Oregon vs. Stanford: Whose 2014 Recruiting Class Is Better Right Now?
Oregon and Stanford will play Thursday in what figures to be the biggest game of the year in the Pac-12. This is a fascinating matchup, as the pair of juggernauts work on opposite ends of the spectrum.
The Ducks are a flashy team known for their speed and athleticism. Strength and power make up the foundation for the Cardinal, who work with more poise than the folks from Eugene.
While competing for a Pac-12 title is the top objective, recruiting also plays a vital role for both programs. With so much hype surrounding this game, now would be a good time to see which school has the better recruiting class.
Oregon's 2014 Recruiting Capsule
The Ducks have expanded their reach on the recruiting trail under new head coach Mark Helfrich. Oregon uses its great facilities and "cool" style of play to lure recruits to Eugene.
The Ducks have a small class of only 11 commitments. California is the foundation of their recruiting, as five prospects hail from the Golden State. Yet, states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and Nevada are also represented.
Aside from one long snapper, each side of the ball has five commitments. The defensive line leads the way, as the unit has three prospects.
Stanford's 2014 Recruiting Capsule
Known for its incredible academics, Stanford is forced to take an unconventional approach to recruiting. The coaching staff has to reach all over the country to find players who not only fit their schemes, but also can get admitted into the university.
Stanford has 16 commitments, as prospects from nine different states have committed to the Cardinal. California leads the way with six pledges, yet states such as Georgia, Texas, Maryland, Washington, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon and Arizona are also represented.
The class is broken down into nine defensive players, another four on offense and three athletes. Linebacker and defensive end are the positions of emphasis in this class.
Oregon's Top 2014 Commitments
Royce Freeman is a 4-star running back who is 5'11.5" and 215 pounds. He has good power, plus the California native has deceptive speed.
He will be joined in the backfield by 4-star running back Tony James. From Florida, James is among the fastest players in the country. At 5'10" and 170 pounds, he can do damage as a runner and receiver.
Although he has limited experience, 3-star quarterback Morgan Mahalak is an intriguing recruit. He has a quick release to deliver accurate passes, plus he flashes the mobility to make plays with his legs.
Mahalak will love throwing to 4-star receiver Jalen Brown. Tyrell Crosby, a 3-star offensive lineman, will get good reps in practice by facing 3-star defensive linemen Justin Hollins, Tui Talia and Jalen Jelks.
Dominique Harrison is a solid 3-star JUCO cornerback who could make an impact in 2014.
Stanford's Top 2014 Commitments
Nifae Lealao is a 6'5", 282-pound 4-star defensive end who is a good fit for Stanford's 3-4 defensive scheme. He has good explosiveness at the snap, but Lealao has even better strength at the point of attack.
He'll play on the same defense as 4-star linebacker Joey Alfieri. At 6'3" and 220 pounds, Alfieri is an athletic defender with great range. Behind him will be 4-star safety Brandon Simmons, who has good ball skills.
Christian McCaffrey, a 4-star recruit, is a quick running back who dances around defenders with elusiveness. Daniel Marx has ideal toughness for the fullback position, as he is a gritty 3-star prospect.
Oregon's 2014 Headliner
The top player in Oregon's class is 4-star cornerback Arrion Springs. At 5'11" and 192 pounds, the talented cover man does his work in Texas.
Springs is a confident player who plays with impressive intelligence. He has just enough strength to reroute receivers in press-man coverage, but his recovery quickness is his best asset. Springs can easily reattach himself to receivers before using his speed to carry them all over the field.
He has the hips and route-recognition skills to play effectively in off-man alignments. Springs also uses his speed and instincts to play well in zone schemes. He has no issues peeling off the perimeter to support the run, as he will throw his body around in the box.
Once Springs adds more bulk and strength, he should develop into one of the better cornerbacks in the Pac-12.
Stanford's 2014 Headliner
Without question, the centerpiece of Stanford's class is 5-star quarterback Keller Chryst. Hailing from nearby Palo Alto, Chryst is destined for greatness at Stanford.
With his 6'4" and 220-pound frame, Chryst has the size and physical tools to become one of best quarterbacks in the country. However, he is also a smart passer who understands how to read coverages. Chryst does a good job in the pre-snap phase, plus he doesn't panic after the ball is snapped.
He displays good mechanics in the pocket, as he is fundamentally sound. Chryst delivers the ball accurately with good arm strength to each target. He can drive throws with velocity to the perimeter and third level.
The talented quarterback also flashes solid mobility.
After breaking down each group, Stanford has the better class. Oregon is building a solid assembly of recruits, but this is a victory for the Cardinal.
The Ducks have less commitments, plus Stanford boasts a pledge from a 5-star prospect. The game should be great to watch, but the people on The Farm are winning the race on the recruiting trail right now.
2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map
The Ducks and Cardinal both have recruits who are featured on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map!
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.