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Oregon dismisses star WR Darren Carrington two weeks after DUII arrest

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Huge news has come out of Eugene just a couple of weeks before Willie Taggart kicks off his first summer camp at Oregon.

Late last month, Darren Carrington was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants.  At the time, the football program announced that the star wide receiver had been indefinitely suspended.

Two weeks later, Taggart made the jarring announcement Friday night that Carrington has been dismissed from the Ducks.

“I have visited with Darren Carrington and informed him that he is no longer a member of our program,” the head coach said in a statement. “We will always consider Darren a Duck and support him in any way we can. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

The development involving the veteran serves as a huge blow to the Ducks’ passing attack.

The senior’s 606 yards receiving last year was tops on the team, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first.  His 43 catches were second on the team.

While this was Carrington’s first off-field issue under Taggart, the arrest continued a pattern of askew behavior away from the gridiron.

Carrington was ineligible for Oregon’s College Football Playoff Championship loss to Ohio State a couple of years ago, was cited for open container in October 2015 and was accused of breaking a man’s arm in a Halloween incident last year.

Oregon indefinitely suspends WR Darren Carrington after DUII arrest

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Oregon has indefinitely suspended Darren Carrington after the wide receivers was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, The Oregonian reported on Saturday.

Officers apprehended Carrington at 3:15 on Saturday morning after he collided with a drive-through at a Eugene McDonalds, according to an EPD spokesperson. He was booked at 5:28 a.m. and bonded out just over one hour later.

Head coach Willie Taggart has suspended Carrington “from all football team activities after his arrest last night by the Eugene Police Department on a charge of Driving Under the Influence. We are continuing to gather the facts in this matter,” a UO spokesperson told the paper.

While Carrington’s arrest is his first disciplinary issue since Taggart’s January hiring, it does make one wonder what exactly he’d have to do to get kicked off the Ducks’ roster. Carrington was ineligible for Oregon’s College Football Playoff Championship loss to Ohio State — a game the Ducks lost in large part due to a plethora of dropped passes — was cited for open container in October 2015 and was accused of breaking a man’s arm in a Halloween incident last year.

Carrington posted this message on his Instagram account Saturday morning.

Carrington, a rising senior, was Oregon’s leading receiver last season, nabbing 43 receptions for 606 yards and five touchdowns. He posted 609 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2015, leading the Ducks in yards per game, yards per reception and touchdowns per game. He was Oregon’s second-leading receiver in the Ducks’ Pac-12 championship season of 2014, collecting 37 balls for a career-high 704 yards and four scores.

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

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A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.

Northwestern adds Oregon WR Jalen Brown as grad transfer

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High school seniors won’t be the only new additions to Pat Fitzgerald‘s Northwestern roster.

NU announced via a press release Thursday morning that the football program has added Jalen Brown to its personnel ranks.  Brown is expected to graduate from Oregon in June, meaning he’ll be eligible to play for the Wildcats immediately in 2017.

In addition to the upcoming season, the wide receiver will also have a second year of eligibility that he could use in 2018 if he so chooses.

Last season, Brown was fifth on the Ducks in receiving yards (318) and receiving touchdowns (three), while his 19 receptions were good for sixth.  His 16.7 yards per catch was tops on the team for players who had 10-plus receptions.

Brown, a four-star 2014 recruit, finishes his Ducks career with 26 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns.

According to the school, Brown will pursue a master’s degree in sport administration at NU.

Royce Freeman eschews NFL, returns to Oregon for senior season

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Willie Taggart has in part himself to thank for his first significant “recruiting” win since taking over as Oregon’s head coach earlier this month.

Coming off a season in which injuries played a role in slowing him down, Royce Freeman announced Wednesday that he has decided to return to the Ducks for his senior season.  While the running back thanked his formed head coach in a statement, Freeman stated that Taggart “was certainly a factor in my return.”

Below is the back’s statement, in its entirety.

After consulting with my family and giving this considerable thought, I feel this is the best decision for me in regards to my future on and off the field. My education was one of the most important reasons I chose to come to Oregon and that priority hasn’t changed.

“I wish to thank Coach (Mark) Helfrich and the entire coaching staff for the roles they have played in my success thus far. I am extremely grateful to Coach (Gary) Campbell for everything he has taught me and the influence he has had in my life over the last three years.

“However, the prospect of playing for Coach (Willie) Taggart my final year here was certainly a factor in my return. His enthusiasm and vision for this program are contagious. I am excited to be coached by him and to enhance my development.

“All praise to the Most High; and Go Ducks.

Despite the injury issues, Freeman led the Ducks in rushing for a third straight season with 945 yards.  He rushed for 1,365 as a freshman in 2014 and a school-record 1,836 last season.  He’s less than 1,000 yards away from breaking LaMichael James‘ school record for career rushing yards (5,082) and needs 10 rushing touchdowns to break James’ mark of 53.