Oregon Football Recruiting: 10 Greatest Recruiting Classes of All-Time

Nathan LoweryCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2012

Oregon Football Recruiting: 10 Greatest Recruiting Classes of All-Time

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    It is quite possible to count all of the 5-star recruits Oregon has signed on one, maybe two, hands.

    When the policy of Chip Kelly, Rich Brooks and Mike Belloti was to go after 3-star, system prospects, it is extremely hard to try and rank Oregon's recruiting classes, but we'll see how it goes.

    Things are fortunately getting better, especially with last year's class and the continued success the program will have under Kelly.

    Note: All player rankings are according to ESPNU 150.

No. 10: 2006

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    Top Recruit: Cody Kempt, QB

    It's amazing how the Ducks' top recruit in 2006, Cody Kempt, played in only one game for the Ducks, a loss to arch-rival Oregon State.

    After 2007, Kempt transferred to Montana State.

    Oregon was able to get several key pieces in the 2010 title run, however.

    Jordan Holmes, Bo Thran and CE Kaiser all signed Letters of Intent to Oregon in 2006, as well as linebacker Spencer Paysinger and defensive lineman Brandon Bair, two key anchors on the Ducks defense.

No. 9: 2004

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    Top Recruit: Dennis Dixon, QB

    This class fell just short of achieving greatness.

    Dennis Dixon, Max Unger and Patrick Chung all now play on Sundays in the NFL and got to being ranked No. 2 in the nation at one point during the 2007 season.

No. 8: 2002

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    Top Recruit: Haloti Ngata, DT

    This was Oregon's first impressive class on a national level.

    The Ducks struck gold with five-star prospect Haloti Ngata and then picked up a great wide receiver-quarterback combo in Kellen Clemens and Demetrius Williams.

No. 7: 1997

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    Top Recruit: Joey Harrington, QB

    This class as seniors did something that has been accomplished by only two Oregon teams, and they were the first to do so: win a BCS Bowl.

    Sammie Parker, Harrington, Maurice Morris and Steve Smith were all stars at Oregon, and it paid off, winning the 2002 Fiesta Bowl.

No. 6: 2010

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    Top Recruit: Lache Seastrunk, RB

    This class honestly should be lower considering all of the trouble it has brought.

    1. Lache Seastrunk, the top recruit, transferred to Baylor before playing a single game as a Duck, and brought a recruiting scandal still being investigated.
    2. Alejandro Maldonado ruined another berth in the title game and ruined Oregon's home winning streak after missing a field goal against USC this year.
    3. Dior Mathis was upstaged by freshmen this season.
    4. Donate Williams transferred before playing a single game.

    Oregon did, however, sign the No. 2 tight end, Curtis White. They also got Hroniss Grassu and Eric Dungy, and found a diamond in the rough with Josh Huff.

    Also, quarterback Bryan Bennet, the future of Oregon, was signed in 2010.

No. 5: 2009

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    Top Recruit: Cliff Harris, CB

    Cliff Harris did some good and bad for the Ducks, but Oregon snuck away with several key players on the Rose Bowl-winning roster in 2009.

    Punter Jackson Rice and linebacker Michael Clay committed to Oregon, and Taylor Hart was huge this season as a sophomore.

    Junior college players Bryson Littlejohn and Lavasier Tuinei had two solid years for the Ducks as well.

No. 4: 2007

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    Top Recruit: Kenny Rowe, DE

    What is there to say about this class?

    Casey Matthews, Talmadge Jackson, Kenny Rowe, DJ Davis, Jeff Maehl, Carson York, Eddie Pleasant and Anthony Gildon were all studs at Oregon, and the latter three played in three BCS Bowls and were three-time conference champions.

No. 3: 2005

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    Top Recruit: Jonathan Stewart, RB

    Jonathan Stewart suprised many when he committed to Oregon.

    His SPARQ ratings were one of the highest recorded by a high school athlete, and he dazzled at the collegiate level.

    Other studs—like Ed Dickinson, Walter Thurmond III, Jeremiah Johnson, Jarius Byrd, and TJ Ward—join Stewart on NFL sidelines every Sunday.

No. 2: 2011

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    Top Recruit: De'Anthony Thomas, ATH

    And there's the bombshell.

    Make no mistake, I believe that by the time all of these Ducks have graduated, they will be known as the greatest class in Oregon history, but there is no passing our No. 1.

    Black Mamba surprised many by de-comitting from USC at the last minute and signing with Oregon, but that's not all they got.

    They also picked up elite wide receivers in Devon Blackmon, Tacoi Sumler and BJ Kelly, in addition to an elite linebacker in Anthony Wallace, freshman starter Ifo Ekpre-Olumo and superb athletes Coly Lyerla, Christian French, Tra Carson and Andre Yruretagoyena.

No. 1: 2008

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    Top Recruit: Chris Harper, ATH

    The simply amazing thing about this class is that Chris Harper wasn't even the best Duck and ended up returing to his home state of Kansas to enroll at Kansas State after one season.

    All I need to do is list the names of some of the signees, and you will see why they are the top. The made it to the title game and won the Rose Bowl; what more can you do to make Eugene happy?

    • Darron Thomas, QB
    • LaMichael James, RB
    • Kenjon Barner, RB
    • Dion Jordan, DE
    • DeWitt Stuckey, LB
    • Nick Cody, OL
    • Carson York, OL
    • John Boyett, S
    • Kiko Alonso, LB
    • Josh Kaddu, LB
    • LeGarrette Blount, RB
    • Jeremiah Masoli, QB