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Insider

Oregon recruiting: Quick hitters

12/24/2012
Tom Hauck/ESPNHS

After a long drought in which Oregon went almost the entire season without gaining any new commits, the Ducks have been busy doling out new offers, two of which resulted in immediate commitments.

Once junior-college LB Joe Walker (Los Angeles, Calif./Harbor College) took his official visit to Eugene, an offer was made and Walker jumped at the opportunity. Last week, the Ducks found the ultimate diamond in the rough when they offered -- and received an immediate commitment from -- OL Jake Pisarcik (Medford, N.J./Shawnee).

Those weren't the only recent commitments, however. After hosting former Notre Dame commit Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) on an official visit last weekend, the Ducks received more good news when the four-star athlete told the Ducks he was headed to Eugene next year. After decommitting from Notre Dame, Mattingly visited Miami, Arizona State and UCLA -- the school many thought to be the favorite -- before making his previously postponed visit to Eugene.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Mattingly can play both tight end and linebacker, which is one of the things that attracted the Ducks. Mattingly prefers the thought of playing on offense, and for good reason. Most project a brighter future on that side of the ball for the No. 2 player in Washington. His versatility gives the Ducks flexibility as they look to fill out the rest of their class. As of now it appears Mattingly is projected as an outside linebacker for the Ducks.

Oregon still is in the mix for a couple of the best available defenders from the South. OLB Peter Kalambayi (Matthews, N.C./Butler) -- No. 278 in the ESPN 300 -- and four-star OLB Zach Cunningham (Pinson, Ala./Pinson Valley) both have the Ducks among their top two schools. Kalambayi remains committed to Stanford but also maintains that Oregon -- the only other school he is considering -- is a very real option. Cunningham, whose huge senior season has recruiters flocking to Pinson, will visit Eugene on Jan. 18.

Should the Ducks land either of them, it could push Mattingly over to tight end. Conversely, if the Ducks are able to land TE Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), it could keep Mattingly on defense regardless of who else joins the class at linebacker. Tight end might be the deepest position for the Ducks, while linebacker is the biggest need. However it plays out, Mattingly is a valuable addition.

The Ducks are still in search of one more running back in this class, and the two most likely candidates at this point are ATH Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) -- No. 79 in the ESPN 150 -- and Terrell Newby II (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade). Folston is considering making an announcement at the Under Armour All-American Game in early January, which could bode well for the Ducks. Oregon is reportedly in the top two for the dynamic running back, along with Notre Dame. Tennessee, Florida State and Auburn make up the rest of his finalists. Newby recently announced he was down to a final three of Nebraska, where he has visited both officially and unofficially, Oregon and UCLA.

Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) is still in touch with the Ducks' staff, but a visit to Eugene would be a surprise at this point as it has always been a battle between Georgia and Alabama for the nation's No. 4 RB.

Kani Benoit (Phoenix, Ariz./Thunderbird) is waiting in the wings to see what happens with the Ducks' top targets. If Oregon should fail to land any of those top running backs, Benoit likely would get a late offer. He has picked up offers from Colorado State, Toledo, UNLV and Wyoming since he was named a finalist for Arizona's Gatorade Player of the Year Award. Oregon is joined by Arizona State and Vanderbilt as BCS programs that have expressed interest, and Benoit could be in line for an offer from all three schools.

Two of the other linebackers to whom the Ducks have extended offers -- Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood) and Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) -- both plan to announce their college decisions at all-star games in the first week of January. With the dead period extending beyond the first of the year, it is safe to say the Ducks will be missing out on the two All-Americans, as neither has visited Eugene.