There has been much speculation as to the running backs situation for the Ducks coming in to next season. Last season, many expected Thomas Tyner to set himself apart from the rest of the team — and then the Royce Freeman experience came into full swing. With a tandem like this – and very reminiscent of the Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James days – it seems as if anything is possible.
Last season, the Ducks racked up 3,518 yards on the ground, with those mainly being split among Freeman (1,365 yards), Tyner (573 yards), and, of course, Marcus Mariota. With the quarterback situation that the Ducks find themselves in right now, it seems as if the offense will rely more on the running backs. Eastern Washington transfer, the expected Week 1 starter, Vernon Adams, lacks the speed and overall athleticism that Mariota had, however.
This coming season could show the greatest Ducks backfield ever. Freeman is the perfect NFL prospect with size and quickness, while Tyner has the track-star speed that he loves to show off when in the open field. Along with having Bralon Addison back, the Ducks have a recruiting class that may go down as the best in the school’s history. 4-star running backs Taj Griffin, Kirk Merritt, and Malik Lovette are all expected to be great players. But, even if Mark Helfrich and staff decide to red-shirt one of the younger guys, it’s talent that the Ducks will have for years to come.
From Freeman and Tyner, expect the perfect RB combo. There is no team in the country that has such a balanced mix of talent on offense, let alone in the backfield. The coaching staff’s biggest challenge will be figuring out how to get so many talented players on the field in a way that will make them all happy. Either way, the Ducks are poised to make a run for the College Football Playoff, because Freeman and Tyner will carry the team there.
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck