Photo by Andrew Giesemann
Oregon Football

Breakout Candidates: No 1

August 4, 2019

We did it. We finally did it. Down to the last breakout candidate of our top 15. And I only missed it by a couple days. I was hoping to be done just before camp started. 

But not bad considering I started the series in early July. 

But here we are. The final candidate ready for your viewing pleasure. However I’m throwing a curveball at you on this one. I don’t have just one candidate for No. 1. I have two. Which means it’s more of a 1A and 1B. 

Now let’s get right into it. And best of all, we have one on defense and one on offense. 

15. Brandon Dorlus

14. Dru Mathis

13. Malaesala Aumavae

12. Jaron Waters

11. MJ Cunningham

10. Darrian Felix

9. Steven Jones

8. Mycah Pittman

7. Kayvon Thibodeaux

6. Mykael Wright

5. Bryan Addison

4. Bryson Young

3. DJ Johnson

2. Juwan Johnson

1A: Austin Faoliu

I know right, hardly an unknown to Oregon fans. But bear with me. I say to Oregon fans because in my opinion, not many people outside of Eugene have a true understanding of who he is. 

Although PFF (Pro Football Focus) graded him out pretty highly, that didn’t really move the needle nationally or even regionally. Faoliu also only made six starts last season, which doesn’t peg him as a breakout performer. He showed up in a few games but didn’t carry the weight of some other guys like Jordon Scott on a week to week basis. 

I’m not knocking him. In fact, quite the opposite. On a list full of guys looking primed to breakout, I’m saying Austin will have a big year. Huge year. 

When it’s all said and done at the end of the season, I think he’ll end up on the Pac-12 first team as a defensive end. He’ll have the benefit of the multiple-front defensive aligments, playing alongside Jordon Scott coupled with the additions of Kayvon Thibodeaux and DJ Johnson. All of them will demand attention of their own helping Faoliu see an easier path to the quarterback. 

Calling it now, Faoliu will lead this team in sacks this season. He’ll also play his way into some serious NFL consideration entering his senior season.

1B: Cam McCormick

I think many of you were already expecting this one. And it's a no-brainer.

I mean injuries killed off his sophomore season before things even got started. His redshirt freshman year showed glimpses of his potential that Oregon fans excited for his sophomore campaign.

He’s back and so far it sounds like he’s ready to roll. Although limited to date by an ankle injury, it doesn’t sound like anything that will keep him from being a factor this season. 

As poor as the receiver play was last season, it really wasn’t helped out by the tight end group either. Although Jacob Breeland is a returning vet, he has yet to take over a game outside of a few big catches. Justin Herbert is going to need a dependable tight end in this offense and McCormick fits the bill. He’s big, strong and fast. And we also know this staff will be expecting any tight end on the field to block.

I’m calling it now, I think McCormick finishes with 5 receiving touchdowns. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s going to be big for this team. And with Oregon hoping to spread the rock this year with several capable receivers, 5 touchdowns might actually lead the team in receiving touchdowns, or be darn close to it.

McCormick is primed like Faoliu, Johnson and Johnson and others to make a huge impact on this team this season. 

Tags: Football, Oregon
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.