Oregon Football: This is a big year for backup DE Bradyn Swinson

Jan 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon's head coach Mario Cristobal celebrates a fourth down stop against Iowa State during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-Arizona RepublicNcaa Football Oregon At Iowa State
Jan 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon's head coach Mario Cristobal celebrates a fourth down stop against Iowa State during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen-Arizona RepublicNcaa Football Oregon At Iowa State /
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If you’re an Oregon defensive lineman and your name isn’t Kayvon Thibodeaux, chances are you’re being overlooked heading into the 2021 season.

And that includes Bradyn Swinson, a freshman defensive end from Georgia who was ranked the No. 509 recruit in the 2020 class by the 247Sports Composite. He came in as a three-star recruit and at Oregon, that can get you overlooked because of the amount of talent on the roster.

But he’s actually in a very important position heading into the 2021 season. He’s the current projected backup to Heisman candidate and All-American Kayvon Thibodeaux. Being a backup may not normally come with a ton of responsibilities, but if Thibodeaux were to get hurt and miss time, it would be up to Swinson to try and make up for his production.

The 6-5, 250-pound end from Georgia came to Oregon with plenty of athleticism and potential and while he didn’t see the field much as a true freshman, recording three total tackles, he will have an increased role in 2021.

Plus, with Thibodeaux likely in his last season in Eugene, Swinson needs to show that he’s capable of being the starting defensive end before the 2022 season.

Swinson is critical to Oregon football’s future

It may not seem like it, but for Oregon to not see much of a drop-off at defensive end when Thibodeaux leaves, Swinson needs to surpass expectations. He needs to have a big year.

With his big athletic frame, it shouldn’t be that difficult for Swinson to put everything together with the right coaching and mentorship from Thibodeaux, but will he? That’s the million-dollar question.

No one is truly talking about No. 44 ahead of the season, but he’s going to play an important role for the Ducks and he’s the under-the-radar guy to keep an eye on.

If he excels this season, Oregon can feel good about its future at end post-Thibodeaux.

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