- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
The Ducks are one of the few programs in the country that have little local talent to rely on. That forces them to think outside the box and recruit players from across the country. With no long-term tradition to fall back on, the only way for the Ducks to be able to compete for a highly touted recruit from Texas, Georgia or even Southern California, is to win.
With a fourth straight BCS Bowl appearance in 2012 -- including this year's win in the Fiesta Bowl -- the Ducks have joined elite company and hope it will pay off in recruiting. If recent history proves anything, then the Ducks' success in recruiting directly correlates with their success on the field.
Any time a program is on a list with Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Virginia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Wisconsin and Michigan, that team can look a recruit in the eye and tell him -- without flinching -- that it is one of the elite programs in the country.
With their recent trip to the Fiesta Bowl -- their third BCS Bowl victory -- the Ducks join the elite group of programs that have been to five BCS games in 15 years.
From now on, every player Oregon recruits will know exactly who the Ducks are and what they are all about. For recruits born before 1994 -- when the modern era of Oregon football began -- there was still a stigma that Oregon was a traditionally underwhelming program. The players the Ducks recruit now? All they know is the Ducks have been to four BCS games in a row, have the best facilities and the flashiest uniforms in the country.
With the announcement that Chip Kelly will be back in Eugene for a fifth year, recruits will continue to keep a close eye on the Ducks. With a roster loaded with a breathtaking amount of young talent, recruits will continue to list Oregon among their favorites up until the day they sign.
People have wondered the same thing about Oregon's recruiting in recent years. On signing day -- when it matters the most -- Chip Kelly and the Ducks have sealed the deal with some of the nation's best players. That includes the top player in California in both 2011 and 2012. If anyone thinks Oregon's class will look the same after the first Wednesday in February, they don't have to look too far in the past to see how well the Ducks finish.
With 65 underclassmen on the roster, the nation's No. 22 ranked-class and all the momentum a program could ever ask for, the Oregon Ducks -- just like their coach -- aren't going anywhere.
5dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller
7dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller