Oregon Football Recruiting: Position-by-Position Preview for the Class of 2015
The potent offense on which Oregon has staked its reputation in the last half-decade looks poised to continue its success based on the first four commits to the program's 2015 signing class.
The foursome currently pledged to the Ducks represent the various offensive strengths at Oregon in recent years: running back, tight end and offensive line.
Oregon's 2015 class is currently ranked No. 50 in the nation and No. 7 in the Pac-12 according to 247Sports, but head coach Mark Helfrich and his staff are still very early in the process. Building from what they have in place now, the Ducks could put together a strong group in the months to come.
Powder Springs, Ga., product Taj Griffin is the most highly rated of Oregon's first four 2015 commits. He's also one of the most explosive players in the entire class, according to 247Sports. Kipp Adams' assessment:
"Griffin might be the biggest home-run threat in the 2015 class. At the Atlanta NFTC, he posted a 4.41 40-yard dash, 4.35 shuttle and a ridiculous 46-inch vertical leap."
Griffin is the quintessential Oregon-style playmaker, displaying a skill set that truly lives up to the title "all-purpose back" in his Hudl.com highlight reel.
He does a little of everything for McEachern High School and looks a bit like some recent Oregon stars while doing so. His explosiveness in the return game is reminiscent of De'Anthony Thomas, and the way Griffin finds and bursts through gaps in the defense as a ball-carrier has a certain LaMichael James quality.
Helfrich recognized those qualities and made landing Griffin's commitment a priority, something the 247Sports composite 4-star prospect told Justin Hopkins went a long way in his recruitment.
That was a pretty big deal to me when coach Helfrich came out to see me. I was one of the first stops he made and that meant a lot to me. It also impressed my parents and they love Oregon as well.
Oregon's 2015 signing class is building first from the offensive line, where two of the initial four committed prospects play.
Zach Okun, a 4-star prospect from Newbury Park, Calif., paid an unofficial visit to Oregon on March 3. The trip obviously made an impression, because Okun offered his verbal commitment the following day.
Okun explained exactly what made Oregon the right fit for him in an interview with Andrew Greif of The Oregonian:
I met a lot of coaches and been a lot of places and I felt Oregon was the most family-like. I felt the most comfortable there. The coaches, I have a great relationship with them. Everyone has a certain energy about them, which was exciting.
Three-star offensive lineman Shane Lemieux of West Valley High School in Yakima, Wash., committed on May 3 and told Matt Prehm of 247Sports he is firmly in the Ducks' camp despite South Carolina's efforts.
I've always thought Oregon was my favorite. [I] don't want to say South Carolina pressured me or anything, but it all got blown out of hand about a possible commitment. I felt bad after all that happened, the first person I called wasn't my Mom, but it was to Oregon to let them know what's up and if I committed.
Mission Viejo, Calif., 3-star tight end Jacob Breeland told Justin Hopkins of 247Sports his decision to commit to Oregon was an easy one.
The staff is just awesome and the help you get with academics is as good as it gets. The technology and the facilities are insane. We visited on Thursday and Friday but stayed through the weekend. We came home and prayed about it as a family and just knew Oregon was the place.
Breeland added he will not take anymore visits, save his official to Eugene, Ore., in September.
Ducks assistant coach Tom Osborne scored quite the coup in getting ahead in his recruitment of Breeland. Hopkins reports USC, where Breeland's father played, showed interest.
For two programs that make effective use of the tight end as a pass-catcher, it's no wonder Breeland is in demand. His hands scored 10-of-10, a quality he showed off in hauling in 11 touchdown passes for Trabuco Hills High School in 2013, per Maxpreps.com.
Recruiting ratings culled from 247Sports.com composite scores unless otherwise noted.