Oregon football just wrapped up spring practice a couple of weeks ago and now the Ducks will head into the offseason looking like one of the favorites to make the playoff.
Some prominent sites even predict the Ducks will be a top-10 team when the 2021 season starts after winning the Pac-12 last season for a second straight time and adding a wealth of talent to the roster. In fact, the Ducks have the most talented team in school history, arguably, with a handful of their top recruits ever currently on the roster.
After watching the spring game and sifting through storylines over the past month and a half, it’s relatively clear who will become the next breakout stars for the Ducks.
Let’s start with the defensive side of the ball.
Dontae Manning secured the spring game’s only interception and looked solid in place of guys like Mykael Wright and DJ James who missed the scrimmage.
Although James is expected to be CB2 opposite Wright this season, much of the reason for that is his experience. If he doesn’t get that experience last season, is he really a clear starter over Manning? Probably not.
Manning is entering his second season and he was a five-star prospect in 2020 before sitting out most of the season. He will be full-health heading into the fall and if he can avoid the injury bug, he could become one of the best backup options in the conference at cornerback. Heck, I’d be shocked if he didn’t push James for a starting role.
Imagine a duo of Wright and Manning at cornerback. Yeah, most Pac-12 quarterbacks will go to sleep in a cold sweat thinking about throwing against that.