A-list position battles: Oregon

Fourth in a series taking a look at top position competitions this fall.

Oregon: Cornerback

(You thought this would be all about quarterback -- Nate Costa vs. Darron Thomas -- eh? Well that is, by a HUGE margin, the Ducks No. 1 competition. That's so obvious, though, and been covered so relentlessly, we thought we'd check in with another one of the few areas where a starting spot appears to be up for grabs).

Why the competition? Three spots in the secondary appear mostly set: safeties John Boyett and Eddie Pleasant and cornerback Talmadge Jackson. But one corner spot remains open.

Candidates: Junior Anthony Gildon (6-1, 178), sophomore Cliff Harris (5-11, 170), freshman Terrance Mitchell (6-0, 175) and redshirt freshman Avery Patterson (5-10, 173).

The skinny: Gildon started three games last year, including the Rose Bowl (he didn't have a terribly good game) and recorded seven tackles. Harris took off his redshirt at midseason and, while starting just two games, led the Ducks with eight pass breakups. He also grabbed an interception and recorded 19 tackles. Mitchell, who enrolled early, was a revelation this spring, and secondary coach John Neal at one point told the Eugene Register-Guard that he and Patterson would be the starters if a game was scheduled that week. Of course, that was while Jackson sat out spring practices after offseason shoulder surgery. There's a wealth of talent here and lots of guys will be in the rotation. But everybody wants to be listed first. Harris might be the frontrunner, but it seems like coaches are challenging him to step up.