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Sumler dashes to transfer.

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

A numbers crunch at wide receiver appears to have cost the Ducks one of their fastest players at the position.

Redshirt freshman Tacoi Sumler, a native of Miami who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds, has elected to transfer. Sumler was arguably the fastest player in the nation in the 2011 recruiting class, and redshirted with the Ducks last fall.

"He was real honest - he said he'd like to go to a (Football Championship Subdivision) school and play," UO coach Chip Kelly said after practice Wednesday. "Not everybody can play, when you have 85 kids on scholarship, and we're only allowed to travel 70. ...

"It happens, and it happens in a lot of places. 'If I'm not going to be playing, maybe I better go somewhere else.' We'll help him any way we can."

Though the Ducks have a relatively inexperienced receiving corps, because of the graduation of Lavasier Tuinei and the retirement of Justin Hoffman, they return veterans Josh Huff, Rahsaan Vaughn and Daryle Hawkins, among others, along with running back De'Anthony Thomas, the team's top returning receiver.

With a number of other veterans and some talented new recruits led by Bralon Addison on hand, Sumler had no guarantee of significant playing time.

Kelly said Sumler was also motivated to transfer to a school closer to his Florida hometown. Sumler did not respond to a message left on his cell phone Wednesday.

Kelly and Sumler spoke just before the start of practice Wednesday about Sumler's decision. It was so sudden, one UO coach said he noticed Sumler's absence from practice but had no idea he'd elected to transfer.

"Did I see it coming? No," Kelly said. "But I say this all the time, nothing surprises me in this game."

Kelly said coaches would investigate bringing another player into preseason camp to take Sumler's spot. The Ducks had the NCAA maximum 105 on the roster, including tight end Colt Lyerla, whose arrival date still is unknown, and can add a player to replace Sumler.

"We'd like to get another guy in here, especially for legs in practice," Kelly said. "We'll see."

The Ducks had walk-on Miles Johnson, a freshman from Sherman Oaks, Calif., on the roster in the spring but did not include him on the preseason camp roster.

Long's pedigree shows quickly

Junior college transfer Kyle Long has made a strong impression on his new team during Oregon's first week of fall camp.

A 6-foot-7, 311-pound junior offensive tackle whose dad and brother are NFL veterans, Long clearly also got his share of those good genes. Just in terms of physical tools, he's drawn comparisons to UO great and NFL Hall of Famer Gary Zimmerman.

Putting those tools to use through the development of solid technique and the digestion of Oregon's schemes is the next step, which Long has begun taking.

"For him to be where he is right now, I'm actually not surprised but pleased," Kelly said. "And we'll see how he progresses. But he certainly is physical and athletic, and gives us another presence out there that we need, especially at the tackle spot."

Oregon returns starting right tackle Nick Cody and also sophomore Jake Fisher, who projects as a tackle after playing in all 14 games at various spots last season. But after that, the tackle depth is made up mostly of redshirt freshmen Tyler Johnstone and James Euscher, and veteran reserve Everett Benyard.

Long seems to be making a strong push to crack that rotation, in what likely is his only season in Eugene, barring a successful appeal to the NCAA for another.

"I think he came here with a plan on playing," Kelly said. "And I like that plan."

More contact but still upright

After two days with no padding for practices other than helmets, the Ducks donned shoulder pads Wednesday, which allowed for a little more contact.

But only a little. Kelly said he spoke with the team just before practice got going, to ensure players knew what was acceptable.

"We still don't want people on the ground, because that's when injuries occur," Kelly said. "We're not cut-blocking anybody; we're not leaving our feet to make a tackle.

"But for a first day in shoulder pads, I thought they did a really good job."
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Title Annotation:Oregon Football; The redshirt freshman receiver plans to step down a level and play closer to home
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 9, 2012
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