Players to watch in the 2019 Oregon football spring game.
Penei Sewell, Offensive Lineman
Sophomore Penei Sewell had a short but consistent freshman year with the Ducks last season. The left tackle protected Herbert’s blind side before his season was cut short by a high ankle injury suffered against Washington. Sewell returned just in time to start in the RedBox Bowl yet could not find his edge while allowing two sacks during Oregon’s win over Michigan State.
When Sewell was injured, offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton moved to left tackle to fill the void. Now, the Ducks will be missing Throckmorton this weekend as he recovers from his own ankle injury suffered in the Redbox Bowl. But with four other returning starters, Sewell and the offensive line should exhibit a familiar rhythm this weekend.
Jaylon Redd, Wide Receiver
With Justin Herbert’s go-to receiver Dillon Mitchell forgoing his senior season to declare for the NFL Draft, Herbert will need to rely on remaining wide outs, including returning starter Jaylon Redd. The sophomore completed the 2018 season with 38 receptions for 433 yards over 13 games. With five receiving touchdowns, Redd was among the highest-scoring receivers on the team, second to Mitchell. As the top returning receiver for the Ducks, Redd will be expected to help lead the Oregon offense. Under the direction of new wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight, the receiving team will test their chemistry with Herbert during the spring game.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, Defensive Lineman
Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, and highest-ranked recruit in Oregon football history, will make his debut with the Ducks during Saturday’s spring game. Thibodeaux had 54 sacks over four years and was named the USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year. The freshman will rely on support from returning defensive linemen Jordon Scott, Gus Cumberlander and Austin Faoliu. The defensive line has been working with new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos since the start of spring practice. Thibodeaux’s performance this weekend may preview his future impact on the Pac-12.
La’Mar Winston Jr., Outside Linebacker
The loss of graduating senior outside linebackers Justin Hollins and Jalen Jelks positions La’Mar Winston Jr. to take on a more prominent role going into the 2019 season. The senior finished last season with a total of 40 tackles, 10 of which occurred during Oregon’s defense-heavy postseason win over Michigan State. Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, the Ducks have been working with new linebackers coach Ken Wilson. As one of the only regular starting linebackers returning, along with Troy Dye, Winston Jr. will continue to be a leader for the Oregon defense.