- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Ducks have closed the books on the 2014 recruiting class and are well on their way on the 2015 recruiting trail. The 2014 class finished ranked No. 27 in the country, marking the fifth consecutive year Oregon has inked a top-30 class.
Obviously, rankings aren’t everything and each class and individual brings something different to the Ducks. So as we continue to prepare for Oregon’s spring season, we’re going to take a walk down memory lane and count down the top five Oregon recruiting classes.
No. 5: 2010 class
23 signees | Four ESPN 150 members
Five stars: 0 | Four stars: 5 | Three stars: 12
Top signee: No. 6 RB Lache Seastrunk
This was the class that began the Ducks’ five year streak in the top 30, but more notably, this was a class that really showed how the Ducks were going to consistently reach outside of their Oregon-Washington-Hawaii-California territory to snatch up top recruits.
In the four recruiting classes from 2006 to 2009, 28 percent of recruits came from outside of those four states. The 2008 class was a bit of an anomaly as nine of its 20 signees (45 percent) hailed from outside that territory. But overall, those four classes rarely saw a commit from outside of Oregon-Washington-Hawaii-California. But in the five recruiting classes from 2010 to 2014, 46 percent of the Ducks signees have come from outside the Oregon home territory, an 18-percent jump from the previous four classes.
The 2010 class started that consistent trend, snagging 11 of its 23 signees (48 percent) from outside its home territory. Of its four-stars, four hailed from recruiting trails that the Ducks hadn’t always dominated -- two from Texas, one from Michigan, one from Utah. But, the Ducks also showed strides by picking up a commit from Illinois, two from Arizona, one from North Carolina and two from Florida.
In 2011 only 39 percent of commits hailed from outside of Oregon’s home territory but every recruiting class since has had at least 40 percent of its commits coming from further stretches. However, like the 2010 class, a good chunk of the top talent was coming from outside of those four states. Three of the five ESPN 150 members in the 2011 class hailed from Florida, Arizona and Texas -- three states that have historically produced some of the best football players, three states that coaches need to comb for talent if they want to compete at a national level.
This is a class that produced huge talent for the Ducks on defense. The 2010 class saw the signings of Dior Mathis and Troy Hill, who are battling for the open cornerback job left by fellow 2010 signee Terrance Mitchell. This class also produced starting defensive backs Isaac Dixon and Erick Dargan. Moving up the field a bit the 2010 class also boasts linebackers Derrick Malone and Tony Washington. Offensively, this class has produced less but it did bring center Hroniss Grasu to campus. Of those players, the only ones who are really from outside of the Oregon home territory are Mathis and Dixon, so while the on-field talent from this class is still Oregon and California-centric, this class did make a national push, which matters.
Success on the field helps recruiting, obviously. So the Rose Bowl appearance, Civil Bowl appearance and 10-win season the previous year were aspects that helped garner attention from national recruits for the 2010 class.
Being able to snag kids from SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 territory is what makes a program able to compete with those other conferences. And though the battles on the recruiting trail aren’t as important as the battles on the field, it’s those smaller battles in the high school realm that make the college game so competitive across conferences. And every school that can and does recruit nationally inked that first class that really got it started. For Oregon, that’s the 2010 class.