Recruiting is a funny thing. A high-level recruit can be the best player in his state's premier program, and yet the state that he hails from often determines the perception of what he is capable of.
That is the story with Oregon Ducks commit Doug Brenner (Portland, Ore./Jesuit). Brenner is the glue of the state's top program. He is the strongest player ever in the weight room at a school that has produced more Division-I athletes than any other school in the state.
Jesuit has produced a number of elite players through the years, including current Ducks wide receiver and former US Army All-American Keanon Lowe and Mike Haas, a former Oregon State star and Biletnekoff Award winner. Brenner's current teammate and offensive line sidekick, Andrew Kirkland, is committed to Washington.
Lowe, Kirkland and Haas are just a few of the former Crusaders who never accomplished what Brenner has in his time at the school. Former Oregon State star and current NFL linebacker Slade Norris didn't do it. Nor did Owen Marecic, a former Stanford two-way star and current Cleveland Browns fullback. Former NFL quarterback Preston Parsons and NFL alumni Pete and Stan Brock join the list of elite players that never did what Brenner has in his high school career.
So what did Brenner do? He is the only player in Jesuit head coach Ken Potter's 26 years at the school to start on varsity as a freshman.
Potter, who is widely regarded as one of the top coaches in Oregon high school history, took some time to share his thoughts on Brenner -- a player he calls as versatile and valuable as any he's ever had.
"Doug is the strongest player in the weight room that has attended this school. He is starting at center for us and he also plays everywhere on the defensive line," Potter said. "He does it all for us. He's the type of kid anyone would want to coach. He's smart, physical and does anything you ask him to do."
What makes Brenner so valuable on the field for the Crusaders?
"He is the only player in my 26 years that started as a freshman. He's started all four years for our team and has all the experience and leadership that you could ask for," Potter said. "He has played offensive guard, offensive tackle, tight end, fullback, linebacker, defensive end, nose guard, and defensive tackle for us through the years. No matter what we need or where we put him, he gets the job done at a high level."
Off the field and in the future, Potter sees great things from Brenner.
"He is a 3.8+ GPA student, with 4.0 being the max. He is a quality person every way you look at it," Potter said. "The fact that he is an outstanding football player is only part of who he is. He will do great things when he gets to Eugene and for the rest of his life."
The Ducks haven't had a lot of success with Jesuit players, as Oregon State has been more aggressive in recruiting the school. If Brenner is anything like Haas, Norris, Marecic or any of the recently overlooked recruits that went on to the NFL, Oregon fans have a lot to look forward to.