Young talent not a deterrent for recruits

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
4:40
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When looking across the college football landscape, one of the more common themes among elite programs is that in spite of all the talent within their programs, recruits flock to the campuses of schools like USC and Alabama.

Most of the top programs are littered with future NFL players and rely on talent and depth more so than experience. Experience helps in close games and road contests, but when you look at Alabama, Florida, LSU, USC and other elite programs, the best players play no matter their age.

In years past, the Oregon Ducks had years where they made an occasional run towards the top and while those Ducks teams had elite players, it was experience and leadership that guided them to the near the top of the rankings.

More recently however, Oregon has been on a rise up the recruiting charts under Chip Kelly and the results are beginning to show. A look at the two-deep roster and it is easy to see the progression the Ducks have made under Kelly.

Under former coach Mike Bellotti, the Ducks often relied on upperclassmen to lead them. While Kelly and his staff would prefer to have a team led by upperclassmen, they know they can't keep players like De'Anthony Thomas, Jake Fisher and Addison off the field.

During Pete Carroll's tenure at USC, opposing fans often wondered how, in spite of a loaded roster, USC could continue to haul in recruiting classes overflowing with elite talent every year.

The same can be said for many top programs and there are a number of reasons for it.

A big reason is that competition breeds success. When a team has to work that hard every day in practice just to see the field, it makes Saturdays seem that much easier.

Oregon is still not on the level of the other programs, and at least in terms of recruiting, it never will be. That being said, there are talented players now flocking to Eugene to play for Kelly and the high flying Ducks.

Ducks' freshman wide receiver Addison could have gone to almost any school he wanted to, but chose to sign with the Ducks because he knew his potential and talent would be optimized in Kelly's system. He didn't care that Thomas had two years left in the spot he will likely assume once Thomas moves on. What Addison cared about was getting better as a player and having a challenge in practice every day.

After impressing coaches and teammates alike during fall camp, Addison has already seen plenty of action in the Ducks first two games. While there have many a couple freshman mistakes early on, you can see the potential that he and the other young players on the roster possess.

Some might question whether a team can have too much young talent, thus making them an undesirable destination for recruits. While it can be a deterrent for some prospects, especially at the quarterback position, the reason the top programs are on top and will stay on top is due to the culture of competition they create within the program.

Chip Kelly's "Win The Day" slogan, is more than a catch phrase. It's a way of life. He looks for players that will buy into that mantra and lets them decide their place in the program with how hard they work.

So far, so good.

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