These 3 true-freshmen in Oregon are expected to have a huge impact in 2021

·3 min read

There is one thing that the Oregon Ducks surely aren’t lacking as they head into the 2021 college football season — immense talent across the field.

With defensive players making a push for the Heisman Trophy, and an offensive skill group that has loads of experience and reps under the belt, there is very little doubt that Oregon will be one of the most talented teams in the Pac-12 conference, and there’s a good chance that they can make some noise at the national level as well.

However, if you look deeper into the roster, a few young players will stand out as real threats to have an impact in the first year of their careers. Those players are offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia, and wide receivers Troy Franklin and Dont’e Thornton.

We all saw them impress at Oregon’s annual Spring Game about a month ago, and now those three have been listed as ‘Freshmen to Know’ ahead of the season, according to 247 Sports.

Here’s what they had to say about Suamataia:

Penei Sewell would be nearly impossible to replace at most programs. At Oregon, his potential successor is a higher-ranked recruit who played his high school ball in the same state as Sewell. Suamataia, the highest-rated lineman ever to sign with the Ducks, is already drawing plenty of hype: “I think he’s got the potential to be a first-round pick down the road. That I will say and I won’t shy away from that,” Oregon o-line coach Alex Mirabal said earlier this spring.

With five returning starters on the o-line (the one bright spot of Sewell opting out), Suamataia isn’t exactly a lock to start. But he’s already the team’s second-string left tackle. Given that none of Oregon’s tackles finished with better than a 72 PFF College grade last year, there’s an argument to be made that Suamataia is the type of player who can elevate the o-line from good to great.

We don’t know if we will see Suamataia at all this season, especially with the high expectations that everyone currently holds for LT George Moore. Regardless, it is never a problem to have loads of talent and depth at one of the most important positions on the field.

Here is 247’s take on the two stud receivers on the roster:

Oregon returns its three leading receivers from last year with Johnny Johnson, Devon Williams and Jaylon Redd projected as starters. But Franklin and Thornton are very much looming, and the expectation is they’ll play plenty as true freshmen. Franklin (No. 40 in 2021) and Thornton (No. 56 in 2021) were two of the top seven receivers in the country for the 2021 cycle and both of them had really strong spring, including dominant spring game efforts. Given that none of Oregon’s receivers had even a 70 PFF College receiving grade last year, there’s room for Franklin and Thornton to siphon some snaps from the starters.

If the Spring Game told us anything, it’s that the Ducks will be absolutely loaded at the WR position. Thornton and Franklin had stand-out days, and though we didn’t see much from the incumbent starters, there’s great faith that they will produce when the time comes.