The Oregon Ducks' recruiting class took a hit on Friday when U.S. Army All-American Bishard "Budda" Baker announced via Twitter that he was decommitting from the Ducks.
In his tweet, the Bellevue (Wash.) High School star wrote, "I have decommited from Oregon an decided to reopen my recruitment Coach H an the ducks are a great program just not the right program for me."
The U.S. Army All-American committed to the Ducks on Dec. 20 after taking an official visit to Eugene in November.
According to the 247Sports.com player rankings , the 4-star athlete is the No. 54 player in the country and the No. 1 player from Washington. Losing the highest rated recruit from the Northwest is a setback for the Ducks, but just how big that hit is remains to be seen.
Despite being projected by most as a safety, Baker was likely to begin his career at Oregon in the slot. The silver lining for Oregon is that if there is one area the Ducks could afford to lose a commit, it is in the role Baker was set to play.
The Ducks have small, shifty athletes in spades and won't miss a beat on offense. Regardless of what the Ducks have in the proverbial cupboard, to stay on top, they need to keep the cupboard stocked.
So where do the Ducks go from here?
While Oregon wasn't named among his top six, which he recently released via Twitter, the Ducks will likely make one more run at 5-star athlete Adoree' Jackson of Gardena, CA. The Under Armour All-American is everything Baker is and more.
Jackson is the No. 4 player in the country at the cornerback position due to his elite cover skills, but his game-breaking ability on offense and special teams justify his ranking as the No. 24 player overall.
Jackson is a long shot at best for the Ducks, but with an athlete of his caliber, it is worth another try.
There are two other elite options for the Ducks at the athlete position on the West Coast: the nation's No. 4 athlete, John "Juju" Smith of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly and the No. 7 athlete, Michiah Quick of Fresno (Calif.) Central East.
The 6'1", 200-pound Smith is considering Oregon along with Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA and USC. According to his profile on 247Sports.com, Smith will take his final official visit to hometown USC. Despite having hosted Smith nearly three months ago, the Ducks have stayed in the race for the 4-star and could be the sleeper pick for his signature.
According to his Twitter page, Quick has Oregon listed along with Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC. The 6'0", 170-pound athlete has mentioned Oregon among his top group since the beginning of his recruitment, but it is unclear whether the interest has been reciprocated by the Ducks.
The Ducks liked the nation's No. 101 prospect enough to schedule an opportunity to host Quick on an official visit back in September. Ultimately, the two-way star didn't make it to Eugene. He told 247Sports recruiting analyst Justin Hopkins that the missed opportunity boiled down to a missed ride.
"I was supposed to visit Oregon but the driver couldn't find my house and I missed my flight," Quick said. "I don't know if people think I'm just messing around but it was just one of those deals. I'm not sure if I'll make that visit up or not."
To date, Quick has not made up the official visit, and he likely won't unless the Ducks decide to make a push for the dynamic athlete.
Smaller, more versatile athletes like Baker and Quick are valuable, but the Ducks have a number of options already on the roster. Baker was set to play in the slot or what Oregon likes to call it's "tazr" position.
Running back commit Tony James of Gainesville (Fla.) High School will not only be used as a running back but will also slide into the slot at times, similar to what De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner have done in recent years.
The position allows for versatility by shifting into the backfield to be involved with the run game while also running a number of short and intermediate routes in the pass game. In short, Baker would have essentially become a wide receiver with a few wrinkles.
The Ducks have a handful of veteran receivers already on the roster and some versatile young players that could wind up on offense as well. In fact, the Ducks already have one of the most overlooked recruits in the country already enrolled in school.
U.S. Army All-American wide receiver Jalen Brown graduated early from Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix (Ariz.) after helping guide his team to a state championship last fall. At 6'2", 190 pounds, Brown might not provide the versatility of Baker, but he fulfills a greater need for the Ducks.
Brown is a big, physical receiver who catches everything, runs great routes and has the size to overpower defensive backs in the red zone and as a downfield blocker on run plays. Brown gives the Ducks a legitimate threat in the red zone and could become the imposing wide receiver the Ducks have long wanted.
Although slim, the Ducks have an outside chance at luring Jackson, Smith or Quick to Eugene, but even if they don't sign another receiver in this class, the Ducks will be fine at the position.
In the 2013 class, Oregon signed 4-star wide receivers Darren Carrington and Devon Allen, adding to an already talented wide receiver group in Eugene.
While the sting of losing the top player from the region might linger for a day or two, the Ducks know they have three weeks remaining to try and make a late move on a couple new prospects or revisit some of their backup options.
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