Oregon Ducks: Missouri Tigers


The Opening presented by Nike Football will take place July 7-10 at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon, with 162 of the nation's top high school football prospects set to compete. With four days of dynamic training, coaching and competition among the best of the best, The Opening is the perfect chance for recruits in the Class of 2015 to make big jumps and shine on the national stage.

Here are five prospects with the most to gain at the prestigious event:

Florida has Florida State. Georgia has Georgia Tech. Kentucky has Louisville. And, of course, South Carolina has Clemson.

When it comes to the new SEC scheduling format starting in 2016, those four schools are already on board. Their annual rivalry games fulfill the league’s forthcoming requirement for a yearly nonconference game against an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 school.

But for the rest of the teams around the league, there’s a void.

Sure, they can go year to year and rotate in nonconference opponents. But where’s the fun in that? Let’s create some new rivalries, and in the case of some programs, reignite old ones.

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops and Nick Saban
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertThe spectacular salaries of college football coaches such as Bob Stoops, left, and Nick Saban are generated mostly by the labor of unpaid workers.
Alabama-Oklahoma: If FSU wasn’t already taken, the Noles would have been a perfect fit. The physical and philosophical proximity between programs is obvious. But looking elsewhere, Oklahoma might be a fun matchup. The Sugar Bowl has already created tons of tension on both sides with Sooners coaches delighting in calling out Nick Saban and the SEC.

Arkansas-Baylor: Call it a throwback to the old Southwest Conference. Arkansas, which didn’t join the SEC until 1992, has played more games against Baylor (69) than any school in its current conference. On top of that, the differences between Bret Bielema’s physical style and Art Briles’ free-flowing offensive scheme would be a joy to watch.

Auburn-Oregon: Recent history and playing styles dictates this matchup. Not only do we get a rematch of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, but it pits offenses that live to go fast. Maybe it could be a two-hand touch game in which whoever reaches 100 points first wins.

LSU-Notre Dame: We couldn’t make a list of nonconference matchups and leave Notre Dame off, could we? Pitting the Golden Domers against an SEC program would be appointment viewing. Make that program LSU and the opposing coach Les Miles, and television networks will scratch each other's eyes out to get the game.

Mississippi State-Texas Tech: The Bulldogs have shied away from high profile nonconference games in the past, loading up on the likes of Memphis, UAB and South Alabama. Well, it’s time to infuse a little spice into the schedule. Kliff Kingsbury is too cool to keep out of the SEC. His Red Raiders would be a good matchup with Mississippi State, which faced Texas Tech seven times from 1953-70.

Missouri-Kansas: Does this one really need to be explained? The Border War should have never gone away in the first place. Now is the perfect opportunity to save face and bring back a rivalry that goes all the way back to 1891.

Ole Miss-Miami: We’ve got to get ‘The U’ involved. Miami and Ole Miss have already played a few times in their history, with the Rebs holding a 2-1 series lead. But bigger than that, it would get the SEC back into South Florida on a permanent basis because Miami and Florida don’t have the common sense to do that already.

Tennessee-North Carolina: Even if most people don’t remember it, there’s history there. Tennessee and UNC have played 29 times, with the Vols holding a 20-8-1 advantage. Plus, even if your memory is short, you should recall the double overtime Music City Bowl from 2010 between the schools. If they can re-create that just once, it would make the rivalry worth it.

Texas A&M-Texas: See Missouri-Kansas. Don’t let conference affiliations ruin great rivalries. Texas A&M-Texas should have never been shelved in the first place. And while the UT administration might not see a reason to bring it back -- nor Texas A&M's leadership, for that matter -- surely both fan bases do.

Vanderbilt-Duke:Call it a private school showdown. The proximity is reasonable, the fan bases similar, and the rivalry could easily extend to the hard court. Plus, have you seen Derek Mason’s nonconference schedule this year? It needs help.

While a decommitment has been expected, defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) has officially backed off his verbal commitment to the Louisville Cardinals Hilton Head High head coach B.J. Payne confirmed.

“Poona Ford has decommitted from Louisville and will take official visits to Texas, Oregon and Missouri,” Payne said. “He has taken time and re-evaluated his recruitment, and decided this morning. As of last night, he was still evaluating everything with his recruitment.”

Ford, ranked No. 271 overall in the ESPN 300, plans to make official visits to Texas on Jan. 17, Oregon on Jan. 24 and Missouri on Jan. 31.

With Charlie Strong taking the Texas job last week, the Longhorns get the first shot at the 6-foot, 285-pound Ford. The nation’s No. 23 defensive tackle has held an offer from the Tigers for a few months and, after originally being high on Mizzou, Ford is reconsidering the reigning SEC East champs. As for Oregon, the Ducks are the latest to the party, having extended an offer to Ford on Thursday.

If there is to be another program that has the opportunity to quickly jump into the picture for the athletic defensive tackle prospect, it’s Michigan State although the Spartans have yet to extend an offer. Purdue is also an outside possibility for a mid-week visit.

Ford is the No. 10 ranked prospect in South Carolina in the 2014 class. He was a standout in last week’s Semper Fidelis All-American Game.

With Ford’s decision to re-open his recruitment, the Cardinals now have 20 commitments, including a quartet of four-star prospects led by local quarterback Reggie Bonnafon (Louisville, Ky./Trinity High).

Army Bowl notebook: Jan. 2 

January, 2, 2014
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SAN ANTONIO -- Thursday’s practice session for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl saw players in more of a rhythm on offense, but it also saw defensive players showing their skills. If Thursday is any indication, Saturday’s contest could be a low-scoring affair.

Here are a few notes:

Cannon reaffirms Baylor commitment … again.

For the Baylor fans who read the late-Wednesday tweet coming from ESPN 300 receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), don’t read anything into it.


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ESPN 300 Iheanacho announces top five 

December, 26, 2013
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On a day when gifts are traditionally exchanged, ESPN 300 wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) gave five schools the hope of receiving a nice gift the first Saturday of the new year.

On Christmas day, Iheanacho announced a top five, in alphabetical order, of Arkansas, LSU, Missouri, Oregon and Texas A&M. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound receiver will announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4.

Iheanacho, the 11th-ranked receiver and the No. 89 overall player in the ESPN 300, said all five schools provide a certain comfort level and offer him a chance to grow on and off the field. Iheanacho also had offers from Florida State, Ole Miss, TCU, Michigan State and several others.

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#CampusConnection: Primetime Live

October, 26, 2013
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Will UCLA score enough points to somehow beat Oregon? Will Missouri all but clinch the SEC East against South Carolina? Will Ohio State remain unbeaten against the rival Nittany Lions? Head on over to Campus Connection at 7 ET and follow the evening action along with 10 of our reporters, including Mark Schlabach at UCLA-UO, Chris Low at SC-Mizzou, Max Olson at Texas-TCU, Greg Ostendorf at FAU-Auburn and Austin Ward at PSU-OSU.

Post your comments and questions and we’ll include as many of them as possible.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the first edition of this year’s BCS rankings released Sunday, we take a look at how the top five teams in are faring on the college football recruiting trail.


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Video: Dr. Lou's Week 7 picks

October, 11, 2013
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Lou Holtz makes his picks for the biggest college football games of the weekend.
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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Oregon keeping tabs on in-state talent 

February, 12, 2013
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Under Chip Kelly, the Oregon Ducks made it a priority to lock up the top in-state players as early as possible. Among the nation's top programs, the Ducks have perhaps the thinnest crop of in-state talent every year, but in recent years the talent level has improved slightly. The Ducks have been able to keep most of the few top recruits inside of the border in the past couple of years. The Class of 2014 doesn't have any players the caliber of Thomas Tyner or Evan Voeller, but there are a few locals who could earn an Oregon offer:


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Oregon DE Humphreys has two on top 

February, 11, 2013
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Hailing from a school that has produced three U.S. Army All-Americans along the defensive line since the 2008 class, DE Connor Humphreys (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) is looking to make a name for himself as he follows in the path of former Rams' defensive linemen Myles Wade, Brennan Scarlett and current Duck Alex Balducci.


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The Oregon Ducks never have had the benefit of loading up on local players who grew up dreaming of playing for Oregon. The talent level in the state just isn't there, and it likely never will be. The Ducks always have recruited California as well as can be expected. In recent years, the Ducks also have done a great job of going into states that aren't exactly Oregon pipelines and convincing recruits to join up.

To continue the series of Oregon's recruiting by state, DuckNation examines the success -- or lack thereof -- the Ducks have experienced when recruiting the states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania over the past decade. There haven't been many, but over the past two years the Ducks flipped two Michigan commits and beat Michigan, Ohio State and others for a third player.

Here is a look at who the Ducks have offered -- and signed -- from the three states over the past decade.

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 Daryle Hawkins Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesOnce a Northern Iowa commit, Omaha, Neb., native Daryle Hawkins switched to Oregon and has been a key player for the Ducks.
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 Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming over the past decade. While the region is not exactly a recruiting hotbed, the Ducks have been able to land some impact players over the past 10 years.

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

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Watch: College Football Final (Week 2)

September, 9, 2012
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Jim Basquil and the ESPN.com College Football team deliver the highlights, analysis, and interviews from an exciting Week 2 of College Football.
After learning last week that two of the nation's top high school basketball players would make official visits this fall, the Oregon basketball program received more good news when the Ducks were named to the top four of one of the elite small forwards in the country.

[+] EnlargeSemi Ojeleye
Dave Telep/ESPN.comSemi Ojeleye has Duke, Indiana, Stanford and Oregon in his final four.
Being named among the favorites for both Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) and Jabari Bird (Richmond, Calif./Salesian) was a big deal for the Ducks, but it was more surprising when four-star small forward Semi Ojeleye (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) named Oregon as the fourth school in his final group. The Ducks are the wild card as Duke, Indiana and Stanford have long been known as the leaders for the No. 9 small-forward in the ESPN 100.

Ojeleye unofficially visited Oregon and came away impressed with the facilities and the vision that Oregon coach Dana Altman has for him.

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Byron Marshall Pulls A DeSean Jackson
Just inches from a touchdown, Oregon RB Byron Marshall let go of the football before he crossed the goal line.
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