Projected Oregon Ducks depth chart ahead of spring football practice

Head coach Dan Lanning has brought a bounty of talent to Eugene. Where will the Ducks fall in the Oregon depth chart as they head toward spring practice?

Nov 24, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Tez Johnson (15) signals first down.
Nov 24, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Tez Johnson (15) signals first down. / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
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Ducks' defensive lineup

Defensive tackle

Sep 10, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Houston Cougars defensive lineman Jamaree Caldwell (93).
Sep 10, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars defensive lineman Jamaree Caldwell (93). / Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter: Ja'Maree Caldwell
  • Depth: Keyon Ware-Hudson, Aydin Breland, Terrance Green

Four-star transfer Ja'Maree Caldwell is going to become an integral part of the Ducks' defensive line. At Houston in 2023, Caldwell appeared in 388 defensive snaps and brought down 27 tackles. While Ware-Hudson has experience in defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi's system, I think Caldwell will take over the starting job.

Defensive end

Jordan Burch
USC v Oregon / Tom Hauck/GettyImages
  • Starter: Jordan Burch
  • Depth: Johnny Bowens III, Aydin Breland

Burch transferred to Oregon from South Carolina ahead of the 2023 season and immediately became a star for the Ducks. He racked up 34 total tackles and 3 sacks last season to help secure his spot as the starting DE in 2024. While Johnny Bowens III will make an incredible second string at the position, Burch has earned the starting job.

Nose tackle

Popo Aumavae
Colorado v Oregon / Tom Hauck/GettyImages
  • Starter: A’Mauri Washington
  • Depth: Jericho Johnson, Xadavien Sims

In a position that lost a lot of talent after the 2023 season, Washington will be filling a huge gap in the Duck defense. Having to replace Popo Aumavae is a tall task but I think that Washington will win the starting spot this spring. However, as spring turns to summer and then into fall, I wouldn't be surprised if a younger Duck or a transfer fills the role.

Edge rusher

Jan 1, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei (10) against the
Jan 1, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei (10) against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter: Matayo Uiagalelei
  • Depth: Ashton Porter, Blake Purchase, Teitum Tuioti

Uiagalelei had some really good games in 2023 despite being a second-string edge rusher. With his best showing in the Fiest Bowl against Liberty, I think that Uiagalelei helped secure the starting spot heading into spring. Porter and Purchase were backups in 2023 as well but still have some growth to complete before becoming starters for the Ducks.

Linebacker(s)

Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Detailed view of the jersey of Oregon Ducks linebacker Jeffrey Bassa (2).
Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Detailed view of the jersey of Oregon Ducks linebacker Jeffrey Bassa (2). / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter(s): Jeffrey Bassa, Jestin Jacobs
  • Depth: Jerry Mixon, Devon Jackson, Bryce Boettcher

A party should have been thrown in Autzen Stadium when Jeff Bassa announced he was returning for another year with the Ducks. As one of Oregon's defensive stars in 2023, Bassa will join forces with Jestin Jacobs to make an elite linebacker package.

Cornerback(s)

Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies cornerback Jabbar Muhammad (1).
Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies cornerback Jabbar Muhammad (1). / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter(s): Jabbar Muhammad, Kam Alexander
  • Depth: Jahlil Florence, Dontae Manning, Rodrick Pleasant, Daylen Austin

One of the biggest transfer portal wins for Dan Lanning was locking down Jabbar Muhammad from the Washington Huskies. One of the most elite corners in the nation last season, Muhammad is going to dominate for the Ducks. Combining forces with UTSA transfer Kam Alexander, Oregon's secondary is shaping up nicely.

Safety/ies

Nov 12, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA;  Kansas State Wildcats safety Kobe Savage (2) makes an interception.
Nov 12, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats safety Kobe Savage (2) makes an interception. / Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter(s): Kobe Savage, Tysheem Johnson
  • Depth: Collin Gill, Tyler Turner, Kodi DeCambra

Another score from the transfer portal was for Kansas State Wildcat Kobe Savage. Joining Oregon returner Tysheem Johnson in the secondary, I'm not sure anyone will be able to land a pass against the Ducks' defense.

Nickel

Brandon Johnson, Kevin Concepcion
NC State v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages
  • Starter: Brandon Johnson
  • Depth: Nikko Reed, Sione Laulea, Khamari Terell,

One last transfer to complete the Oregon defense is former Duke Blue Devil Brandon Johnson. A utility player who can perform well in the slot or nickel position, I think that Johnson will make a perfect fit for the Ducks. Filling in the final spot in the starting secondary positions, Johnson should be a star in Eugene.


Special teams

Kicker

Nov 19, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon State Beavers kicker Atticus Sappington (36).
Nov 19, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon State Beavers kicker Atticus Sappington (36). / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter: Atticus Sappington
  • Depth: Grant Meadors, Andrew Boyle, Gage Hurych

Transferring from right up the road, former Oregon State Beaver Atticus Sappington will come to Eugene with the most collegiate kicking experience on the roster. While Meadors and Boyle have been on the Ducks' roster before, I don't think they can live up to Sappington's skills and experience.

Punter

Dec 28, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks punter Ross James (92) punts.
Dec 28, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks punter Ross James (92) punts. / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Starter: Ross James
  • Depth: Luke Dunne, Tyler Kinsman,

James has been Oregon's starting punter for a few years now. While he has done a fine job at the position and will most likely be the starter this spring, I wouldn't be surprised if Australian Luke Dunne steals the show over the summer and heading into the fall.

Long snapper

Oregon long snapper Luke Basso works out with the Ducks.
Oregon long snapper Luke Basso works out with the Ducks. / Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA
  • Starter: Luke Basso
  • Depth: Colson Brunner, Nick Duzansky

Another returner for the Ducks' special teams roster, Luke Basso has been a sure piece of the Oregon lineup. I don't believe that Duzansky nor Brunner will be able to usurp the starting job from Basso.

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