Oregon Signing Day steal Charles Nelson earned MVP honors at the Canada vs. USA International Bowl in Arlington, Texas Friday night.
The newest speedy Duck zoomed 90 yards with a second quarter punt return for a td, adding five catches for 56 yards in a 43-7 victory by the U.S. 19-and-under All-Stars versus a squad from the Great White North.
Jalen Jelks, a future defensive lineman for the Webfoots, also played, ejected in the first half after "celebrating" a sack, excited after making a good play. The call was an overreaction.
Nobody's gonna catch that man: Charles Nelson runs through drills at a combine last summer (CHRIS HAYS/ORLANDO SENTINEL). One of the new Oregon Ducks, Nelson was named MVP of the USA-Canada International Bowl Friday night in Arlington, Texas after jetting 90 yards for a td with a second quarter punt.
Nelson displayed good hands and speed in the game, showing himself to be the fastest player on the field on a day where speed made the difference for the Americans. He and Jelks will join the Oregon roster this June. The experience in international competion can only help the young Ducks, who plan to be roommates in Eugene.
I'm still amazed that this guy, whose home is about as far from Eugene as you can get in the lower 48, suddenly appeared as a target in late January, visited on the 24th and signed on NSD. He was long thought to be a strong Notre Dame lean, with Florida possibility, and offers from MSU, WV, GT and others. I would guess his 3 star rating is due to the injury his junior season, cuz this guy can fly in football and track. That he got hotboxed by 8 USC coaches the day after he verballed to the Ducks, and just nodded his head but never wavered, is very cool.
Still don't understand why DAT was snubbed and vastly underutilized this past season. He was either in the doghouse or Helfrich/Frost sorely lack creativity. If it is the later, the future is tenuous. Either way, not getting the ball into a superstars hands will have an impact on offensive recruits.
Nice. Mr. Nelson could be a stand out for Oregon. Feature him in the TAZR role that we did not seem to want to give to DAT last year.
@rgyle The Ducks have LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas to thank for Nelson's interest in Oregon, a great value pick-up in the closing days of recruiting.
@Platypus1 PTP, I think the chief stumbling block with DAT was simply the injury that cost him four games, and then the emergence of Marshall and Tyner in the offense. Checking the game logs, Thomas had a kickoff return for a touchdown against Utah, 83 yards rushing and 74 yards receiving against Arizona, 88 yards rushing against OSU (Tyner had a season-high 140). He was not a factor, at least a positive factor, against Stanford and UCLA. He was an afterthought in the Alamo Bowl, and overall, he had the worst statistical season of his 3 years at Oregon. Still an exciting player, a great Duck, and I wish him well as a pro.
Admittedly, the coaching staff could have schemed better for him as Kelly did. Get him in the slot, get him in motion, in open space, running the fly sweep, the cross, taking the pitch. Move him around so the defense has to account for him.
They had better reevaluate this carefully, because they will have the same challenge in deploying Charles Nelson and Tony James in the next year or two. If you recruit speed, don't waste it.
I know we all wanted to see DAT at tazr, but I'm not sure the coaches had much of an option to play him there since we were pretty thin at RB and needed to have more than 1 RB with experience other than Ford and Bassett. Maybe if Trey Williams or Dontae stuck around DAT wouldn't have been needed to fill the gap and could've been free to play elsewhere. Who knows.
Either way, I do look forward to seeing Nelson and trust that our coaches will find creative ways to use him along with the others.
@SonomaDuck Really like Nelson's upside as a receiver and a returner. Looking at his speed, his physical make-up and his offer sheet, I think the Ducks got a steal. Catches the ball really well.
@Dale Newton @Platypus1 Agreed. Just getting him on the field to distract the defense would have been a good start. Coaches were hell bent to run him between the tackles when everyone knows he is most dangerous getting the ball in the open field. He was thrown the ball a few times at the end of the season and he dropped one (likely out of rhythm) and the other two I remember were so errant he fell catching them.
@8675309 Really good point about running back depth after the transfers of Carson and Williams and KB completing his eligibility. Depth chart has much more flexibility this year in the backfield, a three-headed monster at running back in Marshall, Tyner and Freeman.
@8675309 I think you are correct. I think the coaches did not know what Bralon Addison could do and thought of DAT as the #1 running back but he was out of position.
@Platypus1 @Dale Newton As Jenny I Got Your Number (8675309) points out below, the Oregon coaches were hamstrung last year by a running back shortage. Tyner got dinged up in fall camp, Marshall was coming off a reserve year and wasn't proven as a number one option, and Kenjon Barner was in camp with the Carolina Panthers. Thomas was their leading returning back, and he did begin the season with a couple of 100-yard games, averaging 6.2 yards a carry for the season.
People have often said DAT couldn't run inside, but he had a 96-yard touchdown in the Rose Bowl running inside. In 2012 he was Oregon's most effective runner against Stanford, and also had a big day running the football running against the Beavers. He had good vision and picked his holes well, could zip through a small crease. Perception of him as a lead back is colored significantly by the way he was rag-dolled against UCLA and shut down against Stanford.
If they had another year with him, the right way to use him would have been to move him to slot receiver and move him around, but he's on to a bigger challenge. The Ducks still have a lot of weapons to employ, including two young athletes in Tony James and Nelson that are explosive and shifty. Those two might redshirt this year, but it's still a potent offense.
@Dale Newton I'm looking forward to seeing the three-headed monster. Maybe even a 4-headed monster with Benoit (the new KB).
@SonomaDuck @8675309 His injury at Cal really gummed up the evolution of the attack as well. Never fully got him going this year. One positive note: Thomas caught 22 passes last season. Between them, Marshall and Tyner grabbed 27, for 289 yards. They should be able to replace his output in that area without too much trouble.