In the last few years, Oregon has had lots of success recruiting four and five-star talent from southern California. Kids who played their high school ball in USC’s backyard are increasingly choosing to spend their winters up north in Eugene. In fact, Oregon has done so well in this region that Oregon fans have dubbed this annual group of SoCal athletes the “Cali Flock.”
Oregon has also had some luck on the east coast, recruiting talent from the state of Florida. Until recently, pretty much the only Duck you would find in Southern California and Florida was Donald Duck! And the flock keeps growing, spreading its wings from Disneyland to Disney World.
Oregon wide receiver Josh Delgado is an example of this trend. Delgado, who hails from Carson, California, was getting set to play a larger role in the Ducks’ offense. Then, the season was suspended. No matter, the extra time will just give Delgado more time to improve physically and show he will be ready whenever his number is called.
During his 2019 freshman campaign, Delgado appeared in all of Oregon’s 13 games, and started three when Oregon’s receiving corps became depleted due to injury. He entered camp below Brandon Schooler and fellow freshman Mycha Pittman. When both went down to injuries just days before the season started, Delgado was thrust into action, kicking off his Oregon career on a national stage against Auburn. Delgado ended his first season with 11 receptions and 147 yards. He has yet to find the end zone, but he will be there plenty in the coming years.
During his recruitment, Delgado received offers from numerous other Pac-12 schools, as well as other well-known programs around the country, including Arkansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and Purdue. The consensus four-star had Washington as the leader of his recruitment at first. However, that didn’t last long, because Delgado committed to Oregon in June of 2018, signing just days after his official visit in December of the same year.
During his high school years, Delgado spent his first three years playing for football royalty at St. John Bosco. In his junior season at John Bosco he had a stellar season, catching 55 passes for 960 yards and eight touchdowns. He was going to be one of California’s must-watch players during his senior season, but he elected to jump across the country and play for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. During his time at IMG, Delgado continued to perform, putting up three touchdowns. After the season, he was named a consensus five-star in the state of Florida, and jumped to the 28th best receiver in the country.
Delgado’s size and speed don’t exactly jump off the stat sheet, but he does a lot of the little things right that make him a threat on any offense. Sometimes, when a player has the ball in his hands, it acts as an anchor. Not with Delgado, though, his ability to run with the football is second to none. He is great in open field, plays a physical brand of football, especially coming off the line.
Delgado is also an intelligent route runner, with the ability to improvise when the quarterback gets flushed out of the pocket. This was evident in the opening drive against Oregon State, where he found open space between the safety and defensive back in the slot, and connected with Justin Herbert for a 28-yard gain, his longest of the season.
When the season resumes, Delgado is going to find his role in the slot moving in and out with Jaylon Redd. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Delgado used on bubble screens, or a quick slant between the linebackers and the safeties. In the coming years when Redd’s time at Oregon is complete, Delgado will be a great fit to take on Redd’s starting role.
While Oregon has a pretty good punt and kickoff returner in Mykael Wright, Delgado is not a bad option here, either. Bottom line is, the kid from Carson can play a major role on the team in numerous capacities. He now has a year of experience, and a ceiling that has yet to be touched. When the Pac-12 gets the okay to resume play, he’ll be ready. You’re not going to want to miss it.
Top photo by Kevin Cline
Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.
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