Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Oregon Ducks [Print without images]

Monday, January 7, 2013
Ducks strike out at all-star games

By Brandon P. Oliver

While most Oregon fans are still celebrating the news of Chip Kelly's return, it wasn't all good news for the Ducks in the past week.

Thomas Duarte
Thomas Duarte was one of several Oregon targets to commit elsewhere during last week's all-star games.
Five of Oregon's top targets announced for other programs at various all-star games last week, forcing the Ducks to re-evaluate the remainder of their recruiting class.

It doesn't seem as if the uncertain status of Kelly at the time had anything to do with the decisions of the five recruits who committed to other programs. With those players, it was more about them choosing other schools that were better fits and had always been at the top of their lists.

The five targets who decided to go elsewhere were: ATH Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa), who chose Notre Dame; TE Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), who picked UCLA; WR John Ross (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan), who pledged to Washington; WR James Quick (Louisville, KY/Trinity) who committed to Louisville; and LB Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood), who committed to Ohio State.

Of the five, only Duarte and maybe Folston were seriously considering the Ducks, regardless of Kelly's status.

So it's not quite time to panic, as the Ducks -- with just 13 commits -- still have the No. 22 class in the ESPN rankings.

More than anything, recruits might be giving the Oregon depth chart a second look and realizing that there is little-to-no room for newcomers to get on the field. Elite recruits usually want to compete with the best, and they want to play for elite programs, but when there are limited roster spots available, it is hard for anyone to look at that and envision making an immediate impact. Oregon is not at the level of Alabama or USC, but in 2012, 65 of the 85 players on the Ducks' active roster were either freshmen or sophomores. The Ducks are being even more selective than usual in this class and the crowded roster is one of the biggest reasons why.