- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
The biggest key to Oregon's lethal offense is one that often gets glossed over, and sometimes criticized. Playmakers like Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas get all the media love, but none of it would be possible without the Ducks unique and effective offensive line.
Just like the wide receiver position in Chip Kelly's blur offense, the offensive line is tougher to recruit for than one might think. The Ducks look for a very specific type of lineman. They don't have the maulers that Alabama or Wisconsin have every year, but they have great athletes who happen to be in the 6-foot-5, 300-pound range.
The Ducks' zone-blocking scheme isn't the most fun style for an offensive lineman. Coupled with the Ducks hurry-up offense, it cuts the recruiting pool in half for the Ducks. Let's face it, some offensive line prospects don't want to have to sprint 30 yards up the field in a few short seconds between every play.
The Ducks have improved in both size and athleticism at the position and have some young talent waiting in the wings. That said, the Ducks saw the careers of Nick Rowland and Jamaal Burrell -- two promising young offensive linemen -- end due to medical issues. Last year, the Ducks came up empty in a loaded class of offensive linemen on the West Coast. The Ducks did sign Kyle Long out of the junior college ranks but are still awaiting word on his appeal for another year of eligibility.
The bottom line is that the Ducks are in need of restocking the offensive front. So far in this class, the Ducks have three commitments, including ESPN 300 member Evan Voeller --West Linn (Ore.) High School.
As the Ducks continue the search for one or two more offensive linemen, here is how the position is shaping up for the Class of 2013.
Official visits in parentheses
Evan Voeller: West Linn (Ore.) High School -- 6-foot-5, 285-pounds -- No. 179 in ESPN 300; No. 12 Offensive tackle.
Alex Redmond: Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School -- 6-foot- 4, 302 -- No. 48 offensive tackle, No. 64 in California.
Doug Brenner: Portland (Ore.) Jesuit -- 6-foot-2, 277-pounds -- No. 153 ATH, No. 11 in Oregon
Current targets with offers:
J.D. Hinnant: Fountain Valley (Calif.) High School -- 6-foot-4, 270-pound -- No. 40 OG, No. 77 in California.
Favorite: Cal (Nov. visit TDB)
Next in line: Oregon (Nov. 16), Nebraska (Oct 28.)
Dark horse: Oregon State (Nov. 23)
Hinnant plays in an offense similar to what the Ducks utilize and has said that he would feel most comfortable in that style of scheme. He has a great relationship with the staff at Cal and has visited Berkeley unofficially a couple of times.
Thomas Oser: North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake -- 6-foot-5, 285-pounds -- No. 65 offensive tackle, No. 84 in California.
Favorite: Oregon (Oct. 12)
Next in line: Stanford (TBD), Vanderbilt (TDB)
Dark horse: Oregon State (TBD)
Oregon might be the favorite by default due to hosting Oser on his only visit thus far. He is originally from New Jersey, so the distance to Vanderbilt, where friend and teammate quarterback Chad Kanoff (North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) is committed, isn't an issue according to Oser.
Stanford is always tough to beat for offensive linemen, but the Ducks did make a great impression on the three-star Oser.
Hinnant and Oser are the only uncommitted offensive line targets that hold an offer and are still being pursued by the Ducks. There have been rumors of players committed to other schools wanting to take a visit to Oregon, but nothing has been publicly stated at this point.
The Ducks will take one more offensive lineman, but could add another if the right situation came about.
2dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller
3dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller