Dan Lanning has stuffed his team to the gills with talented players from all across the country. A handful have hit the end of their eligibility or declared for the NFL Draft.
Many have decided to stick around for one more year though, and 2024 should be quite a good year for the Ducks.
With so much talent and depth at nearly every position, who should get the starting jobs? Who proved themselves in 2023 as a valid candidate?
Here are the three players I think truly showed that they can grow, compete, and win ahead of the upcoming 2024 season.
The younger brother of beloved Justin Herbert, Patrick Herbert has struggled to find his place on the Ducks’ roster. Despite joining Oregon’s team in 2019, he did not see the field until 2022.
Herbert utilized a redshirt in his true freshman year. He then missed any game time in the 2020 shortened season due to injury and sat out all of 2021 with another injury sustained during fall training camp.
Once 2022 rolled around, Herbert was still only in his sophomore year of eligibility. He appeared in all 13 games that season but only caught six passes for 95 yards and a singular touchdown.
The stats produced in his first season of actually playing for the Ducks led to some raised eyebrows from the usually ever-loyal fanbase.
Accustomed to seeing jaw-dropping performances from someone with the last name Herbert on their jersey, fans were disappointed by the tight end’s games.
The time between his sophomore and junior years seemed to pay off. Herbert stormed into a starting position in 2023 with 15 catches for 196 yards. He scored three touchdowns for the Ducks and even had a 49-yard reception against Arizona State.
Herbert seemed to find his footing, and maybe remember his hands, this past season and it certainly helped him secure his spot as a starting tight end alongside Terrence Ferguson.