After missing 2014 with a knee injury, Oregon's Bralon Addison is quietly compiling a monster season
Devon Allen is fully aware that if a certain playmaker were healthy last season, his season would have been different. The redshirt sophomore wide receiver burst into a starting role last year and became an integral part of the Ducks' passing attack during their national title run. But he knows what the truth is.
"If Bralon Addison was healthy, I wouldn't have played as much," Allen said after Oregon's practice Tuesday.
Addison, who recorded 61 catches for 890 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, didn't play a single snap in 2014 because of a torn ACL. Expected to be the anchor of the wide receiving corps, Addison had to wait an entire year just to return to the field. And now that he has, he's displaying why Allen would've been hard pressed for playing time in 2014.
Through eight games, Addison has caught 37 passes for 453 yards and four touchdowns. However, what has made him a constant threat is his versatility. The 5-foot-10,190-pound Missouri City, Texas native is the only player in the FBS to record a rushing, receiving, returning and passing touchdown.
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He's done the most damage on the brightest stage. In Oregon's highly anticipated matchup with Michigan State on Sept.12, Addison totaled 236 all-purpose yards, including an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.
But since that game, the lights have continued to dim on Oregon. While players like LSU's Leonard Fournette, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey and TCU's Trevone Boykin have garnered national attention, Addison's name isn't as well-known.
It is ultimately the effect of Oregon crawling its way into November with a 5–3 record. But it also means that the rest of the country might not know about what Addison has consistently put on display.
For example, at Colorado in October, Addison, a former high school quarterback, got the ball on a reverse handoff and threw a strike to Charles Nelson for a 39-yard touchdown.
A few weeks later at Washington, Addison totaled 229 all-purpose yards and almost made his way to into the end zone on a kickoff return, scampering 87 yards before being pushed out of bounds. At Arizona State last week, he scored what would be a controversial game-winning touchdown by somehow keeping his foot inbounds as he ran past the back line of the end zone.
Addison, who said he lost his feel for the speed of the game while away from it last year, has clearly gained it back.
"I'm just happy and blessed to be playing again," Addison said. "I missed the game so much last year as far as not being able to be a part of the team and be able to compete every week. I've been taking it all in this season."
His coaches have enjoyed his presence as well.
"Addison is the type of kid that can do about anything you ask him to on the football field," offensive coordinator Scott Frost said.
In addition, Addison is just as much a presence on the field as he is off of it. According to Allen, his football smarts may be his best trait. Addison even has a notebook in which he draws up plays like an assistant coach, and is constantly helping other wideouts.
"You guys can't see this, but he's talking to us during the whole game on the sidelines," Allen said. "We talk about plays and he'll tell us what to do to adjust. He knows so much about offense and defense that he can find the loophole in everything."
Due to late start times and a lack of national attention for the Ducks this season, most of the country hasn't seen him on the field either. Recognizable or not though, Oregon is glad to have him back.
Justin Wise is SI's campus correspondent for the University of Oregon. Follow him on Twitter.