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Mitchell happy where he’s at

August 12, 2016

On signing day last February, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich mentioned that incoming wide receiver Dillon Mitchell had been recruited by Alabama for football and Duke for basketball.

That was a slight exaggeration. Mike Krzyzewski didn’t actually offer Mitchell a scholarship.

But John Calipari did.

“I had a lot of interest from a lot of basketball programs,” Mitchell said after the Ducks’ wrapped up the fourth day of fall camp. “The biggest known name that I had an offer from was Kentucky. That was during my 11th-grade year, but I told coach Cal I was just going to play football.

“He just said, ‘Good luck with your career,’ and I went on.”

Mitchell, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound freshman from Memphis, Tenn., showed off his athleticism with touchdowns catches of 32 and 31 yards from Dakota Prukop during the spring game at Autzen Stadium.

Even though the Ducks are deep at wide receiver, Mitchell is expected to be an important part of the offense this season.

There is always a chance the touted recruit could be a two-sport athlete at Oregon, a program being represented by Devon Allen at the Olympics. At the moment, Dana Altman’s roster is also pretty stacked, and Mitchell has his hands full with everything offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Matt Lubick is throwing at him right now.

“I’ve got a couple of talks with the coaches, but I’m focused on football right now,” Mitchell said. “It might be something in my future.”

Full speed ahead

Helfrich has been pleased with his team in all three phases during the first week of camp.

“I haven’t really seen anyone slam their face in the wall yet or overwhelmed with whatever, whether that’s scheme or just the grind of camp so far,” Helfrich said. “There’s been a lot of good things, a lot of things moving fast, mostly good. We’ve had a bunch of big plays on offense, a bunch of turnover big plays by the defense as well, a bunch of athleticism on special teams.

“I can’t wait to see where some of these units are as we go into the next few weeks and beyond. There’s just a lot of excitement as far as the competition.”

Helfrich said Oregon will conduct its first scrimmage Monday or Tuesday. He wants the assistants to take a step back and let the players fight for positions.

“I like how we’re working,” Helfrich said. “We’re making a ton of mistakes, which is fine at this stage in how we’re making them. We have to just continue to do that.”

Ducks add two opponents for 2018

According to FBSschedules.com, Oregon has added Portland State and San Jose State to the 2018 schedule. The Ducks will open the season Sept. 1 vs. Bowling Green before hosting the FCS Vikings on Sept. 8 and the Spartans on Sept. 15.

Oregon will pay Portland State $550,000 and San Jose State $1.6 million.

The Ducks won’t play a Power 5 nonconference game in 2018. Oregon faces Virginia (ACC) and Nebraska (Big Ten) this season, Nebraska in 2017, Auburn (SEC) in 2019 and Ohio State (Big Ten) in 2020 and 2021.

BYU, which is trying to get into the Big 12, is on the 2022 schedule. The Ducks will play current Big 12 member Texas Tech in 2023 and 2024.

Notable

Royce Freeman will be a spectator during next week’s scrimmage so other running backs can get more action. “Royce won’t be involved in that but he’ll be coaching the heck out of those guys,” Helfrich said. … Tight end Evan Baylis wore a walking boot on his right foot during Thursday’s walk-through. … Former Oregon receiver Jeff Maehl attended Thursday’s practice and spoke to the team.

Follow Ryan on Twitter @rgduckfootball . Email ryan.thorburn@registerguard.com .