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Safety: 2018 Spring Recap + Fall Preview

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Let us forever forget about 3rd-and-Pellum

Oregon v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Joe Salave’a seems to have the defensive line shored up, but how will Keith Heyward’s Safeties fare this season? Will the starting roles go to the most experienced or will there emerge a new talent?

Pre Spring Depth Chart

  1. Ugochukwu Amadi - 5’9 - 201 - Senior
  2. Mattrell McGraw - 5’10 - 196 - Redshirt Senior
  3. Brady Breeze - 6’0 - 195 - Redshirt Sophomore
  4. Steve Stephens - 6’0 - 187 - Freshman
  5. Sean Killpatrick - 5’11 - 196 - Redshirt Junior
  6. Billy Gibson - 6’1 - 172 - Sophomore

Nick Pickett - 6’1 - 200 - Sophomore (injured)

Jevon Holland - (Did not enroll early.)

Analysis
- Ugochukwu Amadi will be the anchor of this unit after his impressive performance last year. He made the switch before last year’s UCLA game and has really come into his own after a couple of up-and-down years at corner. The senior has even made Sports Illustrated’s top 100 players at No. 96. He also contributed to one of Darren Carrington’s most memorable plays at Autzen.

- Amadi is just about a sure thing at starting safety, but the starting position next to him is completely open. The real question: does Cristobal go with an experienced upperclassmen or an untested talent? Mattrell McGraw is entering his fifth year as a Duck, however, sophomore Brady Breeze was consistently excellent during spring practices and should be considered a veteran presence of the secondary. Then there are of course some very talented incoming freshman: Steve Stephens, Jevon Holland and Bryan Addison.

-Pickett has been plagued by a shoulder injury he suffered during high school. He’s had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum and looks to return this fall. He could play a major role this season.

  • Post Spring Depth Chart
  1. Ugochukwu Amadi
  2. Brady Breeze
  3. Nick Pickett
  4. Mattrell McGraw
  5. Billy Gibson
  6. Sean Killpatrick

  • Wildcard

Bryan Addison

  • Redshirt Candidates

Jevon Holland

Steve Stephens

Analysis

-Amadi has the talent and experience to become the star of the safeties, however, if disaster were to strike at corner (either Lenoir has regressed or a slew of injuries) then it’s possible Amadi would return to cornerback. That being said, it’s far more likely we see Amadi at safety.

-Hot Take Alert: I think Brady Breeze wins a starting role. During spring practices, Breeze was averaging an interception every practice. With a season under his belt and three warm-up games to solidify his knowledge of the system, the Ducks could have a very reliable starting duo of Amadi and Breeze.

- Bryan Addison is the wildcard of 2019. Will he join Oregon’s wide receivers or will he be on the defensive side of the ball? If he continues as a defensive back, will he see time immediately at safety? You get the feeling that regardless of what position (or positions) he lands on, Addison will see the field this season.

Redshirt Candidates: Now that players can play four games without burning a redshirt, Oregon has a lot of possibilities this upcoming season. Cristobal should use the first three games to test out as many safeties as is reasonable. Certainly Amadi should start, but if the games get out of hand in Oregon’s favor, they will serve as perfect live-try-outs for young players like Addison, Holland, and Stephens. The best of the three can join the rotation and the rest can utilize the new rule to learn the system.