College football on the field is now officially over. However, there is good news: recruiting is heating up.
And we all know how exciting it is when some teenager that we’ve never actually heard of with crazy good high school statistics dons an Oregon cap at a press conference covered by his local news station in his small town high school gymnasium.
Even better news: the Ducks have become a national player in the recruiting game, with more kids from out of state than Oregon (and even California) on their prospect radar.
So far the Ducks have received verbals 14 players ranked in the top 75 at their positions nationally, including nine in the top 25.
With the latest commitment from defensive back Dior Mathis today at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the Ducks are in the midst of their finest recruiting season in a very long time.
Here’s a breakdown on who the Ducks have signed so far, who they are pursuing and which big names left out there they actually have a chance of bringing to little old Eugene.
Obviously, the two big names are Marcus Lattimore and Lache Seastrunk, the number one and two running back recruits in the country, respectively.
Both have a laundry list of top schools offering their finest coeds and SUVs for their services, but there is thought to be a decent chance that the Ducks land one of them.
For what it’s worth, a site admin on DucksAttack.net received a text message from an Oregon commit that Seastrunk is “all Oregon”.
And with all the Seastrunk and Lattimore talk, I almost forgot to include commit Dantae Williams , a 4* from Texas who could be the thunder to LaMichael James’s lightnight, a la Legerratte Blount.
He’s a 5-11, 210 pound physical specimen who is also a great blocker, catcher and team leader.
Even though Oregon is loaded at quarterback – with Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas, and redshirt freshman Daryle Hawkins – the Ducks added another top prospect, 4* Bryan Bennett, who by the way runs a 4.6 40.
On the line, Chip Kelly added two more top recruits – 4* Nick Rowland and 4* JC transfer Ryan Clanton – to an already deep line that returns EVERY SINGLE player.
Once again, the Ducks are having trouble landing a top wide out. Oregon is in the running for both 4* Ivan McCartney from Florida and 4* Dyjuan Lewis from Indiana, but neither is likely to sign. I guess receivers want to play for a team where throwing the ball to an actual wide receiver is not the fourth option on offense.
There is a glimmer of hope, though. Kyle Prater, a top USC recruit looks like he is backing out of his commitment. Oregon is one of the schools that is flooding his high school recruiting coach with phone calls and text messages.
As far as tight end goes, 2* JC transfer Brandon Williams has given a verbal and there is still an outside shot at 4* Christian Thomas.
It looks like Oregon is stockpiling its strengths, and with no major offensive losses outside of Ed Dickson (I really like David Paulson) this season, the Duck offense should be flying higher than ever.
Oregon finally displayed a dramatic improvement on the defensive side this past season, and by the looks of it, will only get better in the years to come. Lots of big names have already signed and there are still a few more interested that could really make the defense dominant. And soon.
The Ducks’ biggest area of concern is defensive line, where they lose two starters, Will Tukuafu and Blake Ferras.
4* Dominique Easley’s last second and unexpected change of heart (to Florida) was a big blow, but with 5* Sheldon High School product Curtis White already signed, 4* South Eugene product Gabe King expected and a decent chance at Portland’s 4* Owa Odighizuwa, Oregon could still come out with a solid group of defensive lineman.
White was initially recruited as a tight end, but with the lack of depth along the line might be forced to switch positions.
King and Owa are the keys to this class. If neither signs, it will still be a pretty good, if one signs, very good and if by some stroke of Irish luck both sign, well, I might literally jump for joy.
There have been a few rumors lately flying around that said King has been wearing a lot of Cal stuff, but like I said with Seastrunk, you can only believe so much of what you hear.
With a talented young core of linebackers already on its roster, Oregon didn’t have to focus too much on the position this season, recruiting just one, 3* OLB Isasc Dixon from Miami, FL.
Alright folks, this is where it gets fun.
The Ducks are well on their way to the best defensive back class in the history of the program.
With youngsters Javes Lewis, John Boyett (my budding man crush) and Cliff Harris already assuming starting roles, this unit might end up being the best in the country in a couple of years. And that isn’t even hyperbole.
Dior Mathis obviously is the headliner, because after all, there’s not a whole lot sexier than a 4.28 40. Ok, maybe Amanda Pflugrad, but it’s close!
Along with Mathis, the Ducks have received verbals from Terrance Mitchell, Troy Hill, James Scales and Derrick Malone, all in the upper echelon of the 3* recruits.
There is still a very outside shot at Anthony Jefferson and Erick Dargan, both 4*’s.
Overall, this is a very solid class and will probably finish well with the top 25 nationally (Oregon has only had one top 25 class since 2004). That said, the even more impressive thing is that Kelly and Co. are invading recruiting hotbeds like Florida, Texas, Michigan and Southern California, something extremely important for continued success.
Let’s just say I’m very excited for the next few years.
And be sure to check out his blog: the UO Sports Dude .