Oregon Ducks: Illinois Fighting Illini

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- It was just two years ago that current Ohio State star freshman Joey Bosa was a top national prospect coming out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.

Now there is another budding star at the high school that produced three 2014 NFL draft picks, and the last name remains the same.

Class of 2016 defensive lineman Nick Bosa has been a standout the past two years for the Raiders, and like many who have come before him at the talent-rich school, he will be a national recruit with a quickly growing offer list.

CLIFTON, Va. -- Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, No. 10 in the ESPN 300, will not be making an early commitment, that much has been known from the start. What is also known about Settle is that he intends to go through the entire process and take all five of his official visits.

What wasn’t known is that Settle has started to think about what schools will make the cut.

“I’m going to trim it down in August to 14,” said Settle, who earned an invitation to The Opening Saturday after a stellar performance at the Nike Football Training Camp at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. “The reason I’m going to trim it down in August is two-a-days and getting ready for the season. I don’t want a lot of pressure on me. I just want to play and have fun my senior season.


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TEXAS CITY, Texas -- These days, it's all smiles for ESPN 150 receiver Armanti Foreman.

Life is good for the Texas City (Texas) High School star. Offers are coming left and right. He's preparing for a banner senior season with his twin brother, 2014 running back D'Onta Foreman. He's enjoying the final weeks of his junior year of high school. On Tuesday, Armanti was sprinting past defensive backs and juking defenders out of their shorts, showing the playmaking ability that has so many colleges at his doorstep.


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#BlueChipBattles: ESPN 150 release edition

April, 19, 2013
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Speedy Noil, Adoree Jackson, Da'Shawn HandStudent Sports, ESPN, ESPNSpeedy Noil, Adoree Jackson and Da'Shawn Hand are three of the most coveted recruits in the Class of 2014.
#BlueChipBattles Insider: RecruitingNation summoned its writers from around the country to outline the recruiting battles for the ESPN 150's top 10 prospects.

Plus, rank the battles in SportsNation.

#TopFBMixtapes: Athlete mixtapes are all the rage in this highlight-crazed era of sports. We reached out to our Twitter followers to find out which 2014 football stars had the best highlight reels on YouTube, then had our staff rank and comment on the top submissions.

Tom Luginbill writes Insider: After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.

Ducks land son of former NBA All-Star 

March, 7, 2013
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Small forward Elgin Cook (Milwaukee/Northwest Florida State College), the son of former NBA all-star Alvin Robertson, verbally committed to Oregon on Wednesday, ESPN.com has confirmed.

Cook originally signed with Iowa State out of high school but opted for junior college after failing to qualify. The 6-foot-6 wing chose the Ducks over Gonzaga, Arkansas, Illinois, New Mexico and South Carolina, among others.

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Tight end Ian Bunting has top three 

February, 26, 2013
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A top three has emerged for tight end Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central). Two of the latest programs join one of the first atop the 6-foot-6, 200-pound tight end's list.


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Ducks land running back with late pitch 

February, 3, 2013
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After exploding on the scene as a senior, RB Kani Benoit (Phoenix/Thunderbird) slowly started to gain interest and offers. New Mexico, Colorado State, Toledo, Wyoming and UNLV all offered, while Arizona State, Illinois, Oregon and Vanderbilt showed interest but had yet to offer. Last week, the Ducks picked up their interest in Benoit again and he returned the favor.


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Antonio MorrisonCourtesy of UF CommunicationsOregon did its best but could not convince Bolingbrook, Ill., native Antonio Morrison to pick Oregon, as the Ducks have struck out regularly in Illinois over the past decade.
The Ducks have never had the benefit of loading up on local players who grew up dreaming of playing for the them. The talent level just isn't there. The truth is, it likely never will be. The Ducks have always recruited California as well as they can be expected to. In recent years, the Ducks have done a great job of going into states not known for producing talent to secure commitments from some players that were mostly overlooked throughout their high school careers.

To continue the series of Oregon's recruiting by state, DuckNation examines the success -- or lack thereof -- that the Ducks have experienced when recruiting the states of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin over the past decade. While the region is not exactly a recruiting hotbed, the Ducks have been able to land a couple players from Illinois.

Here is a look at who they offered, who visited, who they signed and how their careers played out.

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Oregon recruiting: Quick hitters 

December, 4, 2012
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With a week off from practice last week, the Oregon coaches hit the road to visit their commits and top targets as they look to solidify their recruiting class with signing day only two months away.

Zach Cunningham
Greg Ostendorf/ESPN.comPinson, Ala., linebacker Zach Cunningham was offered by Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal this past week.
The coaches spread far and wide to cover the recruiting trail. While on the road, they offered a scholarship to a fast-rising 2013 LB recruit.

The Ducks seem to have moved on from RB Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage), the No. 5 RB in the ESPN 150. They are now focused on Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) and Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) for the final running back spot in their class. Folston -- No.79 in the ESPN 150 -- plays things close to the vest, but it seems like a battle between the only two schools he has officially visited, Oregon and Notre Dame.

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Vandy, Wisconsin lead for Jalen Banks 

October, 4, 2012
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Six games into his senior season, three-star athlete Jalen Banks (Harvey, Ill./Thornton) is filling up the stat sheet.

Primarily playing defensive back, the No. 18 player in Illinois is racking up the tackles and has also blocked a punt and a field goal, forced and recovered a fumble and secured an interception. He’s mad he doesn’t have a touchdown, which might have come if not for muffing the recovery on the blocked punt preventing a scoop and score.

Fourteen programs have extended offers to the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Banks, but as of now he has two teams at the top for him among his favorites.

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If nothing else, 2014 wide receiver Monte Harrison (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit West) made his first varsity football start count.

In front of a national TV audience on ESPN, Harrison caught four passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in Lee’s Summit West’s 23-0 shutout victory Saturday against defending Missouri Class 5 state champion Kansas City Staley. LSW and Staley competed in an epic, four-overtime state semifinal last year that Staley won 76-70.

Harrison set the tone with an 11-yard, catch-and-run touchdown reception in the first quarter, and he was equally impressive throughout the first half. Similar performances could cause a spike in his football recruiting process. He currently has interest from Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Oklahoma. Harrison attended a one-day camp at Missouri over the summer.

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Four teams are at the top for Westerville (Ohio) South athlete Marcus Ball, and he is looking for one more school to complete his leaderboard as he looks ahead to official visits.

Arizona State, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin lead for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Ball, who could play safety, linebacker or quarterback in college.

“I’m just trying to find a No. 5 right now,” he said.

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