The junior leads the team in receptions after enduring a 2018 slump in Dillon Mitchell's shadow

Oregon’s most talked about wide receivers seem to be the ones that are either no longer in the program or yet to make their debut with the Ducks.

Who is going to replace Dillon Mitchell’s production? When is Juwan Johnson going to play? How long will it take Mycah Pittman to heal?

These are the questions that have been asked of the Ducks since fall camp.

Meanwhile, the most steady receiver through three games, Johnny Johnson, has enjoyed a quiet renaissance after enduring a sophomore slump in 2018.

During last Saturday’s 35-3 win over Montana, Johnson had a career-high eight receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the team with 19 receptions — two more than his season total last year — for 223 yards (74.3 per game).

Quarterback Justin Herbert said he never doubted Johnson.

“I’ve had complete confidence in him the past couple years,” Herbert said. “He’s one of those guys that shows up and works about as hard as anyone.

“I trust him, the entire team trusts him, and he makes plays. It’s fun to watch.”

 

Johnson made the first big play of the season for the Ducks, a 47-yard reception against Auburn. He finished with seven receptions for 98 yards in the opener to reestablish himself as a reliable starter.

Mitchell led the Pac-12 with 75 receptions for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns last season before leaving for the NFL draft. He’s on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad.

Johnson only had 17 receptions for 215 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games playing in Mitchell’s shadow.

“It’s always a good feeling getting that connection with Justin on the field,” Johnson said after his two-score performance in the nonconference finale. “I think it was a mindset change. I’ve always been a hard worker, but I implemented a lot of things and just knew it was my time to shine.”

Johnson is the only receiver to start all three games this season.

Jaylon Redd, who was second on the team with 38 receptions for 433 yards and five touchdowns last season, and redshirt freshman Bryan Addison have both started two games.

Freshman Josh Delgado started against Auburn, and Oregon started two tight ends against Montana.

Fifteen different Ducks have caught passes this season, including six playing receiver positions, with nine different players catching at least one touchdown.

“The more people that touch the ball, of course, the confidence level for everybody just raises,” Redd said. “You’re not only competing with the other team, but you also are having a little competition with your friends as well.

“Because you know we all eating, we all competitors, we all want to look good, so our brothers look good as well.”

Redd is second on the team with 14 receptions for only 95 yards (6.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.

“I’m not really worried about my productivity too much. At the end of the day, we’ve got to win games,” said Redd, who had a 10-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter against Montana. “Stanford is the only thing on my mind. Whatever we can do to win that game.”

Oregon could get Juwan Johnson, the much-hyped 6-foot-4, 230-pound Penn State graduate transfer, back from a calf injury for the Pac-12 opener against the Cardinal on Saturday at Stanford Stadium (4 p.m., ESPN).

Pittman (shoulder) and senior receiver Brenden Schooler (foot) are on track to return to practice after the bye week with an eye on joining the lineup for the Oct. 5 home game against California.

“A lot,” tight end Jacob Breeland said when asked what Juwan Johnson would add to the offense. “I’m not too worried about it because all of the receivers out there are doing outstanding. When he comes back, that’s going to put an even better threat out there. He’s a beast.”

The Ducks are 18th among FBS teams in passing offense, averaging 319.0 yards per game. Herbert has completed 73.3% of his passes for 868 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.

No. 16 Oregon’s projected first-round NFL draft pick should be able to spread the ball around against Stanford, which ranks 109th in passing yards allowed (280.3 yards per game).

“Oh, that’s the best quarterback in the country,” Redd said of Herbert. “My confidence level, I come in and do my job every day, wake up and know I’ve already got the best, most humblest quarterback. I have to work because every day he’s going to better me in practice.

“I know I ain’t going to have that for the rest of my life. Gotta get it while I can.”

Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @RGDuckFootball and email podcast mailbag questions to rthorburn@registerguard.com. For more Oregon sports coverage, visit DuckSports.com.