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Jurrion Dickey is living up to expectations as Ducks’ spring practice begins

The Oregon Ducks are in the tough position of having to replace one of the best players to ever come through Eugene this offseason. Troy Franklin, arguably the No. 1 wide receiver in program history, is heading to the NFL draft later this spring after putting up historic numbers in 2023.

Of course, the Ducks aren’t lacking for talent in the WR room, with guys like Tez Johnson, Traeshon Holden, Gary Bryant Jr., and Evan Stewart all looking to take over as the No. 1 option in 2024. However, it may be a player who is not currently a projected starter, and who only has one catch on his resume that could make the biggest impact going forward.

Redshirt freshman Jurrion Dickey is ready to become a household name.

A year ago, he signed with the Ducks as a 5-star prospect, ranked as the second-best receiver in the nation, and the 18th-best player in the 2023 class. He stands behind only Cameron Colvin as the highest-rated receiver to ever sign with Oregon.

While an injury sidelined him for much of his freshman season, Dickey looks primed for a breakout in 2024.

“He looks like the player we all anticipated he would look like,” Oregon offensive coordinator Will Stein said on Saturday after the Ducks’ second spring practice. “He’s in shape and healthy. I love that kid. He has worked his tail off to get in good shape to go out and produce for us. The sky is the limit for Jurrion, as we all know.”

Talent was never the problem for Dickey. While the knee injury was partly responsible for his limited action a year ago, the understanding of a complicated offensive system also played a part. Oftentimes, fans see a generational talent like Dickey and expect him to be able to contribute right away, but they overlook the necessary intake process for a young player trying to learn a new scheme.

From Year 1 to Year 2, that’s one of the things that has changed the most for Dickey.

“He knows what to do and where to line up,” Dickey said. “When you know what to do and where to line up, you can play fast and play to your ability. When you don’t know where to line up and are looking for help, you can’t play at full speed because you don’t know what route to run. That has nothing to do with his intelligence. Jurrion is an extremely intelligent guy. It’s just new. Now he’s at a point where he gets lined up like that. He knows his routes.”

Of course, knowing what to do and having the ability to do it won’t always be enough. In order for Dickey to see the field and actually have an outsized impact in his redshirt freshman season, he’s going to have to compete at a high level. The Ducks have one of the most talented receiver rooms in the nation, with high-level returners and an elite prospect coming over from Texas A&M in Stewart — the No. 1 WR and No. 6 overall player in the 2022 recruiting class.

Stein sees a path forward for Dickey, though, and a world where he can crack that rotation.

“Just keep competing. When the ball is up in the air, go make the play,” Stein said. “He’s a big-bodied receiver. On 1-on-1 contested catches, we expect him to go catch the ball. It shouldn’t be a 50-50 with him, he should go make the play. That’s what he’s shown. He really took a big step in bowl prep. It was like another 13 practices of spring football going over the base install again. You saw those down-the-field routes develop with him, and with like Troy or Ferg, he’s taking the ball off of defenders’ heads.”

Over the next 13 spring practices, we will get to see and hear how Dickey continues to grow and find a place in the offense. It will all culminate in the annual spring game on April 27th, where fans could be in store for a breakout from one of the most talented WRs that the Ducks have seen in quite some time.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire