Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Ducks' success catching on with recruits
By Brandon P. Oliver
Coming off three straight recruiting classes that have loaded Oregon roster with talent and an undefeated season so far, the Ducks are in prime position to close the 2013 recruiting cycle with a bang.
Another great season for Oregon has the Ducks primed to take advantage come signing day, when they hope to ink former USC commit Max Redfield.
Since Chip Kelly's arrival in 2007, Oregon recruiting has taken things to a whole new level. Three consecutive league titles -- and the subsequent BCS appearances -- have helped place the Ducks in the midst of recruiting battles with some of the top programs nationwide. They way they have dismantled every opponent this season has them squarely in the sights of several top prospects from across the country.
While Kelly has built his program by turning unheralded and under-the-radar prospects like Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner into stars, he has shown an ability to battle the big boys for top recruits. In each of the past two years, the Ducks have used late pushes to sign California's top prospects -- De'Anthony Thomas and Arik Armstead -- away from USC.
Despite an upset loss to Stanford, the Ducks have had another outstanding year, putting Oregon in position to close strong yet again. The Ducks currently have the nation's No. 23 recruiting class but are still in the mix for several ESPN 150 recruits, including Georgia's Montravius Adams, California's Max Redfield and Florida's Leon McQuay III. Redfield decommitted from USC in early November and is now considering Washington and LSU in addition to the Ducks.
Kelly's crew hung historic numbers on USC (62 points, 730 yards) in front more than a dozen elite 2013 and 2014 recruits. The long-term results remain to be seen, but the immediate reaction of recruits seem to signal that Oregon's Pac-12 dominance is starting to gain traction with recruits in Southern California. Not only did Redfield decommit from the Trojans the day after USC's loss, but several Los Angeles-area prospects from the Class of 2014 came away in awe of what the Ducks accomplished.
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"They are so fast in person, it's amazing. You see them on TV and they look fast, but to see them up close in person shows you that they are on another level," said cornerback and 2014 ESPN Watch List member Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra).
Should the Ducks rebound to win the Pac-12 title and a BCS bowl game, they will firmly establish themselves as the conference's premier program. Recruits from the back yards of schools like USC, Texas, Florida and Georgia are beginning to see that the Ducks are far from a flash in the pan. While the loss to Stanford may dash national title hopes, a strong finish will cement Oregon as one of the country's elite programs.