Eugene - Speaking at Oregon football media day, Dan Lanning detailed his vision for his inaugural season as head coach and gave insight to the decision to move sophomore Terrell Tilmon from outside linebacker to tight end.
“Ultimately we want to win football games,” Lanning said. “We felt like his best chance on our football team and being able to impact us is going to be there on the offensive side of the ball.”
Appearing in all 14 games as a true freshman last season, Tilmon played mostly in the special teams unit and on the defensive side of the ball, where he recorded five tackles. He signed with the Ducks as a three-star edge rusher from Mansfield Timberview High School in Texas.
Listed at 6'5, 225 pounds Tilmon’s strong athletic frame makes him an asset on the football field at a multitude of positions.
Lanning points to his speed as the deciding factor in the decision to move Tilmon to the offense, referencing a recent offensive team meeting.
“Coach Dillingham asked the question 'who's our fastest tight end?' and all the tight ends point to Tilmon," Lanning said. “He can run a little bit. It’s still a new position for him, still developing there, so we'll see what it looks like in fall camp.”
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Tilmon joins a tight end group that is still adjusting in wake of the loss of Spencer Webb.
The Ducks return sophomores Moliki Matavao, whose lone touchdown of his freshman year came in the fourth quarter against Ohio State, along with Terrance Ferguson who tallied 141 yards on 17 receptions his freshman year, resulting in two touchdowns. He landed on the preseason John Mackey Award watch list for the best tight end in college football.
The young and versatile tight end group will be tested in week 1 against a Georgia team that ranked 13th in passing yards allowed and second in the nation in total defense a season ago.
The game will be played September 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
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