Oregon Football: Will Patrick Herbert lock up the starting TE job?

Oregon's Patrick Herbert during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 in Eugene, Oregon.Patrick Herbert
Oregon's Patrick Herbert during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 in Eugene, Oregon.Patrick Herbert /

If your last name is Herbert, you’re already in good standing with the Oregon football faithful.

For Patrick Herbert, he’s trying to be more than just “Justin’s little brother” in 2021, fighting for that starting tight end job with the likes of Spencer Webb, Terrance Ferguson, Moliki Matavao, Cam McCormick, and DJ Johnson.

Shaking the “Justin’s little brother” label won’t be easy. Sure, it’s more than OK to point out the obvious that the two are brothers, but Patrick wants to forge his own path.

Luckily for him, he doesn’t play quarterback so the comparisons won’t be unfair from the get-go.

Herbert has the perfect chance to make a name for himself this season as he enters an intense tight end battle, likely between him, Webb, and Ferguson. If he wins the starting job, there’s a good chance he could become one of the top weapons on offense as the Ducks plan to use tight ends more — or at least Mario Cristobal has put more of an emphasis on the position in recruiting.

The former four-star and No. 162 recruit in 247Sports‘ 2019 class has the ideal size and athleticism for the position. He’s 6-5 and 225 pounds and Brandon Huffman of 247Sports compared him to Hayden Hurst, stating that he has plus athleticism at tight end.

The redshirt freshman has all the pieces to be a star in Eugene like his older brother.

Who will win Oregon football’s starting tight end job?

Anyone who has read my preview pieces about the tight ends knows how I feel about Ferguson as a true freshman this season. After watching him break out this spring, I’m a firm believer that he’s a future star in Eugene. That will be put on hold for at least this season, however.

Webb is another talented former four-star at the position and was the No. 8 tight end in the 2018 class. He’s been waiting for his turn, so he may get the early nod based solely on experience.

Herbert, however, raises the ceiling of this offense, ever so slightly. Obviously, a tight end isn’t going to make or break an offense, but a good one can make a world of difference. It can take a ton of pressure off a young quarterback and provide an escape route or even be the focus of some hot routes.

I think Webb gets the start in Week 1, but he and Herbert will split snaps and the latter will secure the starting job by the end of the season.

Oregon is in good hands at this position.

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