Oregon Ducks’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Jabbar Muhammad, Dillon Gabriel

    Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks have a championship on their minds, and their top 10 returning players make that goal a real possibility.

    Dan Lanning means business, and he has the Oregon Ducks in a great place right now. As they head into the Big Ten, the Ducks want to make a big statement early, hoping to win a College Football National Championship.

    Oregon’s top 10 returning players for 2024 make that a strong possibility.

    Oregon Ducks’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Jamaree Caldwell, DT

    Oregon was solid when it came to stopping the run and wreaking havoc, but they’re also looking to improve in both areas. The transfer portal allowed them to bring in talent to meet those goals, and they got an underrated player in Jamaree Caldwell.

    The former Houston Cougar wasn’t a well-known player heading into last year, but he exploded onto the scene with his play in the Big 12. He’s a strong player in the trenches but also displays good athleticism and quickness when rushing the passer.

    9) Terrance Ferguson, TE

    Oregon’s tight ends were far from the spotlight last year, but the 2024 season should be different. Four of the Ducks’ top five pass catchers from last year return, so the passing attack won’t lack options downfield. However, someone must replace Troy Franklin’s production, which could fall on Terrance Ferguson.

    While Ferguson wasn’t a focal point of the passing attack, he did present mismatches for the Ducks to exploit last year. The 6’5″ and 255-pound senior from Littleton, Colorado, has been a reliable target, which is huge for a team ushering in a new quarterback for the 2024 season.

    8) Ajani Cornelius, OT

    One of the more intriguing players out of the transfer portal in 2023, Ajani Cornelius knew that transitioning from Rhode Island to the Pac-12 would come with challenges. There were some bumps along the way, but he really grew into his role with the Ducks.

    This group lost nearly every key player from an elite unit, but the Ducks’ offensive line embraced that adversity. While learning how to handle his new role, Cornelius faced a handful of talented edge players, too, and now he’s considered one of the best tackles in the country.

    7) Jeffrey Bassa, LB

    Out of everyone on this list, Jeffrey Bassa might be the most underrated. With 38 games of experience under his belt, Bassa took on the role vacated by Noah Sewell’s departure to the NFL in 2023.

    The Ducks needed a leader with Sewell gone, and Bassa stepped right into that role. He’s also a playmaker, returning 182 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and three interceptions to the Ducks defense this year. This should be another talented and disruptive Ducks defense, and Bassa is in charge of getting the new faces up to speed.

    6) Jordan Burch, DE

    Oregon is loaded with talent on the edge. They just need it to be consistent, but they have options. The Ducks’ front seven produced a 9.4% havoc rate, according to CFB Data, but they want to get better. That starts with the leader on the edge.

    MORE: 2024 Big Ten Weekly Football Schedule 

    Jordan Burch bet on himself when he transferred from South Carolina, and he gave the Ducks a disruptive threat to the opponent’s game plan. He led the Ducks with 7.5 tackles for loss and now has a full year under defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi to build upon this year. If he can get the rest of the group on his level, the Ducks will be a problem.

    5) Tez Johnson, WR

    One thing that almost goes unnoticed is that Tez Johnson produced 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. The speedster and former Troy transfer thrived with his new school, and the Ducks will look to him to make plays again in 2024.

    Replacing Franklin’s production falls on players like Traeshon Holden, Evan Stewart, and Gary Bryant, but Johnson gives them someone who commands attention from the defense.

    4) Jordan James, RB

    Oregon fans might not have realized how good they had it with Bucky Irving, and it might be tough to believe that anyone can replace him. Fortunately for the Ducks, they have a great depth and multiple options hungry to showcase their talent.

    Even last year, Jordan James didn’t mind playing understudy to Irving, as evident by his explosive 7.1 yards per carry. He ran for 759 yards and 11 touchdowns, and one could argue that he made Irving better by pushing him with his production.

    The Ducks didn’t take a step back when Irving left the field, and now they’re hoping that someone behind James can do the same.

    Will that be returnee Noah Whittington or incoming transfer Jay Harris? Is a new face ready to inherit that role? The rushing attack could be just as good as last year if Lanning has the answers to those questions.

    3) Dillon Gabriel, QB

    Oklahoma transfer Dillon Gabriel has multiple years of starting experience with the Sooners and at UCF, and he gives the Ducks an accurate quarterback who throws a pretty deep ball. With what Will Stein did with Bo Nix last year, Ducks fans are excited to see what he can do with their new signal-caller.

    While he doesn’t have the strongest arm, Gabriel thrives at making the right play. Oregon’s skill position talent makes him the perfect quarterback for their system. They’ll need him to be the hero every once in a while, and he’ll most likely deliver. Don’t call him a game manager because Gabriel can shred a defense if they relax even for a second.

    2) Evan Stewart, WR

    Oh man, Dan Lanning and his staff crushed the transfer portal.

    The Ducks added 11 transfers to the mix, many of which could be instant impact players. With Troy Franklin leaving for the NFL, Lanning knew he needed a deep threat to stretch the field.

    Evan Stewart felt like he was held back at Texas A&M. The former five-star recruit recorded 91 catches with 1,163 yards and six touchdowns in his three years with the Aggies, but there’s so much more in his tank.

    In Stein’s offense, Stewart could be a monster. We saw glimpses of what he can do as a receiver, which was a big reason he was considered the top receiver in the transfer portal this year. If it’s what everyone expects, the Ducks passing attack will give defensive coordinators nightmares for years to come.

    1) Jabbar Muhammad, CB

    The Ducks’ staff needed to address the cornerback position. Khyree Jackson’s departure to the NFL left a big hole in the secondary, and the transfer portal also hit the Ducks hard at the cornerback position. The solution? The Oregon staff went out and got the top cornerback in the transfer portal.

    Originally thought to be headed to Texas, Jabbar Muhammad surprised some by choosing the Ducks over many other schools. This staff was familiar with him after they faced the Washington Huskies twice last year and decided they needed to add him to their team.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big Ten Power Rankings

    Muhammad thrived with the Huskies, and now fills a significant role for the Ducks’ defense. Depth will be the biggest question on the back end, but Muhammad eases some of those concerns for now.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles