Is JR Waters the Ducks Next Break-Out Receiver?

Zeke Lerner-Wood Recruiting

In 2010, the Ducks led the league in scoring, made top five in the majority of offensive categories, and qualified for a national championship. A fully fledged offensive force took the field, nimbly dancing around defenders and tearing apart formations. However, in recent years the Ducks have transitioned to a much more physical and aggressive play style, relying on larger offensive linemen rather than light-footed receivers. 

Wide receiver Jaron (JR) Waters may be the player to help find a middle ground between the two distinctly different play styles. Waters is 6’3 and 190 pounds, hailing from Oxnard, CA. He was a consensus 3-star recruit, as well as the No. 9 overall wide receiver from California. After finishing off his high school career at Oxnard High School with 27 touchdowns in 21 games, Waters chose Oregon over other notable programs such as Arizona State, Colorado State, Michigan, and Nevada. 

In early August of 2019, Waters unfortunately suffered a foot injury, eventually requiring surgery that sidelined for six weeks. Prior to being injured, Waters had been training primarily with the third team. He didn’t see any playing time in the 2019 season, largely because of the time he missed due to injury. Nevertheless, he still has the tools to be an extremely valuable player in the future.

Waters played basketball avidly in high school, and you can see that in his play style as a receiver. He’s very agile, and has no problem quickly cutting and slotting across the field. Additionally, his speed and jump height are both fantastic, making him a great option for the vertical passing game and red-zone plays. Waters explodes down the field with long strides, and his longer arms allow him to snag hard-to-reach passes.

When comparing Waters to Mycah Pittman, there are clear differences in the way they move. Pittman has no trouble bulldozing CBs, and while Waters is not small for his size, he isn’t as purely physical as Pittman. His strengths are more his explosive speed and overall athleticism, which allow him to pluck passes and run routes with ease, slicing apart defensive lines with his footwork.

Mycah Pittman had 2 touchdowns in 7 games in 2019.

 Technically, Waters is not as refined as some of the other receivers on the roster. However, he has a great deal of raw athletic talent and is very coachable. He should be ready to demonstrate his ability on the field after a year as a redshirt. Waters is going to have an exciting season this year.

I expect to see Waters on the third team, maybe even pushing for time on the second team depending on how the season goes. Either way, JR Waters is a valuable player for the Ducks, and with his skills he will bring the opportunity to mix things up at game time.

Zeke Lerner-Wood
Oakland, CA
Top photo from Twitter

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