Leading up to the start of Oregon’s fall camp on Aug. 4, CSNNW.com will preview the Ducks by ranking the Top 25 (or so) most important players entering the season. Spoiler alert: Quarterback Marcus Mariota is not No. 1. Importance here is measured by a a subjective combination of past production, expected production and potential production weighted against replacement options, and how much of an impact a player’s success of failure could have on the overall success of the Ducks in 2014 as they continue to chase an elusive national title.
No. 25: Troy Hill.
Position: Cornerback and nickleback.
Year: Fifth-year senior.
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 175.
Claim to fame: Hill has appeared in 35 games, producing 98 tackles and 16 passes defended, including two interceptions.
Why he is important: The Ducks lost three starters in the defensive backfield including cornerback Terrance Mitchell, now with the Dallas Cowboys.
The mass exodus places a premium on everyone in the secondary with experience, and Hill has oodles. He has started in the past and has excelled as a nickelback. That will likely be his role this season since senior Dior Mathis appears set to start opposite all-world senior, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
This essentially means that Oregon will continue to have at least three experienced, starting-caliber cornerbacks on the roster, which is extremely important in a conference where teams like to spread out defenses and throw the ball a ton.
But should Mathis falter, or either starting cornerback become banged up, the Ducks would have the luxury of being able to lean on Hill while young defensive backs, redshirt freshman Chris Seisay and redshirt sophomore Stephen Amoako continue to develop.
Projected defensive backs depth chart: