While tradition, pageantry and gameday atmosphere are all part of what makes college football, it’s the superstar players that sell tickets. For the fans who tune in on Saturdays to see the headliners, the 2022 season certainly won’t disappoint.
The country is full of premier players this season. Bryce Young will begin his Heisman defense tour, but CJ Stroud and Caleb Williams will be right on his heels looking to earn some hardware of their own. And perhaps the best overall player in the country last season — Will Anderson Jr. — is also back for another year of terrorizing SEC quarterbacks.
Oregon has some established superstars of its own, starting with preseason All-America candidate Noah Sewell. Sewell, a heat-seeking, game-wrecking machine, is undoubtedly Oregon’s best returning player, and one of the best linebackers in all of college football. Beyond Sewell, Brandon Dorlus is coming off of a strong 2021 campaign, TJ Bass and Alex Forsyth are two of the better returning linemen in the country, and Justin Flowe might as well already be a household name, given the hype he has generated despite suffering a season-ending injury in 2021.
These players are the cream of the crop; even casual Duck fans will recognize their names. But which players who aren’t among that select group will make a name for themselves in 2022?
There are plenty of tantalizing breakout candidates on Oregon’s roster, starting at the game’s most important position. Ty Thompson — a former blue-chip recruit — has a chance to earn the starting quarterback job this offseason. And if he does, and his talent shines, he could very well be college football’s next big thing, given his standing as a starting quarterback at one of the sport’s premier programs.
At receiver, Oregon has a number of breakout candidates, especially in a system that will be more conducive to passing the ball. Mario Cristobal recruited the position well, and a couple of his best signees, Dont’e Thornton and Troy Franklin, are both primed to start. Both are long, athletic receivers with legitimate NFL potential; it wouldn’t be shocking to see at least of them become a top-tier receiver this season.
Defensively, cornerback Dontae Manning was also once a highly rated recruit, and he’ll get an opportunity to start in Dan Lanning’s well-regarded defensive system. Kelee Ringo — one of Georgia’s starting cornerbacks in 2021 — gained plenty of recognition for his role in Kirby Smart’s version of the defense. Manning has similar skills, and he could explode given the proper coaching.
These are just a few of the many players on Oregon’s roster who could be in store for a surprisingly big 2022 campaign. Which secret superstar do you think will emerge for Oregon this season?
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by Oregon Football Twitter
Joshua is an adopted Duck fanatic, originally hailing from southwestern Pennsylvania. His love for the University of Oregon began as a young child when he became mesmerized by the flashy uniforms and explosive offenses of the Chip Kelly era, and now, he follows the team religiously. His fondest memory of the team is seeing De’Anthony Thomas race past Wisconsin defenders back in the 2012 Rose Bowl. A true football enthusiast, Joshua loves studying the intricacies of the game, and he aspires to become a professional sports journalist. Joshua now resides in Morgantown, West Virginia where he works in customer service. When he’s not watching Oregon replays, Joshua loves reading, writing, and spending time with his family. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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