- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
With the fluidity of the Oregon Ducks' LB recruiting in recent weeks, the news has been coming and going in a fast and furious manner. Last week, the Ducks were thought to have offered two linebackers from the Southeast. An offer did go out to one but the other has yet to become official. If it does, it could play a key role in the closing stretch of Oregon's 2013 recruiting class.
The Ducks offered former Auburn commit, LB Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett), after his decommitment from the Tigers. Johnson likes Ohio State and Florida but might consider an Oregon visit.
Fast-rising LB Zach Cunningham (Pinson, Ala./Pinson Valley) has had Oregon DB coach John Neal and Ducks' LB coach Don Pellum in town to see him over the past two weeks. The Ducks are known for doing their due diligence when it comes to recruits, especially when it comes to far-away targets.
Per Pinson Valley coach Matt Glover, coach Pellum will be at the Cunningham's home to meet with his family on Wednesday. Distance could be a concern with Cunningham's mother but if she feels comfortable with Oregon, an offer -- and a scheduled official visit -- is likely to come soon after.
"They came by and say they really like the way he plays the game," Glover said. "After receiving his transcripts, they spoke to his teachers, his coaches and his counselors and seem to be pleased with the information they gathered."
Glover said they should be pleased with everything they learn about his star player.
"He is a great kid any way you look at it. He has the grades, the attitude, the talent and the work ethic. Some schools just don't think he has the ability to put on the necessary weight to be a college linebacker," Glover said. "We have a wide receiver [Earnest Robinson] committed to Auburn and every time someone comes by to see him, I tell them they're missing out on the best player on our team. Zach is the best player I've ever coached."
The weight issue could help the Ducks' chances for Cunningham. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, many SEC schools have shied away from the four-star based on his frame. For the Ducks' aggressive defensive style, the rangy Cunningham perfectly fits the mold of an Oregon linebacker.
"Coach Pellum really likes what he sees in person and on tape. He raves about him and thinks Zach is a perfect fit for what they want to do," Glover said. "If they make a good impression on mom, Oregon will definitely be in his top two schools. He really likes that program."
Cunningham currently holds 15 offers, including Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Colorado, North Carolina State, Penn State, Duke, Louisiana Tech and UAB. Newly hired Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is expected to visit Cunningham this week, and an offer from the Tigers could be on the horizon.
6dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller
7dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller