Oregon Senior WR Justin Hoffman Retires from Football

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The Oregon football team was already going to enter the 2012 season with a fairly inexperienced bunch at wide receiver.

That's even more true now, after coach Chip Kelly announced that senior Justin Hoffman would be retiring from football due to his history of concussions.

Hoffman, according to The Register-Guard newspaper, has suffered at least eight concussions, including six in college, none of them worse than the one he got last October. Hoffman took a hard hit against Washington State -- on a play that was flagged as a personal foul -- that knocked him out for the season.

In his abbreviated 2011 campaign, Hoffman wound up with 10 receptions for 133 yards in eight games, six of which he started.

While his numbers weren't exactly prolific, Hoffman's knowledge of the Ducks' spread-option offense, and his leadership, will be missed on the field this season. But he's putting both of those attributes to use for the 2012 Ducks, with Kelly announcing that Hoffman will serve as an undergraduate assistant coach, working with receivers.

"I am anticipating the impact he makes on this team from a coaching standpoint to be just as great as it was on the field," Kelly said in a statement from Oregon.

So where does that leave the Ducks' passing game for the upcoming season?

We already knew they'd be going with a new starting quarterback, after Darron Thomas left last season to enter the NFL draft (he wasn't selected). Either Marcus Mariota or Bryan Bennett will be taking the snaps, and whichever of them wins the battle in fall camp will be throwing to a mostly young and inexperienced group of receivers.

But what they lack in experience, the Ducks make up for in depth and talent, with a ton of potential on the roster.

Josh Huff is back for his junior season as the Ducks' most experienced wideout, and Rahsaan Vaughn, a senior, is in line for a starting position after showing a lot of promise last season. Vaughn's biggest competition for the starting spot opposite Huff would seem to be Daryle Hawkins, the converted quarterback who had a great spring and has also shown a lot of potential.

After that, Oregon has a bunch of young guys that coaches have been raving about for a while, including redshirt freshmen B.J. Kelley and Devon Blackmon, and sophomores Eric Dungy and Blake Stanton. There are a handful of other guys we'll probably see in the mix at wideout, including senior Will Murphy and junior Ben Butterfield.

In the slot, I expect to see De'Anthony Thomas reprising his role from 2011, when the running back lined up primarily as a pass-catcher and did a lot of damage there, finishing the season as the Ducks' second-leading receiver. Thomas is a great weapon in the passing game, and the Ducks have several other guys who should get time at the slot, as well, including freshmen Bralon Addison and Tacoi Sumler (a redshirt) and sophomore Keanon Lowe.


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Adam Sparks has been following Oregon Ducks football since 1990, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.

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