Skip to main content

Oregon Ducks Football 2022 Spring Preview: Cornerback

Demetrice Martin looks to continue the tradition of great Oregon cornerbacks in 2022.

The Oregon Ducks are entering a transitional period at the cornerback position. 

New Head Coach Dan Lanning tabbed Demetrice Martin as his new cornerbacks coach. Since adding the well-respected football mind, one who's coached all around the Pac-12, the move has already paid off.

Since Martin’s hiring, the Ducks locked down three huge recruits at the cornerback spot: four-stars Jahlil Florence and Jalil Tucker from San Diego and four-star Cole Martin, Martin’s son.

With starting cornerback Mykael Wright headed to the NFL Draft and Jaylin Davies entering the transfer portal, Oregon’s depth in the secondary is a real concern.

The Ducks need someone in the cornerback room to step up and set the tone for seasons to come. Here’s a look at some of the most notable names in the cornerback room.

Christian Gonzalez

christian-gonzalez-colorado

Christian Gonzalez followed Martin from Colorado with three years of eligibility remaining, and the Ducks hope he can be a plug-and-play guy as the number one cornerback. A former four-star recruit from Texas, Gonzalez burst onto the scene and dominated his freshman year in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Gonzalez was targeted frequently early in his collegiate career, and it paid off by the end of his first season. In the 2020 Alamo Bowl, Gonzalez showed his improvement, registering five tackles and three pass breakups.

Gonzalez returned with a strong sophomore season in Boulder last year: 46 solo tackles, five pass breakups, and five and a half tackles for loss. Measuring in at 6'2" and 200 pounds, he’s got the build for run defense, and he’s shown he has the speed to hang with quick wideouts. Gonzalez looks to be a centerpiece in the new-look Oregon defense.

Trikweze Bridges

trikweze-bridges-vs-california

Up next, Trikweze Bridges has been waiting for his time to shine at UO. After joining the Ducks as a highly-touted four-star recruit from Alabama in 2019, Bridges redshirted his freshman year and has been in the middle of the cornerback depth chart ever since.

Bridges originally came to Eugene as a ball-hawking safety, but moved to cornerback during fall camp. Standing at 6'3", Bridges is one of the longer defensive backs on the roster, and his playmaking ability speaks for itself.

Scroll to Continue

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Dante Moore Oregon Flex
Play

Trio of Oregon Commits Land on SI99 Prospect Rankings

Dante Moore continues to rise this summer, earning the number one spot.

Kenny Dillingham Spring Ball
Play

How Many Running Backs Will Get Touches For Oregon in 2022?

Offensive Coordinator Kenny Dillingham sheds light on his philosophy for the Ducks.

Patrick Herbert
Play

FULL GO: Oregon TE Patrick Herbert Back to 100% in Fall Camp

Herbert was highly-touted out of high school but has battled injuries throughout college.

After all, he holds Alabama state records for most interceptions and pick-sixes in a career. With his size, Bridges will be a force in run defense. And with extended reps  at cornerback, he could make a huge leap next season for the Ducks.

Dontae Manning

Dontae Manning Fresno State Cropped

Last spring, Dontae Manning and Bridges were neck-and-neck in a race for second spot on the cornerback depth chart. It was Bridges who ran away with the job, recording more tackles and interceptions than Manning.

Just like most players on Oregon’s roster, Manning was a force in high school. He was a five-star recruit and was labeled Oregon's 12th-highest ranked recruit all-time by 247Sports.

At 5'11", Manning is just about the perfect size to play cornerback in a conference filled with lightning-fast receivers. He also played some linebacker in high school, indicating his run defense and play recognition are strong.

Even if last spring's competition didn't shake out the way he may have wanted it to, a new one begins shortly. And the Oregon cornerbacks will only sharpen their skills going against the talented young wideouts.

Another name to watch in the cornerback room is Avante Dickerson. Hailed as the No. 8 corner in the 2021 recruiting class by the 247Sports composite, Dickerson didn’t get many chances to shine his freshman season. But Dickerson may be the fastest in the Oregon secondary. Dickerson can go up for a jump ball with the tallest wideouts.

Get ready for a new era of Ducks cornerbacks. 

Join the Community

Follow Graham on Twitter: @GrahamMetzker

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get the latest Oregon Ducks news sent to your inbox

Join the discussion on our Forums HERE