Thomas Tyner photo courtesy of 247Sports.com
You could make a case that the Ducks have priority needs at several positions in 2013. Perhaps you fear that a backup quarterback, a kicker who can actually kick, or another big mean linebacker should be Oregon's top priority.
You would be wrong.
That is not to belittle the Ducks' needs at various positions; certainly Oregon has issues in trying to replace guys like Kiko Alonso, Dion Jordan, Michael Clay and Ryan Clanton. Not to mention Alejandro Maldonado.
But Oregon's No. 1 national signing day priority is making sure that 5-star running back Thomas Tyner makes good on his verbal commitment to the Ducks.
If Tyner has a last-minute change of heart, and Urban Meyer nabs Dontre Wilson, and Byron Marshall gets hurt early in the season—well, it's just too awful to think about. In a position where depth is critical, the Ducks find themselves scarily thin at running back.
Saving Tyner's commitment and getting him settled in Eugene as soon as possible is the Ducks' No. 1 top priority on national signing day. Tweets from Tyner like the following one are an encouraging sign that one of the nation's top RB prospects will be lined up beside Marcus Mariota come fall:
If the Ducks lose Tyner and have trouble running the ball in 2013, there will be very long lines outside psychiatric offices all over the state of Oregon. And Mark Helfrich would probably be first in line.
Kay Jennings is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.