2010 National Signing Day: The Oregon Ducks Top 10 Recuits
On National Signing Day, the University of Oregon announced it's list of 23 signed letter of intents to the public. The results were very pleasing for Duck fans. This could possibly end up being the greatest recruiting class in Oregon history, and a great way to continue what could be the greatest run in Oregon Duck football history under second-year head coach Chip Kelly.
Kelly described the class ranked No. 13 in the nation by Rivals.com and Scout.com as "speed and speed."
This list includes the top 10 of the 2010 Duck recruiting class, and how much they could potentially impact the program from the next three to five years.
Many of these recruits could pan out as stars for the Ducks in the future, but here are the recruits I feel will impact Oregon's football program the most. There is a bonus list of all the Oregon recruits at the end.
10. Hroniss Grasu, Center
At 6'3", 250 pounds, Grasu could step into the starting role once center Jordan Holmes is done at Oregon.
Grasu is very agile for an offensive lineman with a great motor but will need to bulk up. Something he realizes he needs to do.
Hroniss' high school football coach said Grasu could eventually pan out to be an All-Americanl That would not be bad at all for a three-star center to achieve.
The Encino, CA native seems to have a great work ethic, so he will work hard to bulk up in the weight room while waiting in line. I see him as being as good, if not better, than Jordan Holmes in the future.
9. Nick Rowland, Offensive Guard
Four-star recruit Nick Rowland is a big offensive lineman at 6'5", 295 pounds coming from Peoria, AZ.
Rowland excels at pass blocking and being able to drive defensive lineman off the ball. He also is intelligent, with a 3.7 GPA. The only knock on Rowland is that he needs to work on his footwork. Other than that, Rowland could be the next Matt Unger at offensive guard.
Oregon is relatively young at all spots on the offensive line, so Rowland will have plenty of time to work on his feet and getting bigger within the next few years.
8. Brandon Williams, Juco Tight End
I have been watching highlights of Brandon Williams, and he is a beast. The only reason I don't have him higher on the list is Oregon will not have four years to work with him.
At 6'4", 245 pounds from Joliet, IL, Williams is the perfect fit to replace Ed Dickson at tight end. He may lack some speed, but Williams has great hands and route running ability. Once the ball gets in Brandon Williams' hands, he can do great things for the Ducks.
Getting the starting job will not be a cakewalk for Williams. Experienced tight end David Paulson, along with 6'7" Dion Jordan, are the leaders on the depth chart at the moment, but Williams could work his way up.
Fellow 2010 recruit Curtis White could also give Williams a tough time, depending on what position he plays.
With all that said, Williams will probably get on the field in 2010 if he shows off what he can do.
7. Dontae Williams, Running Back
A 5'11" 207-pound four-star running back with a 4.47 40 time, Dontae Williams' specialty is running hard.
Williams can be compared to a smaller LeGarrette Blount in the way he runs. He still has a ways to go before he gets significant carries under a loaded Duck backfield.
A four-star running back out of Houston, TX, his strengths are physicality, good blocking skills and ability to catch the ball. He still has to work on his speed and agility to be a great fit into Chip Kelly's offense.
It will be interesting to see how Williams can pan out for the Ducks. He could be a young Onterrio Smith (without the wizzinator).
6. Keanon Lowe, Athlete
I had the chance to watch the Oregon 6A championship game, and oh boy, was Keanon Lowe fun to watch.
As a three-star athlete that is expected to play wide receiver and possibly the 'tazr' position for the Ducks, Lowe displays great explosiveness and hands. At 5'10", 170 pounds, Lowe has plenty of room to bulk up. Once he does, watch out because Lowe could be a great weapon for the high flying Oregon offense.
Stealing Lowe, an in-state recruit out of Portland away from the Washington Huskies, did not hurt Duck fans a bit either.
It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly uses Lowe's quickness in the future.
5. Erick Dargan, Safety
Erick Dargan, a four-star, 6'0", 190-pound safety out of Pittsburg, CA, has some fun highlights to watch. The highlights include No. 4 in orange flying all over the field.
I love Dargan because he loves to cause pain to opposing ball carriers. Dargan is not afraid to bring the wood. Being tough along with good coverage skills and athleticism.
The only knock on Dargan is that he suffered an MCL tear in high school, so his movement will need to improve.
Dargan could potentially be a TJ Ward with better coverage skills. Something defensive coordinator Nick Allioti would not mind at all.
With John Boyett and Javes Lewis getting most of the time at safety and rover, Dargan could get some garbage time in 2010 if he does not redshirt. He could eventually be a playmaker for the Ducks defense in 2011.
4. Ricky Heimuli, Defensive Tackle
Ricky Heimuli filled a huge hole on the defensive line for the Ducks.
At 6'4", 285 pounds, the four-star defensive tackle out of Salt Lake City, UT excels at filling gaps and is great off the ball. Combine that with toughness, and you have a special prospect.
One of the problems with Heimuli is that he needs to work on his moves. He has the bull rush down but needs to work on other moves.
Heimuli may only play one year at Oregon due to the fact that he is obliged to go on an LDS mission for about two years. Although, he may change his mind like Haloti Ngata did while at Oregon and wait to go on an LDS mission.
Ricky was a signing day surprise for Duck fans because it seemed he was choosing between UCLA and Utah. Heimuli propelled a really good recruiting class to a great recruiting class.
In my eyes, Heimuli could be the next big player at defensive tackle at Oregon. At best, Heimuli is a hybrid Haloti Ngata. Without a doubt, Heimuli will get playing time early.
3. Dior Mathis, Cornerback
At an undersized 5'9", 175 pounds, Dior Mathis could be a great complement to Cliff Harris at cornerback in the future.
Considered a steal as a four star out of Detroit, Mathis has elite speed with a 4.3 40 time and a great feel for where the ball is out. The knocks on Mathis is that he needs to get bigger and more physical.
Other than that, Mathis could get some playing time early, anticipating an opening at starting cornerback in 2011.
Mathis could be the next Jairus Byrd for Oregon. A speedy corner with great ballhawking skills. One thing is for sure, defensive coordinator Nick Allioti will love having Mathis' speed at corner.
2. Curtis White, Tight End/Defensive End
Being the first 2010 recruit of the class coming out of Eugene, Oregon, Curtis White stuck to his word and is now a Duck.
White has been said to be both a four-star and five-star recruit at 6'5", 240 pounds. Depending on need, Curtis could play both tight end or defensive end. Those are the two positions where Oregon has the biggest need, so the position that White will play is unkown.
What makes him such a great prospect is his ability to get off the ball with great speed and athleticism. At tight end, White has awesome hands. The thing he needs to improve is strength. Oregon is usually great at developing young players who are willing to work like White is.
What gets me amped about Curtis White is that he has always wanted to be a Duck and will bring a lot of passion into the program.
His versatility is what makes him so high on this list. Chip Kelly will put White at the position most needed come Spring. White does not compare to any past Ducks. He is his own type of player.
I don't see White playing much early at all at tight end but could see immediate playing time at defensive end. It will be interesting to see where White plays. He has the potential to be great wherever he plays.
1. Lache Seastrunk, Running Back
The last five star running back recruit to wear a Duck uniform was star NFL running back Jonathan Stewart. Therefore, the expectations for Seastrunk are high.
A good sized running back out of Temple, Texas at 5'10'' 183 pounds with an extremely quick 4.4 40 time, Seastrunk will continue to improve as a Duck and could seek immediate playing time in the loaded backfield with Kenjon Barner and fellow Texas running back, LaMichael James.
The things Chip Kelly will do with Seastrunk will be amazing. Lache is a perfect fit for the Oregon's spread offense with his ability to make defenders miss along with great acceleration off the ball. When it comes to a one-on-one race, Seastrunk will win 95% of the time. I guarantee Lache will have a few 50+ yard runs as a Duck. Seastrunk is also a lot more developed than LaMichael James out of high school.
Seastrunk will not carry a big load at first for the Ducks, which is a good thing because the only question about Lache is his durability. Durability will not be an issue with a stacked group of running backs wearing the wings.
The signing of Lache Seastrunk also means that Kelly can bring in top recruits and Oregon now seems to have a pipeline in Texas.
At worst, Seastrunk will be another Jeremiah Johnson. At best, Seastrunk will do for Oregon the same that Reggie Bush did for USC.
The expectations and potential for Seastrunk are sky high.
Here is the list of other Oregon recruits, all of them have potential to be great players for Oregon. Even the long snapper:
Bryan Bennett, QB: Excellent arm with decent mobility. The weight room at Oregon will do him wonders while waiting to play.
Josh Huff, RB/WR: Speedster with a 4.4 40 time.
Ryan Clanton, Juco OT: Big and tough lineman that will compete for a starting position. If there was a bigger hole to fill at offensive line and Clanton had four years at Oregon, he would have easily made my list. Clanton could be great. Right now, Clanton is No. 11 on my list.
Tony Washington, DE: Athletic end who has the potential to be a great pass rusher.
Isaac Remington, Juco DE: Big and strong end who gives it his all every snap.
Isaac Dixon, OLB: Athletic linebacker who needs to bulk up before stepping onto the field.
Terrance Mitchell, CB: Quick lockdown corner that needs work on aggressiveness.
Troy Hill, CB: Displays good footwork, but like Mitchell, needs to get in the weight room.
James Scales, CB: Very physical corner who needs to work on break off the ball.
Derrick Malone, LB/S: Big physical back who loves to hit, could be the next Patrick Chung.
Eric Dungy, ATH: Could be used as a WR, CB, or S. Needs to bulk up. Having Tony Dungy as his father does not hurt.
Drew Howell, LS: Will take stress off Chip Kelly because he now has an effective long snapper, a more important position than some would think.
Alejandro Maldonad, K: Has a HUGE leg as a former soccer player.