Oregon's worst season (4-8) since 1991 (3-8) led to a coaching change. Yet, the Ducks' cupboard is hardly bare for new coach Willie Taggart. We will take a position-by-position look at what the new coaching staff will have to work with while trying to turn things around in 2017.
Today: Wide receivers.
Key losses: Devon Allen, after suffering a season-ending knee injury at Nebraska, announced that he would focus 100 percent on track and field and winning a gold medal in 2020. Senior Dwayne Stanford, lost for the year at Washington State, is gone. Redshirt junior Jalen Brown announced via Twitter that he plans to transfer.
What we know: Carrington's return is good news only if he matures into a leader that matches his talent. If not, he could run into trouble with new coach Willie Taggart's quest to restore discipline to the Ducks. Carrington is super talented and could improve his draft stock with a productive season and a shift in the attitude department. His 43 receptions for 606 yards and five touchdowns (tied) led the team in 2016.
Nelson contributed 52 receptions for 554 yards and five touchdowns. He should continue to thrive in Taggart's offense.
After these two...
What we don't know: Remember when Oregon had Carrington, Nelson, Allen, Stanford, Addison and Brown in 2015? That group was stacked with talent. This group? Not so much. At least not with proven talent.
But, let's not forget that in 2014 the Ducks returned the least amount of receiver production in 20 years and then discovered an embarrassment of riches despite Addison missing the season with a knee injury. Maybe that could happen again with the current group of young receivers.
Mitchell, a four-star recruit in 2016, flashed some open-field running ability as a punt returner late in the season, but he caught just two passes for nine yards. Ofodile, a four-star recruit in 2015, got his feet went last season, but caught just one pass for eight yards. Kane, a three-star defensive back recruit in 2014, moved to wide receiver in 2015 and has yet to make a reception. Eugenio, a walk-on, frequently was listed on the two-deep depth chart also didn't make a reception.
New receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty has his work cut out for him in the department of developing depth. It's safe to say that without Brown, the Ducks will need both Mitchell and Ofodile to emerge in 2017.
Even if they do, the Ducks could still need a freshman recruit, or two, to contribute in order to make it through the season. The Ducks have received verbal commitments from four-star recruit Jaylen Redd and two three-star receiver recruits, Johnny Johnson III and Darrian McNeal.
Final word: The Ducks should be fine at this position as long as they don't suffer serious injuries. Counting on freshmen could be dicey. Best-cased scenario is that Mitchell and Ofodile live up to their potential.
Position grade: C. The depth enjoyed from 2014 through 2016 is gone and one of the two returning starters has been proven to be unreliable at times. That makes this an average group. For now.
Next up: Offensive line.