clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2019 Oregon Ducks Spring Preview: Linebackers

New, 8 comments
Oregon v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Ducks have begun spring practice with the Spring Game coming on April 20th. How will the Ducks shake out on the depth chart during spring camp? Will there be any impact freshmen looking to take jobs from the upperclassmen? In this post, we’ll take a look at the linebackers who were less than ideal during the 2018 season.

2018 Depth Chart

Outside Linebacker

1. Justin Hollins 6’5 241 Senior

2. Adrian Jackson 6’2 218 Freshman

3. Matt Christman 6’2 252 Junior

4. D.J. Johnson 6’5 255 Sophomore (redshirt?)

5. Chris Beedles 6’2 205 Freshman

Inside Linebacker

1. Troy Dye 6’4 224 Junior

2. Isaac Slade-Matautia 6’1 220 Redshirt Freshman

3. MJ Cunningham 6’2 229 Freshman

4. Nick Wiebe 6’1 220 Freshman

Inside Linebacker

1. Sampson Niu 6’1 212 Sophomore

2. Kaulana Apelu 5’10 208 Senior

3. Adrian Jackson

4. Nate Heaukulani 6’0 218 Junior

Outside Linebacker

1. La’Mar Winston 6’2 233 Junior

2. Keith Simms 6’3 227 Sophomore

3. Adrian Jackson

4. Isaiah Pitre 6’4 217 Freshman

5. Avery Burt 6’1 235 Freshman

What happened during the season?

  • Troy Dye led the team in tackles with 117. Kaulana Apelu was second in tackles with 65.
  • Justin Hollins was third on the team with 64 tackles but he led them in sacks with sacks (6.5) and also led with 14.5 tackles for loss.
  • The inside linebacker unit were inconsistent at best, horrifically poor at worst. It was nearly a guaranteed automatic touchdown in coverage it seems. Even Dye had his bouts of consistency issues. Missed tackles were the biggest culprits. The development seemed stagnated.
  • The good thing is that nearly everyone on the two deep received some major playing time so no one is completely untested.
  • The outside ‘backers were a little better than the inside linebackers for the duration of the season. They were much more potent in the pass rush and consistently in the screen on pass plays.

2019 Depth Chart (Spring)

Outside Linebacker

1. D.J. Johnson Sophomore

2. Adrian Jackson Sophomore

3. Matt Christman Senior

4. Anthony Booker Redshirt Freshman

5. Ge’Mon Eaford Freshman (early enrollee)

6. Isaiah Pitre Redshirt Freshman

Inside Linebacker

1. Troy Dye Senior

2. M.J. Cunningham Redshirt Freshman

3. Adrian Jackson

4. Dru Mathis Junior (JUCO / EE)

5. Nate Heaukulani Senior

Inside Linebacker

1. Sampson Niu Junior

1A. ISM RS Sophomore

3. Nick Wiebe Redshirt Freshman

Outside Linebacker

1. La’Mar Winston, Jr Senior

2. Keith Simms Junior

3. Andrew Johnson, Jr Redshirt Freshman

4. Matt Christman

5. Ge’Mon Eaford

6. Avery Burt Redshirt Freshman

What happened during the offseason and what can we expect?

  • Justin Hollins and Kaulana Apelu saw their college eligibility expire after the 2018 season. Hollins participated in the 2019 East-West Shrine Game and the Scouting Combine. He stood out at both events and has an NFL future.
  • The Ducks have had to replace both linebacker coaches as former DC Jim Leavitt was relieved of his duties and Cort Dennison left for a promotion at Louisville. New DC Andy Avalos will take the reins at inside linebacker and Ken Wilson from Washington State will take the outside.
  • Troy Dye contemplated declaring for the draft but ultimately decided to return to school for his senior season.
  • Oregon signed a total of five linebackers in the 2019 class, two of which were early enrollees, Ge’Mon Eaford and Dru Mathis.
  • Everyone else minus Hollins and Apelu returns for the 2019 season. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate as the linebackers in general were consistently inconsistent.
  • It remains to be seen how new DC Andy Avalos will deploy his linebackers in the new scheme.
  • I fully expect the Niu/ISM battle to go down to the wire until the first game of the season.
  • The projected starters have a ton of experience so getting some reps for the younger players wouldn’t be too bad of an idea for Coach Avalos early on.
  • Andrew Johnson, Jr won’t win Pac-12 DPOY but will make an impact as a special teams player.
  • I listed DJ Johnson as an EDGE type as he’s reportedly bulked up to 270 pounds.

Post Spring Depth Chart Prediction

Outside Linebacker

1. DJ Johnson

2. Jackson

3. Booker

4. Eaford

5. Mase Funa Freshman (redshirt)

6. Pitre

Inside Linebacker

1. Dye

2. Jackson

3. Cunningham

4. Heaukulani

Inside Linebacker

1. ISM

2. Niu

3. Mathis

4. Wiebe

Outside Linebacker

1. Winston, Jr

2. Simms

3. Andrew Johnson, Jr

4. Christman

5. Burt

6. Isaac Townsend freshman (redshirt)

7. Treven Ma’ae freshman (redshirt)