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Oregon Football

Position Preview: Tight End

July 1, 2020
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Oregon's tight end room is loaded with players who bring different skill sets to the table. Multiple guys stand 6-5 or taller, and there’s snaps to be earned with the departure of seniors Jacob Breeland and Ryan Bay.

In fact, this position group could be one of the more interesting battles in fall camp, because the pecking order is not obvious going in. So let’s take a look at the five scholarship tight ends who hope to take the next step in 2020.

Spencer Webb

Webb was Oregon's second-leading tight end in receptions behind Breeland, who played in just six games before suffering a season-ending injury. Webb finished the season with 18 catches for 209 yards and 3 touchdowns.

I wrote a player spotlight article on Webb that you can find here: https://scoopduck.com/s/4442/player-spotlight-spencer-webb. The redshirt sophomore, listed at 6-6 and 251 pounds, really flashed his potential at times as a frosh.

Everyone remembers that Week 1 touchdown grab against Auburn; after that play, I thought Webb could be in for a huge season. As it turned out, he didn’t get consistent playing time, but when he had the opportunity he generally made the most of it.

The knock on Webb is that his blocking limitations keep him off of the field. I don’t know if he’ll ever become an elite blocker, but if he improves he could quickly turn into a full-time starter.

Webb is an instant mismatch when he’s on the field, as there aren’t many guys in the Pac-12 who can cover a man with his size and speed. We saw Oregon take advantage of that advantage at times last year, and I bet we see them try to exploit it even more in 2020.

Webb may not yet be a complete tight end, but he should be a huge part of this offense.

Cam McCormick

McCormick is a tough player to properly evaluate.

The 6-5, 255-pound freak athlete from Bend showed just how good he could be as a prep. Things haven’t gone according to plan in college, however; he’s played in just eight games over four years and has 7 catches for 87 yards and 1 touchdown.

The redshirt junior (the NCAA has granted him a sixth year) has been dealing with leg injuries over the past couple of seasons, so it’s hard to say where he’s at from a football perspective. However, he’s been doing his best to again be named the starting tight end.

During practices, McCormick has been super involved from the sideline, and at times he participated in a very limited role. He has all the tools to be a high-level tight end, but with all the time he's missed it’s going to be tough for him to put it all together.

McCormick's health is something I’ll be monitoring once camp starts back up in July. If he’s ready, I would fully expect him to play a big role in this offense.

Hunter Kampmoyer

The senior role player is one reason Oregon had so much success running the ball last year. He may not show up much in the stat sheet, but the 6-4, 245-pound Kampmoyer was critical in the run-blocking department.

The converted defensive lineman is more of a traditional, in-line tight end. He rarely catches passes, but he handles the dirty work.

Take the Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. On Oregon’s opening drive, Kampmoyer had 2 catches for 24 yards over one three-play span. That might seem insignificant, but those catches were crucial in the Ducks' opening what would be a tight game game with a score.

I don’t think Kampmoyer is ever going to get 40 catches in a season, but he thrives in a very defined role. I would expect him to do so again in 2020.

DJ Johnson

Another converted defensive lineman, “The Predator” is a fascinating story. He transferred to Oregon after attending the University of Miami for 1 season and many expected him to be a huge contributor immediately.

Johnson's nickname was fitting, as during practice he would always wow – on a play or two. Those flashes never translated into big-time game performances, but now he has another chance to produce.

The junior's switch to tight end came as a bit of a surprise, but it also made sense given how much young talent Oregon has on the D-line. Johnson has slimmed down a bit, to 6-5 and 258 pounds, although I’m very curious to see what his weight is once camp starts.

Like McCormick, Johnson's stats are tough to project. While it would be great to see him succeed after changing positions, this could go in so many different directions.

Johnson definitely has the requisite size and athleticism. Ultimately, it’ll likely come down to how hard he works and if he’s able to finally put it all together.

Patrick Herbert

In a tight end room is full of physical freaks, the redshirt freshman from Eugene still stands out.

At 6-5 and 251 pounds, big brother Justin anointed him as the most athletic of the Herbert siblings. Still, he played in just one game last year and did not record a catch.

Outside of the hope that he would get to snag a collegiate pass from his older brother, there were almost no expectations for Herbert in 2019 – which was ideal. He needed some time in the weight-lifting program and to get comfortable in college.

Now, fans are hoping to finally see what he looks like on the field. It’s going to be a battle to earn snaps, but I think there’s a chance we see him contribute at some point.

Herbert has looked good when I’ve watched him at practice, and he has the pedigree to be productive. He’s going to need to be able to block if he wants to see the field, but I’m really excited to see what this upcoming season has in store.

Tags: Football, Oregon
 
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