- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
With the season fast approaching, the Oregon Ducks have been more focused on football preparations than recruiting for the future. While things have been slow as of late, by no means does it signal a dip in Oregon recruiting.
With just eight commits, the Ducks have the fewest commits of any team in the latest installment of ESPN Recruiting Nation's 2013 Recruiting Class Rankings. Oregon has never been a fast starter in recruiting, so eight commits in August is not out of the norm for the Ducks.
ESPN National Recruiting Analyst Craig Haubert shared his thoughts with DuckNation to explain how the Ducks made the list with so few commits on board.
"Oregon is an interesting case because they have a small class but they are all good players. We look at quality over quantity when we compile the rankings. That should give an indication that we think Oregon has very strong class in the works. Oregon has a few guys that we feel comfortable calling elite players," Haubert said. "When half of your class is made up of elite level prospects, you are going to have a good class."
Oregon's top two commits both hold a spot in the ESPN 150 and they both seem to fit Chip Kelly's system perfectly.
"When you think about Oregon and what they do every year, your attention usually goes to the running backs. When you look back at the guys they have had in recent years, you see why top running backs would want to play there. That's a big reason why their top two guys right now are both running backs," Haubert said.
Running back Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) checks in at No. 51 in the ESPN 150. In-state prospect, running back Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) checks in at No. 104. The two backs possess elite speed that fits perfectly into what Oregon does on the field.
"Guys like that [Tyner and Wilson] could play anywhere but Oregon's system allows them to get the ball in space and utilize their talent more than anywhere else," Haubert said.
Haubert went on to break down each of Oregon's commits and share his thoughts on the impact Oregon's success has had on their recruiting prowess.
ATH/RB Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto): "Wilson is an elite player that could become the next LaMichael James. He is a very similar player to James except he is probably a better receiver out of the backfield. He can do so many things at an elite level, which is why we have him ranked so high."
RB Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha): "Tyner is one of those guys that has so much natural talent that you have to rank him high. He was an in-state guy Oregon had to get. He has speed to burn and good size to match. Chip Kelly's system will allow him to get the ball and get vertical with it, which is where he excels."
OL Evan Voeller (West Linn, Ore./West Linn): "Voeller is a tenacious, physical guy that brings it every play. He is solid in all-aspects and elite in some. He has room to improve but he showed us enough to earn an invite to the Under Armour [All-American] Game. He is another big get for the Ducks in-state. We have him at tackle but he will likely wind up on the interior in college."
OL Alex Redmond (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos): "He is a big kid. We originally liked Voeller a lot more but once we saw Redmond live, we saw how big and nasty he is. I was a lot more impressed with him than I thought I would be."
WR Darren Carrington (San Diego, Calif./Horizon Christian): "Carrington was a big get for the Ducks. They need to be successful in California, especially Southern California. Oregon has had big, tall receivers of late and he will bring good size to the mix. I love what I saw out of him this off-season. He's big and athletic and he can go up and get the ball. He made a number of one-handed catches at camps that left people in awe."
PK/P Matt Wogan (Indian Trail, NC./Porter Ridge): I don't know a lot about him actually, but he is a good get for the Ducks out of North Carolina. He is an elite kicking prospect that I have heard rave reviews about."
TE John Mundt (Modesto, Calif./Central Catholic): "Oregon always has great tight ends that bring athleticism to the position. I don't think of him [Mundt] in that mold but he has a lot of potential. He is not a flashy guy but he's a good blocker with very strong hands that can snag the ball in traffic. He will be a nice compliment to the young group of athletic tight ends they have right now."
ATH/S Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon): "We're not sure where he'll wind up, but he is a big kid with very good athleticism. He can play either side of the ball well and has a bright future if he continues to develop. He can become a big corner or rangy safety prospect in that system. If he's the last guy in your class, you are looking pretty good."
Haubert also touched on Oregon recent rise to prominence on the field and in recruiting.
"They have become a truly elite program from out of nowhere. It is hard to build a powerhouse out of the Northwest because they can't build their program from local guys," Haubert said. "They have always done pretty well in California but not at the level they have recently.
"It's not just California, either. They have gone into Texas and beat Texas, Oklahoma and LSU for guys. They have gone into Florida for guys like Tacoi Sumler. Last year they went into Ohio for Dwayne Stanford," Haubert said.
"They are no longer just a flashy program. They can go anywhere and compete with local powerhouses for elite prospects."
"They may not always get them to sign, but they have a national presence now. It has become a premier visit destination for prospects all around the country."
Haubert credits frequent television and elite bowl game appearances as a big reason for the national following the Ducks brand now has.
"They are on television nearly every week and they play in big games every year" Haubert said. "The uniforms, the facilities and their style of play make them a very attractive program to kids far and wide. They have the credentials and the appeal, to look kids, parents and coaches in the eye and make them feel good about what they have to offer as a football program."