Can you feel spring creeping in? To me, crisp air, flowers blooming and birds chirping means one thing… Oregon football spring practices are about to begin. The first of Oregon's 15 spring practices will begin this Saturday. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal divulged injury updates, coaching changes and true freshmen who have enrolled early. Caution, the list of early enrollees from Oregon's historic 2019 recruiting class may make you count down the days until opening kickoff.
INJURY UPDATE FOR SPRING PRACTICES
The good news: Tight end Cam McCormick, who suffered a broken bone in his left foot last season, will be a full participant and is expected to be a breakout star this season.
The bad news: Three offensive linemen will be out or limited; senior Calvin Throckmorton (recovering from Red Box Bowl ankle injury), junior Sam Poutasi (recovering from offseason right knee surgery), redshirt freshman Justin Johnson (recovering from left shoulder surgery).
Two starting defensive ends; Austin Faoliu will be out for a week (recovering from minor knee injury) and Cristobal expects Gary Baker to miss "about half" of spring practices (recovering from ankle injury).
Quarterback Cale Millen, a highly anticipated true freshman who enrolled in January, will be "eased in" over the course of the first week of practice due to a foot injury.
Kicker Adam Stack "had some issues with a hernia," according to Cristobal and is recovering.
New additions: Jovon Bouknight as wide receivers coach, Ken Wilson as linebackers coach and Andy Avalos as defensive coordinator. Avalos will also coach the STUD ends, which is an edge rusher with a similar role to a standup defensive end/outside linebacker.
New roles for existing coaches: Special teams coordinator Bobby Williams will take over coaching the tight ends (previously coached by offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo).
Subtractions: Former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and Oregon parted ways, agreeing on a separation package that will pay him up to $2.5 million.
TRUE FRESHMAN WHO ENROLLED EARLY
Oregon's 2019 highest-rated recruiting class didn't just make history; it filled position needs with top talent that could make an impact as early as the 2019 season.
In January, six true freshmen enrolled early in classes to jumpstart their academic and football careers at Oregon. Four more Ducks will enroll in April to be able join the last 10 spring football practices. Cristobal said those 10 early enrollees are in the mix for playing time. "It's going to show in the rep count that they have," Cristobal said.
January enrollees, already on campus:
Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux; top-rated high school player in the country, the highest ranked commitment in UO program history
Quarterback Cale Millen; the No. 2 player in the state of Washington who competed in the Elite-11, a quarterback-focused camp held by Nike
Wide receiver Josh Delgado; top five wide receiver in the state of Florida
Offensive lineman Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu; Top-ranked junior college player in the country by JCGridiron.com
Linebacker Ge'Mon Eaford; Rated the No. 10 outside linebacker
Linebacker Dru Mathis; Rated the top linebacker and the No. 12 overall junior college prospect by JCGridiron.com
Wide receiver Mycah Pittman; third-highest rated wide receiver to ever sign with Oregon
Tight end Patrick Herbert; lone in-state prospect, fourth highest-ranked tight end prospect to ever sign with Oregon
Cornerback Mykael Wright; highest-rated corner to ever sign with Oregon
Kicker Camden Lewis; three-star prospect with elite leg strength
Oregon spring football part 2 is on how Cristobal plans on fixing UO's dropped passes problem and how the defense will change under new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos.