Oregon Ducks: Recruiting

Atlanta NFTC notebook 

March, 23, 2014
Mar 23
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ROSWELL, Ga. -- The Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp is generally one of the most impressive groups of high school football players you will find in the country. This year’s camp didn’t disappoint. Eight invites were handed out to The Opening, a prestigious invite-only camp held in Beaverton, Ore., in July.

Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For most highly-rated defensive line prospects coming out of high school, the word "technique" is rarely used. Not because the prospects don’t want to learn, but because proper technique is something that is seldom taught or even required at the high school level. Top defensive line prospects generally rely on brute strength or superior speed to beat the offensive linemen they face. But for ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Byron Cowart, who is the No. 68-ranked prospect in the country, technique has been his sole focus during the offseason.


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BRADENTON, Fla. -- ESPN 300 running back Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) was one of the top performers on Saturday at the IMG 7on7 National Championships.

While in Florida, Thomas had a chance to visit both Florida and Florida State, and the 5-foot-10, 202-pound back came away impressed with both schools.


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videoThe state of Oregon has never been a premier destination for college football recruiters, but the state has seen an uptick in BCS-level talent in recent years. Likely the state's top all-around player, linebacker Joey Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit) is helping to carry the torch for the state in the Class of 2014.


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FULLERTON, Calif. -- Some of the region's top teams showcased their skills in the IMG 7v7 West Regional at Fullerton College this past weekend, with the top four squads -- B2G 5-Star, Body By Tra, Those Guys #1 and TGS Warriors -- qualified for the national championship, which runs June 21-23 in Bradenton, Fla.

Here are five underclassmen who stood out:

2015 Safety Marvel Tell
6-foot-1, 185-pounds
Encino (Calif.) Crespi Carmelite

Considering: Cal, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington State

What we learned: Tell had a great week and it continued through the weekend. After Miami, UCLA and Washington State offered scholarships, Tell set out to prove that he can be a difference maker in this type of setting. Tell usually seems more comfortable in full pads, where his physicality can be fully utilized. The long and lean safety showed great burst and quick decision making when breaking off coverage and getting to the ball. Tell looks like he will become one of the top players in the west for the Class of 2014.


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Much has been made of Chip Kelly's departure from Oregon, and many questions remain regarding how new head coach Mark Helfrich will handle the red-hot Oregon program in his first stint as a head coach. How much will things change in Eugene?

Through the first spring under Helfrich, it looks to be more of the same for the high-flying Ducks. That is true on the field and in their search for the next Oregon quarterback.


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Spring ball has come and gone and the Oregon coaches are on the recruiting trail. There were a lot of questions this week, and these are the three we chose to run with.

Steven R. (San Francisco, Calif.): What are your thoughts on the Ducks offering a quarterback that has never started a game at the high school level? I mean, don't get me wrong, Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) looks like a player, and Marin Catholic kids can play, but it just seems like a risky move this early in the process. Is this a legitimate concern or am I being an over-reactive fan?


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With the first spring practice under new head coach Mark Helfrich over, the Oregon coaching staff is on the road to identify and evaluate potential recruits, and there a lot of targets in the west who have yet to receive an Oregon offer. The spring evaluation period could result in a number of new offers being extended to a handful of top recruits, and the coaches also will be looking to uncover new targets and work to build relationships with players who could earn offers in the fall.

One of those with the potential to earn an offer received a visit from Ducks' defensive backs coach John Neal Wednesday.


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Once the offer came in, QB Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) didn't hesitate in making his decision.


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With a casual 52 points and an impressive overall performance by the Oregon offense on Saturday, the Oregon Ducks showed that not much has changed in Eugene with Mark Helfrich as head coach.

Based on the reaction of some of the recruits in attendance, it appears to be more of the same on the recruiting side of things as well. While it wasn't a large group of recruits, the program made a huge impact on the kids that made it to campus. The Ducks hosted just one athlete who currently holds an Oregon offer, but five of the other recruits on hand are on the short list at their respective positions.


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In the Ducks' 2011 recruiting class, Oregon fans were overjoyed when Florida quarterback Jarrard Randall committed to the Ducks. Few paid attention when two more quarterbacks committed a couple weeks later. Randall didn't qualify and, around a brief stint at LSU, he has bounced around junior college programs.

All that the other two quarterbacks have done is lead their respective programs to a pair of blowout wins in BCS games as redshirt freshman. One of them -- Johnny Manziel -- was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. The other is well on his way to becoming one of the best in a long line of talented Oregon quarterbacks. As a skinny kid that didn't start until his senior high school season, not many Oregon fans so batted an eyelash when Marcus Mariota committed to the Ducks.

While having a quarterback come in with just one year of experience is not the ideal situation, certain players have enough talent to make it possible.

After a second unofficial visit to Eugene in the past two months, Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) could become the next talented, but inexperienced quarterback to join the Oregon program.

"It was a great visit. I've already seen everything, but it was great to get up there again," Mahalak said. "I had the chance to sit down and talk to coach Helfrich and talk to the other coaches as well. The game speaks for itself. Nothing has changed and the offense was great all day with Marcus leading the way."

While the offense, the weather, the coaches and the atmosphere surrounding the game were all memorable moments for the Marin Catholic star, the family feel of the program and the family connections to the area have all helped push Oregon to the top of his wish list.


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Oregon recruiting mailbag 

April, 26, 2013
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With the NFL draft under way, the spring game on Saturday, a recent commitment and a couple of unofficial visitors, there is plenty to discuss around the Oregon football program. Some of the best questions regarding the most common subjects:

Julie C. (Chandler, Ariz.): With Dion Jordan going so high in the NFL draft (No. 3 to Miami Dolphins), do you feel like that might have some sort of effect on the Ducks' recruiting efforts in the Class of 2014? It seems like the publicity it provides could be the kind of thing that coaches can rely on as an additional recruiting pitch.


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Alabama has offered two Southern California offensive-line prospects who are ranked in the ESPN 150, but much to the dismay of Oregon fans and other recruits, neither holds an offer from the Ducks. In the Class of 2013, both Alabama and LSU had offered No. 10 overall prospect Eddie Vanderdoes by the time Oregon -- his longtime favorite -- came through with an offer.

Closer to home, a couple of SEC schools -- as well multiple Pac-12 schools -- have gotten a head start on Oregon on yet another fast-rising 2014 defensive lineman.


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The first spring practice under new head coach Mark Helfrich is winding down for the Oregon Ducks. On Saturday, the Ducks will hold their annual spring game, and a number of high school athletes are expected to be on hand for the event.


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With the recent announcement from the NCAA that the University of Oregon had agreed to the fact that major violations had taken place during the Chip Kelly era, many questions arose regarding the future of the Oregon program. Fans, rivals and recruits all have questions and comments on what it might mean.

For fans, it creates a sense of uncertainty. And the ruling on Oregon's indiscretions could play a major role in the future of a handful of the Ducks' recruits.


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SPONSORED HEADLINES

Helfrich On Expectations, Upcoming Season
Mark Helfrich talks about handling expectations heading into his second season as Oregon's coach and looks ahead to the upcoming season for the Ducks.
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