How Ducks’ safety room looks with Evan Williams transfer, return of Jamal Hill, Steve Stephens IV

One of the bigger question marks on the Oregon Ducks’ roster going into the 2023 offseason was on the defense, particularly when it came to the secondary. We knew that Bennett Williams was going to be taking off without any more eligibility remaining, but there were guys like Jamal Hill, Steve Stephens, and Bryan Addison, all of whom had decisions to make on whether or not they wanted to return in 2023 or not.

On Tuesday afternoon, we got a much clearer look at what the safety position will look like going into the fall.

The Oregonian’s James Crepea reported just after noon that both Hill and Stephens would be returning for another year in Eugene. This will be Hill’s fifth season with the Ducks, and Stephens’ sixth.

That news only further boosts the position which already got a positive development earlier in the month with Fresno State safety Evan Williams announcing that he would transfer to Oregon as well.

So with those three anchoring the back end of the secondary in 2023, who will be the other players to look for rotating throughout spring football and into the early part of the season? While the roster is still in flux with potential transfer between now and fall camp, here’s where the depth of the Ducks’ safety position currently stands.

Departure: Bennett Williams

Bennett Williams

2022 Stats: 13 Games | 72 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 2 INT, 6 PBU, 2 FF

Career Stats: 35 Games | 172 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 8 INT, 1 TD, 10 PBU, 3 FF

Outlook: The Ducks are losing their leading tackler for the 2022 season, and one of the most experienced defensive backs on the roster. Williams ended up playing three seasons at Oregon after transferring from Illinois and left a nice legacy in Eugene. He will likely be a late-round draft pick or sign with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent.

Returner: Steve Stephens IV

(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

2022 Stats: 13 Games | 43 tackles, 2 PBU

Career Stats: 31 Games | 92 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU

Outlook: Stephens is coming back to the Ducks as a rare sixth-year senior, having utilized his redshirt with the Ducks and taking advantage of the COVID year as well. Stephens saw split time as a starting safety in 2022 and brings a lot of knowledge and experience back to Oregon for his final year in 2023.

Returner: Jamal Hill

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Stats: 13 Games | 50 tackles, 3 PBU, 1 FF

Career Stats: 36 Games | 116 tackles, 2 INT, 11 PBU, 2 FF

Outlook: Much like Steve Stephens, Jamal Hill will be a nice veteran addition to Oregon’s depth chart in 2023, coming back as a fifth-year senior. He was a regular on the field in 2022 and gives the Ducks some great experience in his final year of eligibility.

Incoming Transfer: Evan Williams

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Stats: 10 Games | 69 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 4 PBU

Career Stats: 33 Games | 226 tackles, 11 TFL, 1 sack, 4 INT, 12 PBU, 3 FF

Outlook: Evan Williams, the younger brother of Bennett Williams, is one of the most intriguing transfer portal additions that the Ducks were able to make this year, and he comes to Eugene slotting as an instant-impact player with a chance to start right away. Had it not been for a knee injury suffered in 2022, Williams would likely be entering the NFL Draft, but instead, he is choosing to spend his final year of eligibility with the Ducks.

Expected Returner: Bryan Addison

2022 Stats: 12 Games | 30 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 2 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FF

Career Stats: 29 Games | 40 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 3 INT, 6 PBU, 1 FF

Outlook: Addison is one of the last remaining draft-eligible guys who we are yet to hear from when it comes to returning for 2023 or not, but I expect him to be back in Eugene for one more year. He has improved a lot of the last season, grabbing two interceptions and turning into a really serviceable defender. Another year with Oregon could be enough to boost his NFL Draft stock.

Expected Returner: Daymon David

Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Stats: 12 Games | 8 tackles

Career Stats: 15 Games | 11 tackles

Outlook: David hasn’t had a huge opportunity to prove himself yet in two seasons with the Ducks, but as a former 4-star recruit in 2021, he provides a high upside and should be able to act as a really nice depth piece this coming season.

Expected Returner: JJ Greenfield

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

2022 Stats: 13 Games | 16 tackles

Career Stats: 15 Games | 19 tackles, 1 FF

Outlook: Much like David, Greenfield hasn’t had a huge opportunity to prove himself in Eugene, but he saw a good amount of playing time in 2022 and should be able to contribute going forward.

Expected Returner: Trejon Williams

Andrew Lee/CSM

2022 Stats: None

Career Stats: None

Outlook: As a true freshman, Williams utilized his redshirt and did not see any game action. He is a former 4-star recruit and could play a role going forward.

Incoming Recruit: 4-star Tyler Turner

Photo Courtesy of Ashton Cozart

247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star (0.8931)

Position Ranking: 36

Outlook: Turner comes to the Ducks as one of the many former Texas recruits on the roster, and he has some nice upside. It is unclear whether or not he will be able to see any part of the field in 2023.

Incoming Recruit: 4-star Kodi DeCambra

Photo Courtesy of Kodi DeCambra

247Sports Composite Rating: 4-star (0.9023)

Position Ranking: 30

Outlook: DeCambra is the highest-rated safety in Oregon’s 2023 class, and he provides some high upside in the secondary. Like Turner, it’s unclear whether or not he will be able to see any part of the field in 2023.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire