Most 2017 signees will spend next year as redshirts or depth-providers on some talented Pac-12 rosters. But a select few will become immediate contributors and names that readers must pay attention to.
Which of the incoming Pac-12 freshmen will make major contributions for their teams in 2017? The Pac-12 blog picks the recruit most likely to make the biggest impact for each team.
Player: WR Jaylon Redd
Why he will make an instant impact: Though he’s listed in ESPN’s recruiting rankings as the No. 14 athlete and played almost every position in high school, the Oregon Ducks listed him as a wide receiver on signing day -- take note of that. The coaching staff wanted to boost its wide receiver corps. With the 2017 recruiting class, the Ducks did just that by signing four wide receivers, including Redd.
Oregon lost four of its top six receivers from a season ago. With Justin Herbert in Season 2 as a quarterback starter, there should be more catches to go around. Redd isn’t the only 2017 signee who should get in on the pass-game action, but his big-play ability and speed could force the hand of the coaching staff to get him on the field early.
If Redd sounds like another wide receiver who recently forced the Ducks' hand to get on the field early, you’re not mistaken. Redd is pretty similar to the Ducks’ No. 2 returning receiver, Charles Nelson, in several ways. Both have that top end speed that can break defenses open. Both have a quickness in tight spaces. Both are a bit undersized (Nelson at 5-foot-9, Redd at 5-foot-8). And yes, both are Florida natives.
ESPN’s scouting report on Redd says he's a "playmaker with the ball in his hands, he can turn the short pass into a big play. Very good ability to cut at top speed and make defenders miss. Is a very savvy player on defense in zone and man coverage." Redd has the potential to be a dangerous threat for this Oregon wide receiver group and with a bit of added bulk and knowledge of the Ducks' scheme, he could be a significant contributor this fall.
And against some Pac-12 North secondaries that have been a bit depleted over the last year due to NFL early entrants and graduations, the Ducks will be looking for as many deep weapons as possible. Herbert will be able to exploit those groups as a sophomore, the Ducks just need to develop enough wide receivers to make sure there are players on the ends of those passes. Look for Redd to be one of those guys.