- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
After a second straight win against USC in Los Angeles gave Oregon its 13th consecutive road victory -- and 12th straight win overall -- the Ducks are flying high, and recruits are taking notice.
In recent years, the Ducks have made a habit of sitting back and letting things play out in recruiting. Last year, they added two ESPN 150 players -- Bralon Addison and Arik Armstead -- at the end of the recruiting cycle. So far this year, the Ducks have a small but talented recruiting class. If the latest rumblings and recent history are any indication, the Ducks seem to be in prime position to make a late push up the class rankings.
The biggest news of the recruiting weekend is that one of USC's top recruits -- Max Redfield of Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School -- chose to open up his recruitment. Redfield decommitted on Sunday after a couple weeks of speculation that he would do so after a strong visit to Notre Dame last month.
Redfield always targeted Oregon as one of the schools he wanted to visit along with USC, Notre Dame and Washington. He is scheduled to visit Washington this weekend and plans to take an official visit to Oregon after his season ends. As one of the top athletes in the country, Redfield has the potential to be an elite safety or wide receiver at the next level. His size, versatility and elite athleticism are exactly what the Ducks look for in a recruit.
The Trojans and the Irish have to be considered the favorites, but Washington has shown an ability to go into California and sign some top talent. A strong visit to Eugene, coupled with a strong close to the season could put Oregon right in the mix for the 6-foot-2, 181-pound athlete.
Two elite linebackers are planning visits to Oregon and the Ducks' need for linebackers in this class make Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/ Prestonwood) and Peter Kalambayi (Matthews, N.C./Butler), the top targets in this class.
Mitchell has Ohio State out in front with Oklahoma and Texas A&M trailing. Oregon sits in fourth at the moment but by Mitchell's own admission, he knows less about the Ducks than any of his other favorites. The No. 121 player in the ESPN 150 is working on setting up a visit to Eugene, and that would be a big step for the Ducks to take a leap forward on his list.
The four-star Kalambayi made an early commitment to Stanford and while he remains committed to the Cardinal, he is still looking at the Ducks. At 6-foot-3 and 238-pounds, Kalambayi would be a huge addition to Oregon's class as the Ducks look to replace Kiko Alonso at middle linebacker.
The Ducks don't make a habit of recruiting committed players, but the need for linebackers in this class make this a unique situation.
Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell made a quick trip to Florida last week to see running back target Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa). Folston recently visited Notre Dame and said his next official visit will be to Oregon. Folston fits the mold of an Oregon running back and would be another dynamic weapon for the Ducks' offense. The No. 79 player in the ESPN 150 has offers from nearly the entire SEC in addition to Florida State, Nebraska and Virginia Tech, among others. The Ducks face some stiff competition but are making a late push for the 5-foot-9, 190-pound back.
Junior running back Joe Mixon (Oakland, Calif./Freedom) has been in touch with the Ducks and said on Sunday night an Oregon coach will be at his school this week as the Ducks head to Berkeley, Calif., to take on Cal. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound running back has an early offer from Oregon State and likes the Ducks, USC and Washington.