Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Ducks regrouping from all-star weekend
By Brandon P. Oliver
The Oregon Ducks have heard their name called a number of times in recent years during all-star game declarations. With five of the Ducks' top targets announcing last week, Oregon coaches and fans were hoping for some good news. Unfortunately for the Ducks -- who won the Fiesta Bowl a day before the Under Armour All-American Game and the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl were played -- a second straight BCS win wasn't enough to convince any of the five recruits to announce in their favor.
So where exactly do the Oregon Ducks go from here?
Despite missing on some of their top targets, the Ducks are holding steady at No. 22 in the ESPN.com Class Rankings with 13 commits. If they want to stay in the rankings, they will need to add a few more recruits before signing day.
There aren't many recruits available on the board, but the Ducks are still pursuing names that will emerge over the next couple of weeks. The Ducks recent history of flipping committed players at the last minute could come into play, as a couple of committed prospects will visit Eugene over the next three weekends.
Texas Tech commit Maurice Porter (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall) is the latest name on the Ducks' target list and could become the next Texas recruit to flip to the Ducks, following Bralon Addison and Chance Allen in last year's class. The Ducks still need to add one or two more offensive lineman in the class and Cal commit Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial) is the top target. Hunt will be in Eugene on Jan. 18 after a visit to Michigan this coming weekend. If the Ducks can flip either prospect or land Thomas Oser (North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard-Westlake), the offensive line would be reloaded with the kind of depth the Ducks' high-flying offense requires.
Tucker, Ga., athlete Juwaan Williams is still available for Oregon and could fill in at a variety of positions if he commits.
Despite missing on Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), John Ross (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan) and James Quick (Louisville, Ky/Trinity), the Ducks will have the option of moving commits Tyrell Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln), Tyree Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) or Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif/American Canyon) to wide receiver as opposed to LB, CB and S. All three are capable of moving to offense and having an impact. The same can be said for ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), who can play a variety of positions. Williams will visit Vanderbilt on Jan. 19 and decide between Vanderbilt, Oregon, Florida State and Notre Dame on Jan. 28.
With Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) opting for Notre Dame, the Ducks are left to choose which of their remaining running back targets they feel best about offering. RB Terrell Newby (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) has been close to receiving an offer for months, but recently announced he will choose between Nebraska and UCLA. Kani Benoit (Phoenix, Ariz./Thunderbird) has been patiently waiting for the Ducks to offer, and that could happen if the Ducks decide he would be the best fit.
Like Benoit, RB Laray Smith (Brooklyn, NY/Xaverian) has been in touch with the Ducks off and on for months. Earlier in the process, Smith basically said an offer from the Ducks would seal the deal. Then, the Ducks cut off contact with him. He was set to commit to Syracuse last week until Orange coach Doug Marrone left for the NFL. Now the Ducks are back in contact and Smith could receive the offer he has been longing for.
RB Rennie Childs (Houston, Texas/Cypress Ridge) has also received interest from the Ducks as of late and is another name to watch as the Ducks look for a third running back in this class.