- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
With news flying around faster than a Mark Helfrich-led offense, DuckNation has gathered the latest developments from the recruiting trail. Coaching changes, official visitors, canceled visits, rescheduled visits and commitments taking trips elsewhere are just some of the developments in the past few days.
ESPN 300 members Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial), Torrodney Prevot (Houston, Texas/Alief Taylor) and Zach Cunningham (Pinson, Ala./Pinson Valley) were all in Eugene over the weekend and all three liked what they saw. Prevot, the No. 235 player in the ESPN 300 -- who could play defensive end or linebacker -- remains committed to USC, but visits to Texas A&M and Notre Dame await. He will make a final decision on signing day.
Hunt -- No. 275 in the ESPN 300 -- remains committed to California, but the offensive lineman will wait until signing day to decide. He will be in Berkeley this weekend and then return home to examine his options. Cal, Ohio State and Oregon, are the three programs he will likely choose from, as Michigan appears to be out of spots on the OL.
Cunningham -- a new entry in the ESPN 300 (No. 256) -- likely has Auburn out in front, but Oregon was right there with Auburn as the first major program to offer him after a standout senior season. His mother prefers the in-state Tigers, but Cunningham knows that Oregon fits his style of play with its fast, aggressive defense. In the end, the four-star LB will likely sign with the Tigers, but the Ducks will remain in the mix up until signing day.
Two Texas targets, one with an offer and one that was eagerly awaiting one, both committed to other programs over the weekend.
QB Damion Hobbs (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) was set to visit this past weekend after pushing up a planned visit from this coming weekend. After committing to Utah State on Friday, the dual-threat QB cancelled his visit to Oregon and shut his recruitment down. RB Rennie Childs (Houston, Texas/Cypress Ridge) had been waiting for an offer from the Ducks after receiving a lot of interest from the Ducks in recent weeks. Oklahoma State and TCU were set to get visits, with an Oregon visit a possibility. After spending the weekend in Stillwater, the three-star RB ended things and committed to the Cowboys.
Not all is lost for the Ducks when it comes to the Lone Star State, as Oregon is working towards another late surprise from the football-rich state. ESPN 150 ATH Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) is waffling on his commitment and is likely to visit Ohio State and Oklahoma State the next two weekends. A visit to Columbus is almost guaranteed, but Wilson could pass on the trip to Stillwater if the Ducks offer WR Demarcus Ayers (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster).
On Wednesday, the coaches will be in Texas to meet with Wilson -- No. 55 in the ESPN 150 -- and Ayers. The coaches will also make a visit to Ayers' teammate, Washington DE commit Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster). Hall and Ayers are close with Wilson and an offer to Ayers could tip the scales in Oregon's favor. Hall used to live in Washington and still has family there. An offer to his teammate and confirmation from Wilson could help the Ducks pull another late shocker in the state of Texas.
Hall was the Texas High School Defensive Player of the Year, so adding him would be huge for the Ducks. Another award-winning defensive lineman was recently in Eugene and cancelled a visit to Michigan State shortly after. DE Alec James (Brookfield, Wisc./Brookfield East) -- the top rated player in the state -- has been committed to Wisconsin for months, but recently said after cancelling his official visit to Michigan State that he will choose between the Badgers and the Ducks.
Former backup QB Bryan Bennett has left the Oregon program and will enroll at SE Louisiana immediately in order to be eligible to play this fall. His departure leaves the Ducks with just three quarterbacks on the roster -- sophomore-to-be Marcus Mariota and redshirt freshmen Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie -- leaving the Ducks thin at the position. The Ducks are among the finalists for junior college QB Tanner McEvoy (Hillsdale, NJ/Arizona Western) and could use his services even more with Bennett's departure.