On national signing day in 2016, Mark Helfrich wasn’t sure which position Hunter Kampmoyer would play at Oregon.
“He’s a big, athletic guy,” Helfrich said. “Possibly Mike linebacker, maybe a defensive end as his body develops.”
After redshirting and earning scout team defensive player of the year honors in 2016, Helfrich’s last season as coach, Kampmoyer played in all 13 games for Willie Taggart in 2017 as a special teams contributor and backup defensive end.
Kampmoyer’s third head coach in as many springs, Mario Cristobal, believes that the 6-foot-4, 262-pound redshirt sophomore’s physicality would be best utilized at tight end.
“They’ve got to be the complete player. That’s another reason we moved Hunter Kampmoyer over to tight end,” Cristobal said before Tuesday’s spring practice inside the Moshofsky Center. “They have to be physical at the line of scrimmage. They have to be great inline blockers, both in the run game and the pass game.”
With starting tight end Jacob Breeland limited this spring because of an injury, the Ducks also need Kampmoyer to make some catches, something he was able to do quite well as a two-way high school player in Bishop, Calif.
“Learning the offense is pretty hard, but other than that it’s going pretty good,” Kampmoyer said. “I played tight end my junior and senior year of high school and I was doing it last year on scout team. This was an opportunity that was giving to me, so I took it, something different.”
So far, Kampmoyer said he is enjoying the challenge of blocking emerging star Jalen Jelks and other defensive linemen instead of trying to beat them out for more snaps.
“I see him as just like a hard-nosed guy who is not afraid to stick his nose in and try to clean up a D-end or clean up a tackle whenever he can,” wide receiver Brenden School, who made the transition from defense to offense last spring, said of Kampmoyer. “He’s just one of those hard workers. You know he’s going to give it all every play. …
“He’s definitely moving people.”
Breeland and redshirt sophomore Cam McCormick have established themselves atop the depth chart. Kampmoyer is also competing with two walk-ons, Ryan Bay and Matt Mariota, for playing time at tight end.
“They’ve been teaching me a lot with technique and stuff, and also helping me when I don’t understand something,” Kampmoyer said. “I’m usually in there for blocking plays because I’m a little bigger, like 20 pounds heavier than everyone else, so that’s been fun.”
Kampmoyer was able to work with Justin Herbert and the other quarterbacks during seven-on-seven drills throughout the offseason. Cristobal has taken notice of his pass-catching skills.
“He’s a 270-pound guy and he can run, he catches the ball extremely well, he’s a physical presence at the line of scrimmage. He gives us some versatility,” Cristobal said. “You can also split him out. He’s done some pretty impressive stuff when he’s been detached, which is kind of neat to see a big ol’ guy out there running routes.”
Some “little injuries” may have slowed Kampmoyer’s development and opportunities to crack the regular rotation in Jim Leavitt’s defense, but spring is the prefect time to get a second chance at tight end.
“I’m just trying to enjoy every moment,” Kampmoyer said. “Things happen for a reason. I just try to do my part.”
Hall is here
Wide receiver Jalen Hall, a member of the 2018 recruiting class, is enrolled for the spring term and participated in his first practice with the Ducks on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound freshman from Los Angeles was rated as the No. 4 prospect from California.
“We’ll throw him in there, but he’ll be swimming, trust me,” wide receivers coach Michael Johnson said of Hall. “We went through about four installations yesterday, that’s about 120 plays that are going to get crammed into one (practice). So I’ll be behind him guiding him a little bit. But we’re just going to throw him in there and get his feet wet.
“He’s eager to be here, he’s happy to be here and excited for a fresh start.”
Hall adds some more depth to a position group that lost Charles Nelson to graduation but returns Dillon Mitchell, Johnny Johnson and Schooler.
“He’s 6-4, he’s tall, lengthy,” Schooler said of Hall. “I expect him to go up and make some plays on the ball.”
Hall gives Herbert another big target to work with as the junior quarterback prepares to lead Oregon back to prominence in the Pac-12 in the fall.
“We’re excited to have (Hall) obviously,” Cristobal said. “The receivers in general have had a really strong spring starting with just making plays. The benefit of having a veteran quarterback certainly helps that.”
After spring walk-on tryouts, Oregon invited four new non-scholarship players to join the roster — defensive back Jordan Adeyemi-John from Placentia, Calif., running back Noah Dahl from Silverton, linebacker Nate Heaukulani from Portland and linebacker Matthew Christman from Honolulu. …
The players reported back from spring break Sunday night and had a weight room session, meetings and a walkthrough Monday. …
Cristobal said 80 percent of the offensive and defensive playbook were installed during the first five practices and “wrinkles” will be added throughout the rest of the spring.
Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @rgduckfootball.