcat concepts more often, with Tyner and/or Freeman in the backfield and Marshall and Merritt in the slot. Purely speculation of course, but that’s what having this many good RBs makes me think about.

Royce Freeman Likely To Be The Number One Back Next Year

Kevin Cline

Freeman is likely to be the No. 1 back next year.

At the same time, Oregon might want to consider red shirting Merritt his first year, to give a year to adjust to being in college and to Oregon’s practices. This would make a lot of sense to me, because with the sheer amount of RBs Oregon already has available, it might serve the Ducks better to sit him until there is room for him to get carries. Unless Merritt is going to come in and be Leonard Fournette, he is probably not going to steal carries away from Freeman and Tyner.

Regardless of whether they play him this year or next, Merritt will certainly be an asset for our Ducks at some point in the future. At the same time, with or without him, Oregon’s run game is going to be something to fear next season, and with even merely decent QB play they will be in contention for a championship again.

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Noah Smith

Noah Smith

Noah is an undergraduate student from just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. Noah is currently pursuing a communications degree with the goal of becoming a sports journalist. Noah is a die hard Duck fan, mainly because of his obsession with football's X's and O's. In his free time he enjoys watching both pro and college football games,playing and listening to music, and drawing up his own playbooks.

  • cfluegge

    Skill players aren’t going to be a problem. Replacing Grasu, Fisher and Stevens could be. Don’t forget: those players need blockers. First test: at Michigan State. Stay tuned.


    NO RED SHIRT! Ducks if Adams comes on board will have so many weapons at his disposal he’d be retarded not to want to play here. Hopefully he wants the challenge and he’s even bigger than Russell Wilson whom by the way isn’t doing too bad at the next level. Merritt in the slot or out wide makes a whole lot of sense.

  • hokieduck

    “Unless Merritt is going to come in and be Leaonard Fornette…”

    Royce Freeman, Nick Chubb, Nick Wilson, Dalvin Cook, all true freshmen RBs with better years than the overhyped Leonard Fornette. Fournteete started the season with a Heisman pose and a resounding thud. Yes, he improved at the end of the season, but he was not the weapon that these other kids were in their first year.

    I think Merritt will play next season. He is too explosive to keep out of the mix.