- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
Every program has a few surprises and a few disappointments in each recruiting class. The Oregon Ducks have built a large part of their program on finding under-the-radar talents who fit perfectly withing their system.
Here's a look at the top five sleepers in recent Oregon history:
DB Patrick Chung (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), Class of 2004
Chung arrived in Eugene as a 16-year old. After red-shirting, Chung was named a freshman All-American and ended his career as an All-Pac-10 selection. He was drafted No. 38 overall by New England Patriots.
DB Jairus Byrd (Clayton, Mo./Clayton), Class of 2005
The son of former NFL player Gil Byrd, Jairus moved around in high school and didn't get much attention from recruiters. He chose the Ducks and went on to become the Pac-10 co-Freshman of the Year, a three-time All-Pac-10 performer and an All-American. He was drafted by Buffalo in the second round of the NFL draft (No. 42 overall). He was the runner-up for the NFL's Rookie of the Year Award in 2009 and was named to his second Pro Bowl in 2012.
Max Unger (Kamuela, Hawaii/Hawaii Prep), Class of 2004
A two-star recruit with offers from only the Ducks and Oregon State, Unger was a four-time All-Pac-10 selection and a two-time All-American at Oregon. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the NFL draft. He has started every game in his three NFL seasons and was named to the 2012 Pro Bowl.
T.J. Ward (Concord, Calif./De La Salle), Class of 2005
Ward was the fifth member of the De La Salle foursome. Ward joined the Ducks a year later as a walk-on and went on to become an All-Pac-10 performer in 2008. He was drafted by Cleveland in the second round of the NFL draft (No. 38 overall) and remains a starter for the Browns.
Marcus Mariota (Honolulu, Hawaii/St. Louis School), Class of 2011
Mariota had one offer -- from Memphis -- before the Ducks came calling. After just one season of college football, Mariota looks as if he could become one of the greatest players in program history.
5dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller
6dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller