Duck sophomore Jacob Breeland will start at tight end for head coach Willie Taggart this season. Breeland is a 6-foot-5 pass-catching product from California that has been waiting patiently for his opportunity since 2015.
We are just 21 days away from Oregon’s first game against Southern Utah on Saturday, September 2 at Autzen Stadium.
If you missed any of my 11-part series projecting the defense, you can find it at ATQ. Now, it’s time for the offensive starter projections for Willie Taggart’s 2017-18 team.
WILLIE TAGGART’S 11
QUARTERBACK - Justin Herbert (Tuesday)
RUNNING BACK - Royce Freeman (Wednesday)
WIDE RECEIVER - Charles Nelson (Thursday)
WIDE RECEIVER - Dillon Mitchell (Friday)
STARTING TIGHT END, JACOB BREELAND
With a wealth of depth at tight end when Breeland arrived on campus, he was redshirted for his freshman campaign. Last season, the TE mix was still muddled for the redshirt freshman with current NFL TE’s Pharaoh Brown and Johnny Mundt on the roster.
Breeland should be the lead guy but has talented competition behind him. He will have to earn a starting spot with more than just catching passes from Justin Herbert. Breeland will have to provide extra protection, especially for the Ducks’ running game.
In 2016, the Mission Viejo native participated in 11 of Oregon’s 12 games. He caught six passes for 123 yards, with an average of 20.5 yards per catch.
Breeland’s best game came against Washington State in October. The tight end led the Ducks in receiving with a team-high 70 yards on two receptions. He secured a career-best 63-yard reception vs the Cougars.
Nevertheless, talented Oregon youngsters Ryan Bay and Cam McCormick have been playing well in fall camp. They’re looking to provide more than depth at the position this year. In fact, they have even caught the eye of their head coach.
“I’ve been really impressed,” Taggart said. “Breeland has done a great job throughout the spring and fall. But, I’ve been really impressed with Bay and Cam McCormick. He’s coming along and playing physical like we want, but also catching the ball and helping us in the passing game.”
THE FINAL VERDICT
Breeland will share playing time with Bay and McCormick to begin 2017 but will emerge at the end of the season as the main man. He will finish with 29 grabs for 315 yards and five touchdowns. Breeland will be a solid source of run-blocking, alongside providing his quarterback with a big red zone target. He will start all 12 games.
Part 6 of Willie Taggart’s Starting 11 series will continue on Sunday.