With the Oregon Ducks still in search of a third offensive lineman to add to their recruiting class, the name most often associated with the Ducks is somewhat of a late bloomer. Better late than never.
Having earned 13 scholarship offers since the spring, versatile lineman J.D. Hinnant (Fountain Valley, Calif./Fountain Valley) has seen his name pop up everywhere.
"It has been pretty crazy really. Going from no offers to having 13 in a matter of months, it is kind of hard to believe sometimes" Hinnant said.
With a large number of schools in hot pursuit, Hinnant has narrowed things down in recent weeks.
"I have a top-four schools that I am really looking at from here on out. There are a few other schools that I might visit. I'm still in touch with Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, but my top four are still Cal, Duke, Nebraska and Oregon" said Hinnant, who's classroom skills may exceed his work on the field. "Harvard offered me a scholarship, too, and you can't ever rule out Harvard if you have that opportunity."
Hinnant went on to discuss his four favorites and what each school provides in terms of future opportunities.
Cal- "You have to first talk about the great education you can get at Cal. It is a great school. I have a great relationship with the coaches there and they have a decent team. They have been very good at sending linemen on to the NFL as well."
Duke- "They're not a football school but they are definitely working to change that. They have some good coaches and a lot of good people out there. I went there in July and they have a good vision for how they want to approach the future. They are making a lot of improvements to their facilities and seem committed to football. Of course you have to mention the education that Duke can provide as well. Their academics are as good as they get."
Nebraska- "They know football out there. The coaches, the players and the fans. They live and breathe football all day, every day. They have nice facilities, too. They put in a lot of work to make that an elite program. They always have good linemen. They have sent more linemen to the NFL than any other school."
Oregon- "Their offensive system is the one I relate to the most as we run a similar style. I feel like I could go in there and have a good idea of what they want out of me without having to learn a new system from scratch. I have a very good relationship with Coach Greatwood, who is a fantastic offensive line coach," Hinnant said. "They provide a good education and provide a lot of support for their student-athletes. Plus the area is amazing. I love it up there. It's so beautiful. I could see myself being there for four years for sure. They also have the best football program out of the four. They are one of the top programs in the country and that is hard to ignore."
Hinnant visited Duke in July but will return for an official visit later this fall. The three-star will be at Cal on Sept. 8 for an unofficial visit before returning again for an official visit at a later date.
The two official visits he does have scheduled are the one to Nebraska on Sept. 29, when the Cornhuskers host Wisconsin and one to Oregon when the Ducks host Stanford on Nov. 17.
"I'm excited to see those two. The fans at both schools are amazing and they are two great programs. It will be a good opportunity for me to see where I stand with them as I try to determine how I fit at their school," Hinnant said.
Hinnant said that Cal offers the best combination of education, coaching and a shot at the NFL. In addition to those thoughts, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Hinnant says that the relationship he has with the Cal offensive coordinator/offensive line coach is clearly the best he has with any of the coaches that are recruiting him.