The Oregon Ducks are fresh off the team’s first-ever BCS National Championship, and it’s clear that they’re here for the long haul. That being said, I’ll be bringing be you features on Oregon players ready to emerge for a big 2011 season, leading all the way up to the NCAA’s most anticipated season-opening showdown in recent memory when the Ducks and LSU Tigers meet in Cowboys Stadium on September 3.
Without further ado, here’s the first guy on the list:
Josh Kaddu, Linebacker, Senior
The Ducks took a major hit when future star Kiko Alonso was arrested back in May, and although he plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of trespassing and criminal mischief, allowing him to get away without serving any jail time, he was suspended indefinitely by Oregon’s head man Chip Kelly. Although he’s been practicing – and doing extremely well – he remains ineligible until Kelly reinstates him, which may never even happen.
Because of that, Oregon will turn to senior linebacker Josh Kaddu to fill the void left by the graduation of Casey Matthews – a void that was supposed to be filled by Alonso.
Similar to Alonso, Kaddu has been in legal problems revolving around alcohol consumption. Back in March of 2010, Kaddu was one of many Oregon players to run into trouble with the law. At only 19 years old, Kaddu was cited by Eugene police for underage drinking. He was released after being cited, and Kelly chose not to suspend him.
Now, Kaddu is entering his senior season with a lot on the line. The Ducks absolutely need him to step up and be a major contributor, and he’s certainly been primed to do so. Kaddu was going to have a starting job at one of the linebacker positions anyway, but the loss of Alonso makes his job that much more important.
Kaddu was supposed to redshirt as a freshman in 2008, but injuries forced the Ducks to burn it five games into the season to fill a void on special teams. The youngster from Vacaville, California went on to five tackles in six games. As a sophomore in 2009, Kaddu appeared in seven games, accumulating 21 tackles before a foot injury forced his season to end prematurely.
In Oregon’s BCS National Championship run in 2010, Kaddu started all 13 games for the Ducks. He finished the year fifth on the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss. His best performances came against USC and Stanford, arguably two of Oregon’s most important regular season victories.
But the 2011 season will bring with it new challenges, challenges that Kaddu must overcome. The loss of Matthews is a huge one; he was the anchor of the Oregon defense and was a true leader for the Ducks. The graduation of Spencer Paysinger and Talmadge Jackson also hurt the Ducks. Oregon also lost one of the nation’s best cornerbacks in Cliff Harris, who was suspended by Kelly for at least the opening game against LSU – so Kaddu will clearly have to lead the Oregon defense in a game that has huge national title implications.
At 6’3, 230 pounds, the senior linebacker leads all Oregon linebackers with a 32.5 inch vertical, which should bode well to help a secondary that will have to face some extremely talented passing offenses this season, most notably Stanford, Arizona, and USC.
Kaddu was already named one of sixteen “squad leaders” for the Ducks in 2011. As a leader, he took part in a leadership seminar on July 18, which featured prominent guest speakers, including former NFL head man Tony Dungy.
The Ducks will certainly have plenty of amazingly talented athletes to make up a swarming defense, but Josh Kaddu will have to the anchor in the middle, providing Oregon both a big boost of defensive talent and a vocal leader to challenge his teammates to step up in dire situations.
Ducks Ready to Emerge in 2011:
- Josh Kaddu, LB
- Josh Huff, WR
- DeAnthony Thomas, Hybrid
- David Paulson, TE
Have any thoughts of your own? You’re encouraged to comment at the bottom of the article!
© 2011 Max Price – All Rights Reserved.
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Max also covers the Portland Trail Blazers and Pacific University Boxers for joltleft.com. In addition, he covers all sports in Oregon for OregonSportsNews.com.
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