The Oregon Ducks had one of the best secondaries in the country during the 2013 season. After losing three of the four starters, it will take a lot for the Ducks to reach that same level in 2014.
The good news is the Ducks are set to sign one of the elite defensive backs from the high school ranks on signing day.
San Antonio (Roosevelt) cornerback Arrion Springs is one of the top high school players in the country at any position. The 4-star recruit is ranked as the No. 9 CB and No. 88 overall player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Despite losing senior safeties Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson to graduation and cornerback Terrance Mitchell to the NFL draft, the Ducks aren't in bad shape heading into next season.
The Ducks do have veterans Troy Hill and Dior Mathis at corner, who have patiently waited for their time to come. The spot opposite All-American CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is wide open, but neither player has shown enough to make people believe that they will grab a hold of the spot and not let it go.
That is why signing one of the elite cornerback recruits in the country is such a big deal. With his physical attributes and savvy on the field, Springs might not start right away, but he will see the field plenty in 2014.
Springs would be a huge coup for the Ducks in any situation, but considering the lack of proven talent in the secondary heading into the 2014 season, his arrival in Eugene couldn't come at a better time.
The Ducks were lucky to keep Ekpre-Olomu on campus but do need to find his new counterpart on the other side with Mitchell bolting for the NFL.
The 5'11," 196-pound Springs has the skills and athleticism to be a shutdown corner early in his career. Aside from his skills at cornerback, one of Springs' biggest strengths is the versatility his game provides his coaches and his team.
While it is unlikely and not as much of a need for the Ducks in 2014, Springs has the size, awareness and physicality to make the move to safety.
Ever since I spoke with him at the Nike Football Training Camp in Dallas last April, Springs has stuck with Oregon as his dream school. At that point in time, he was yet to receive an offer. He told me that if the Ducks offered him a scholarship, he would commit.
After receiving an invite to Nike's "The Opening," last summer, Springs told me that he would commit to Oregon on live television at the event. True to his word, Springs did just that.
The beauty of a player like Springs is that he is not only talented, but he has a good feel for the game and is mature off the field. College life and college football will always be a big adjustment for any recruit, but it won't be too much for Springs to make an early impact.
Any time a program has to hold off the likes of Florida State, Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame and USC to keep a recruit committed, that recruit is obviously someone to be excited about.
That is the case for the Ducks as signing day approaches. Springs has made some fans nervous with official visits to Miami and USC, but as of now, all signs point to the Under Armour All-American signing with his dream school next week.
For Springs, it will be the fulfillment of a dream and allow him to play for the school he has long wanted to attend. For the Ducks, signing Springs gives them a chance to keep there secondary at an elite level as the team continues its push for the program's first national championship.
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