Ed’s Note: Welcome our newest contributor (they just keep coming, don’t they?) to the blog, Drew Eyman. Drew is a junior political science major at the U of O and is a huge Blazers fan — oh, and he likes the Ducks too. Follow Drew on Twitter here.
Oregon’s top recruit going into this season has many passionate Duck fans salivating over his high school highlight reels and potential impact, before he’s even taken a step onto Autzen Stadium’s new turf.
Lache Seastrunk (pronounced “Lake”) is a 5’11” 190 pound lightning bolt with the speed and agility of LaMichael James, but on a slightly larger frame. Also similar to James, Seastrunk is another running back recruit out of the state of Texas. Hailing from Temple High School, this five star recruit was wooed by schools from all over the country, including USC, LSU, and Auburn before finally settling on Chip Kelly’s explosive spread offense. Many have compared him to former USC great Reggie Bush. While that may be a bit of stretch, as Lache has yet to receive his first carry, his ceiling is truly limitless.
The challenge for Chip Kelly is to find the best way to use a true freshman running back at a position where talent isn’t exactly scarce. With sophomore standouts James and Kenjon Barner returning, Seastrunk may find playing time hard to come by. However, he could be deadly on special teams if used alongside Barner on kick returns or back deep as a punt returner, a la Keenan Howry.
Last year Barner was Oregon’s return specialist, but given his breakout performance at tailback, Chip Kelly may deem him too important for the possibility of pulling a Walter Thurmond III – wince 😦 – and use the dynamic threat more so out of the backfield, as lightning to James’, well, lightning. This would open up more of the return responsibilities to Seastrunk – someone I wouldn’t mind seeing with the ball in the open field a few times each Saturday.
The only problem with Seastrunk’s arrival is that he, Barner and James are all quick and relatively small running backs. Now that Legarette Blount has taken his Falcon-punching talents to the NFL, Oregon lacks a big physical running back who can pound it inside when needed. James, Barner, and Seastrunk are all incredibly strong for their size, but when Blount (and Jeremiah Masoli) was sharing the ball carrying responsibilities with James it was an effective change-up in running styles.
This juxtaposition of running styles worked well to keep defenses on their heels, so don’t expect a great power running game this season; however, the Ducks might not need one. With all five starting linemen returning, as well as some of the key reserves, James, Barner, and Seastrunk could form the most explosive backfield tandem in the country. And don’t sleep on Dontae Williams , Josh Huff or my new favorite from the Spring Game, Jide Shinaba.
Now about that quarterback position…