Friday, December 7, 2012
What if ... Chip Kelly went to the NFL?
By Brandon P. Oliver
After flirting with the NFL last year, Chip Kelly's name has been mentioned as a top target of many pro teams again this year. If he did take an NFL job, where would that leave the Ducks' recruiting efforts?
What would happen with Oregon's star RB commit Thomas Tyner if Chip Kelly went to the NFL?
ESPN 150 running backs Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) and Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) could look elsewhere. Tyner was very vocal on Twitter last year when there were reports Kelly was accepting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job. He would likely look at other schools. Wilson, meanwhile, has a great relationship with Oregon RB coach Gary Campbell, who would likely consider retirement if Kelly were to leave.
There is nothing but speculation at this point, but it is assumed the Ducks would move offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to head coach, leaving most of the staff and the Ducks' high-flying offense intact.
The Ducks have built up enough cachet nationally to remain in the hunt for many elite recruits, but Kelly's potential departure could set the Ducks back until they prove they can maintain their success with a new coach. By retaining Helfrich, who -- along with Kelly -- has engineered the Ducks' record-breaking offense over the past four years, most of Oregon's long-time staff would likely remain in Eugene.
Kelly's assistants have an average tenure of 17 years in Eugene, so aside from Kelly -- should he leave -- the biggest question would be who he takes with him and who remains with the program. The cutting-edge facilities, flashy uniforms and four straight BCS appearances should give the Ducks staying power regardless of who the head coach is.
Kelly is the face of the program, and most national recruits don't have the familiarity with the Ducks to look beyond Kelly's departure. That being said, most, if not all, of the team's current commits would likely remain a part of this class. But it could remove the Ducks from consideration for some elite national prospects like S Leon Mcquay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), RB Tarean Folston(Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) and RB Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross).