Chip Kelly is reportedly the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and that's very bad news for the Oregon Ducks. This could have an extremely negative impact on Oregon recruiting.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported the news via his Twitter account:
Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources. No announcement yet.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013
Adam Schefter of ESPN Tweeted that the news had become official, soon thereafter:
Now official: Eagles announce they hired Chip Kelly as 21st Head Coach in franchise history.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 16, 2013
This is a major hire for the Eagles considering the success that Kelly has had at the college level. How he and his offensive scheme transition to the NFL is going to be a major storyline next season, but there's no doubting that this was the best possible scenario for Philadelphia.
Conversely, this is the wort possible scenario for Oregon.
Kelly has arguably been the reason Oregon has been such a big-time recruiting draw, and he is the reason the Ducks have been a national championship contender for the past few seasons. He's a brilliant offensive mind and he's done a great job of "branding" Oregon football in a way that's exciting and relevant with recruits.
Sure, Oregon's relationship with Nike is a big part of the program's draw, but awesome jerseys will only get you so far if you aren't winning games and putting up points.
Kelly's offensive scheme has been a major recruiting point for Oregon, especially with skill players, and his prestige as a head coach at the college level was off the charts.
Oregon was able to essentially recruit itself because of Kelly, but now all of that is in jeopardy.
The immediate impact in regard to the Ducks 2013 class could be devastating for Oregon. We saw how coaching vacancies impacted Tennessee and Auburn earlier in this recruiting cycle, and now Oregon is going to have to deal with that same uncertainty. If there's one thing that gets recruits to re-think a program real fast, it's uncertainty.
Note: Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com is reporting that 4-star athletes Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson haven't decommitted from Oregon, but that they will both be open to other programs now that Kelly has left the program.
As of now, we don't know who will lead Oregon into the future. The program has lost most of its identity with the loss of Kelly as coach, and it will struggle to "save face" with recruits until it can find a replacement.
Even then, will the replacement be able to have the same draw with elite recruits that Kelly did?
That's highly questionable.
Oregon will undoubtedly start the coaching search as soon as possible, and the Ducks will do their best to hold the 2013 class together, but they're going to have their work cut out for them—and that's putting it lightly.
Long term, one has to wonder if Oregon can ever have that same draw without Kelly. The Ducks will still have the jerseys, but what about the system? What about the prestige at the coaching position?
According to a report by George Schroeder of USA Today Sports earlier in January, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich would be the main candidate to be promoted to head coach if Kelly was to go to the NFL. Oregon will have to interview other candidates as well, though. If it were to hire Helfrich, at least that consistency would be great for recruiting, but he's still not Kelly.
The Ducks may essentially have to start over.
Some recruits may enjoy the idea of being a part of a new start, but generally, that means that some rough times are ahead on the recruiting trail.