- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
When ESPN 150 ATH Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) announced he would join fellow ESPN 150 member, RB Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) -- who committed in November of 2011 -- in the Oregon Ducks' recruiting class, it gave the Ducks a great start to their recruiting class.
Not much has changed since then as the Ducks still have the two elite running back prospects committed to help fill the void that will be left when Kenjon Barner heads to the NFL in 2013. Barner's absence will leave the Ducks with only sophomore-to-be Bryon Marshall and De'Anthony Thomas -- who is more natural in the slot -- as the Ducks' lone returning scholarship running backs. Despite having two elite backs on board in the Class of 2013, the Ducks are still pursuing a third option to help solidify the depth in their talented, but thin backfield.
After months of targeting fellow ESPN 150 members Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage), Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa), the Ducks' recruiting picture has become a bit more clear. The Ducks recently dropped their pursuit of Green, the No. 5 RB in the country. The other name that has been a constant through the entire process is Terrell Newby II (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade), who was just named player of the year in one of Southern California's toughest and most talented leagues.
Plenty of names have been thrown around but there are only a couple of other running backs out there that could potentially end up with an offer from the Ducks, should they fail to land their top targets.
Who they have offered and are still pursuing
ATH Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa)- The No. 79 player in the ESPN 150 is the perfect fit for the Oregon offense. While he is classified as an athlete, he is destined to be a running back. Adding another back the caliber of Folston would give the Ducks what would easily be their greatest running back haul ever on paper.
Folston has visited Notre Dame and Oregon thus far and has the two schools, along with Florida State, South Florida Tennessee and Auburn as his finalists. He has hinted towards a possible announcement at the Under Armour All-American Game. If that were to happen, it would be a good sign for the Ducks and the Irish as both schools made a very strong impression on the 5-foot-9, 195-pound back.
Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross)- The No. 4 RB in the country has always had Alabama and Georgia as his top two schools, with Oregon lurking just outside of his early top-five list. Last month, the Under Armour All-American surprised many when he named Oregon as the third school that is still under consideration for his signature.
The Ducks visited the 5-foot-10, 192-pound playmaker at his school recently and are still trying to get him to Eugene for an official visit. A visit is far from a sure thing, but even if the Ducks do get a visit from the dynamic runner, a commitment is highly unlikely.
Who they are pursuing but have yet to offer
Terrell Newby II (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade)- Newby, who was named Mission League Player of the Year -- a league that also has state champion Gardena (Calif.) Serra and 2014 CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), as well as Vanderbilt QB commit Chad Kanoff (North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard-Westlake), Oregon OL target Thomas Oser (North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) and LSU QB commit Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles, Calif./Cathedral) -- has yet to receive an offer from the Ducks.
Despite not having an offer from the Ducks, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound back has kept Oregon among his finalists, along with UCLA, Cal, Washington and Nebraska. Newby had an outstanding senior season and plays in an offense similar to that of the Ducks. The three-star has long said that the Ducks' offense would allow the easiest transition to the college game.
It may be too late for the Ducks to win Newby over after failing to offer him for so long. If they are able to set up an official visit and they decide to offer, there is still a shot that the Ducks could end up with Newby's signature in February.
Kani Benoit (Phoenix, Ariz./Thunderbird)- The 5-foot-11, 200-pound All-State RB has seen his stock soar since the beginning of his senior season. He does not have an offer but has been in constant contact with Ducks' RB coach Gary Campbell over the past few months.
Benoit has earned scholarship offers from Toledo, UNLV, Colorado State, New Mexico and New Mexico State after rushing for 2260 yards and 36 TD as a senior. Benoit really likes the Ducks and while he may not have the name recognition of the Ducks' other targets, he would be a very solid piece to the Ducks recruiting class, should the Ducks decide to offer him a scholarship.