Mycah Pittman didn’t enroll early at Oregon just to learn the playbook and bide his time.

The true freshman wide receiver plans to catch touchdown passes this fall from Justin Herbert.

Through a dozen spring practices, Pittman has been one of the newcomers who has caught the eye of coaches and players.

“Some of the defensive guys like me and some of the defensive guys don’t,” Pittman said with a smile after Tuesday’s practice. “It is what it is. I compete my butt off. You can have friends off the field, but when it’s go time, it’s go time for me.

“It’s just strictly business. I want to be the best player I can be, I want to make them better, and make this team better.”

 

The Ducks return 10 starters on offense, including Herbert, a potential NFL franchise quarterback. After last year’s 9-4 finish, the glaring position group that needed to be upgraded was wide receiver.

Pittman, who has been playing in the slot since enrolling early for the spring quarter, spent three hours per day studying Oregon’s offense before joining the team.

“I’m telling you, I went through like five dry-erase markers,” Pittman said of working the X’s and O’s on the white board. “I went through five of those until they went dry.”

The preparation was not lost on the head coach.

“Mycah Pittman got here like, what, seven hours ago, and he’s been running with the twos and had some reps with the ones,” Mario Cristobal noted after last Saturday’s scrimmage.

During three seasons at Calabasas (Calif.) High, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Pittman had 177 receptions for 3,129 yards and 32 touchdowns.

"Mycah Pittman, he just got here, and it feels like we’ve been throwing all summer long," said redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Shough, who has established himself as Herbert's backup. "He’s definitely a young guy who has stepped up."

Pittman, whose father Michael Pittman was a productive NFL running back for a decade, was a top-100 overall recruit whose list of suitors included Alabama, Florida and Ohio State.

“I had no idea his dad was Michael Pittman until last week,” Penn State graduate transfer Juwan Johnson, another newcomer expected to improve Herbert’s weaponry in the passing game, said of his first impression of Pittman. “He’s a great kid ultimately. He just wants to learn.

“I sort of took him under my wing when he got here. He was sort of lost and eager to learn the plays. So we kind of picked up the plays together and did it that way. It was great for both of us, very beneficial.”

One of Pittman’s classmates, Josh Delgado, scored a long touchdown in the recent scrimmage and was also working with the second team Tuesday. The 5-11, 190-pound receiver from Carson, Calf., by way of the IMG Academy in Florida has recovered from a hamstring injury suffered in March.

“That was really my first day out there and it felt really good,” Delgado said. “They gave me opportunities and really helped me play a lot and it was a lot of fun.”

Dillon Mitchell is preparing for the NFL draft after leading the Pac-12 with 75 receptions for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

Jaylon Redd (315 yards, two touchdowns), Brenden Schooler (203 yards, one touchdown) and Johnny Johnson (215 yards, four touchdowns) are trying to hold off the confident new kids on the block for starting positions.

“I think this receiver group is pretty close, to be honest with you. It’s not like if you take someone’s spot they’re upset with you,” said Juwan Johnson, who was receiving first-team reps within a week of his first practice at Oregon. “It’s more we’re just pushing each other. At this point we’re all making plays, we’re all making strides towards one common goal. Last year’s receiver group, and me personally, are just trying to get better.”

The future of the program appears to be bright with the arrival of the historic 2019 recruiting class.

But the focus is on making the most of Herbert’s last season with the Ducks.

“I caught my first pass on a little out route from Justin Herbert and I was like, ‘Yo, Justin Herbert just threw me the ball,’” Pittman said. “This is the No. 1 pick, I’ve seen this guy on TV, and he’s bigger in person.

“It’s pretty cool. He’s a very humble guy.”