Chip Kelly made the right decision to stay at the University of Oregon, and it should have came as an easy one. Chip is essentially a god in Eugene and recruits love him as we all saw last year with De’Anthony Thomas. Nobody will ever want Chip Kelly to leave Oregon and with his early success, he can easily build a legacy in Eugene. The National Championship is in Kelly’s eyes and they definitely have a chance at making the big game this year.
Oregon had two big blows by losing both LaMichael James and Darron Thomas to the NFL draft. James will go down as the greatest running back and one of the greatest players in Ducks history. He will be loved from Ducks fans for ages and will not be forgotten. Thomas had two years as Oregon’s quarterback and brought them to the National Championship and won a Rose Bowl. His decision to enter the draft will never make sense as he was just hitting the top of his game, and had a real shot at winning a National Championship. He will need great workouts for NFL teams and is most likely around a 5th round draft pick. Losing the two of them will hurt, but not kill the Ducks.
Even with losing James, the backfield is loaded. Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas will be bolting down the field and wearing down defenses all game. Barner packs more of a punch than Thomas, but is also a burner with his speed. De’Anthony Thomas aka The Black Mamba is easily one of the fastest if not the fastest player in the nation. He will make defenses look silly and as he is running with ease, nobody will be catching him. The Black Mamba averaged over a first down every carry, and we should be looking for freaky stats from him again this year.
The receiving core will be losing their top receiver in Lavasier Tuinei, and their tight end David Paulsen. The Ducks have plenty of weapons to throw to even with the loses. Josh Huff is always a deep threat, and Rahsaan Vaughn will break out this year. New tight end Colt Lyerla is a huge target and a star in the making. The biggest threat to throw to will be De’Anthony Thomas coming out of the backfield or at the slot. Getting the ball in his hands in the open field is a touchdown waiting to happen.
The defense is never the strongest part of their team, but they are bringing back captain and leading tackler John Boyett. Boyett will anchor a secondary that sometimes was burned last year. However, the loss of Cliff Harris threw some young defenders into the fire and they now have experience under their belt. Look for bigger things from them this year.
Obviously the biggest question mark is their new quarterback. The starter going into the season will be last year’s backup Bryan Bennett. Bennett showed promising skills in limited action by throwing six touchdowns and zero interceptions and also showed speed by averaging over eight yards per carry. Bennett has the weapons in the backfield and on the outside to be very successful as long as he keeps care of the ball. Chip also brought in a very talented quarterback recruiting class this year.
Ultimately Chip Kelly made the right decision by passing up the NFL and staying at Oregon as the Ducks head coach. He has a great chance to play in the National Championship with all his weapons, and if they can beat USC in Pasadena, the road to the National Championship is inevitable. Chip needs to grow as a legend in Eugene and just keep winning the day.