How the potential addition of Gary Bryant Jr. could impact the Ducks; offense
Since the transfer portal opened a few weeks ago, many college football players around the country have packed their bags and begun setting up shop with their new teams. The Oregon Ducks have had some notable signings in the portal this offseason, such as Jordan Burch and Ajani Cornelius, and they added TE Casey Kelly from this most recent portal window as well.
Even though most of the high-quality transfer targets have already signed with new schools, there are still a few gems that have yet to be picked up.
One of those is Gary Bryant Jr, a former 4-star WR that was at USC for three seasons before deciding to it was time to move on. Although he hasn’t announced where he’ll play his 2023 football, 247Sports’ “crystal ball” predicts Bryant to sign with the Ducks later this May.
If 247Sports’ prediction is correct, Bryant could end up being a valuable addition to Oregon’s offense. Following Oregon’s 2023 spring game, WR seems to be a position that could stand to benefit from some added depth. While the top three or four Ducks wideouts look strong going into next season, there are question marks below them on the depth chart.
On 3rd downs last year, one of Bo Nix’s favorite targets was Chase Cota. Cota was targeted frequently largely because of his ability to find soft spots in opposing defenses’ pass coverage. Looking to 2023, Bryant could play a similar role. One of the strongest parts of Bryant’s game is his route-running and ability to get into open spots in the secondary when the opposing defense employs zone coverage. The combination of those two strengths could make Bryant useful for Will Stein in 3rd and 4th down situations next season, much like Cota was in 2022.
Byrant’s best season at USC came in 2021, which was his sophomore season. He finished the year with 579 receiving yards and 44 receptions, seven of which were touchdowns. Bryant seemed poised to have a strong 2022, but with the addition of Lincoln Riley came the addition of new WRs. It is speculated that the added depth at WR is why Bryant chose to redshirt in 2022, and then leave the program for 2023.
Currently, the receivers that show the most promise for the Ducks are Troy Franklin, Kris Hutson, Traeshon Holden, and Tez Johnson. Johnson has blow-you-away speed, Hutson is solid when catching passes thrown over the middle of the field, and Franklin is an all-around talent — expected by some to be taken in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Beyond those three guys, there are a lot of talented, yet unproven players. With three scholarship spots to play around with, it makes sense that the Ducks would go after a WR like Bryant, and if he does end up in Eugene, he could be an impactful player.
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