In a Spring Game that saw just about every healthy player on Oregon’s roster, redshirt freshmen defensive back Oshay Dunmore, quarterback Jake Rodrigues, and newly added junior linebacker Joe Walker established themselves in an otherwise “name’s game” matchup.
At the prep level, both Dunmore and Rodrigues lined up as signal callers for their respective offenses heading into the 2012 edition of National Signing Day. As expected, Dunmore made the move to defensive back, with Rodrigues holding pat to challenge for the role of backup to Heisman contender Marcus Mariota. Now a year later, the two redshirts faced off against one another under a warm spring sun inside the confines of Autzen Stadium.
Likely a backup for this upcoming campaign, Dunmore provided an air of confidence against stiff competition. Matched up against returning offensive starters, the 6’2″, 195 lb. Dunmore tallied seven tackles and laid out to trip up an endzone-bound Byron Marshall. No stranger to athleticism, Dunmore could be a mainstay in the Oregon secondary for years to come after what might be a breakout spring.
Rodrigues, who two years ago suffered a broken leg, looked poised and flashed moments of skill at the helm of a re-tooled offense. His competition for the backup quarterback spot, fellow 2012 class member Jeff Lockie, was anything but. At this juncture, Rodrigues clearly possesses a stronger arm and appears confident to plant of his surgically repaired knee to gain yards on the ground. The Rocklin, California, native will no doubt be the heir apparent to Mariota this coming fall; however, better decision making and the quelling of nerves will go a long way to instill confidence in teammates and fans alike.
In need of an overhaul after losing seniors Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso, linebackers coach Don Pellum sought an experienced, physical presence to help anchor one of the nation’s top defenses. He may have found that player in JUCO transfer Joe Walker. A relative unknown to most of the country, the 6’2″, 225 lb. Walker made himself known on the first play of the game, coming up with a stop on special teams. Described as a sideline to sideline player with a big motor, Walker wound up with five tackles and showcased a gritty, yet cerebral playing style. Expected to compete for the mid-level corps this season, Walker must maintain a high level of play come the end of summer.
The 2012 Oregon class already features backfield bruiser Marshall, an NFL first round draft pick in that of offensive lineman Kyle Long, breakout receiver Bralon Addison, and key defensive contributors DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.
Dunmore, Rodrigues and 2013’s Walker may very well be on their way to being added to that list, WTD!!!