Welcome to our newest series “10 for 10,” which will help us countdown to kick off. The Ducks are just 10 days away from opening day vs Southern Utah at Autzen Stadium. For the next 10 days, we will be posting our projections for the upcoming season.
Let’s get started, here is the No. 10 projection of the 2017 season:
#10 - JUSTIN HOLLINS AKA “THE SACK MASTER”
Defensive end Justin Hollins will lead Oregon in sacks with 12 this year. Following a 2016 season that saw him start all 12 games at defensive end, Hollins is looking to make more of an impact with defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and company.
The hybrid junior will flourish in Leavitt’s 3-4 defense. The flexibility of the system will allow him the freedom he desires to thrive. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, prepare for a major impact to be made by Hollins.
Head coach Willie Taggart has been equally impressed with the effort and play-making abilities of his hybrid talent. The junior has earned the praised of everyone around the program this fall training camp.
“He’s looking good,” Taggart said with a smile. “He’s a playmaker. We got to know where he’s at all the time.”
At 6-foot-5, Hollins has an imposing presence on the field. Nevertheless, his athletic ability and explosiveness give him an opportunity to be special and his coach knows it.
I’ve been really impressed with him. I didn’t get a chance to see him much in spring, but he got noticed this training camp.
After registering just three sacks last year, it’s quite the leap to 12 in the next campaign. But, that is the type of talent Hollins possesses. Brady Hoke was definitely not the right guy to find the potential in this giant.
Overall, 2016 was a struggle for the entire defense. The Most Outstanding Player on Oregon’s defense (true freshman Troy Dye) led the team with just 6.5 sacks. That exhibits the lack of production.
Following an offseason that saw Hollins miss the 2017 Spring Game, the defensive end wants to make up for lost time. This season, with a host of athletic playmakers on the defense side, Hollins has an opportunity to break out in a big way.
I can see him collecting a total of six sacks in the first three non-conference meetings of 2017. He put together a four-sack performance against Oregon’s second team offensive line during the first live scrimmage of fall camp. If he could do that vs Oregon’s second unit, then Southern Utah could be in more trouble than we expected.
Hollins will conclude 2017 with six sacks in Pac-12 play, alongside a five-tackle, two-sack regular season finale against Oregon State in the Civil War.
He could head for greener pastures at the next level, especially with his freaky athleticism. However, I have a feeling he wants to stick around and see what’s in store for next season. Regardless, everyone will be watching after his breakthrough this year.
THE AARON JUDGE RULING
Overall, Hollins will conclude the season with 12 sacks. He will amass 37 tackles, alongside six pass deflections and 11.5 tackles for loss. Hollins will force two fumbles and recover another. Nevertheless, his biggest impact will be made psychologically on opposing quarterbacks. The former outside linebacker will create havoc for opposing offenses with 19 QB pressures. Everything is bigger in Texas and the Arlington product will illustrate that in 2017.
Part 2 of 10 for 10 will be published on Thursday, right here!