Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Oregon commits react to Kelly departure
By Brandon P. Oliver
When reports surfaced earlier this month that Chip Kelly would be staying at Oregon instead of going to the NFL, Ducks recruits breathed a sigh of relief. All 13 commits confirmed they were still on board with Oregon despite the coaching uncertainty and were looking forward to playing for Kelly.
Despite reports he'd stay at Oregon, Chip Kelly is headed to the NFL.
Ordinarily, a change at the top this late in the recruiting cycle can result in mass defections and mass confusion. Luckily for the Ducks, it seems that the program's culture and recent history -- especially if the majority of the coaching staff remains -- will prevent a flood of decommitments.
After hearing of Kelly's change of heart, the initial reaction from Oregon commits has been mixed, but no one has expressed a desire to change schools.
Oregon's second-highest-rated recruit, ATH Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto), was shocked.
"It was crazy," said the No. 55 player in the ESPN 150. "He was just here yesterday. I was talking to him, and he didn’t show me any signs he was leaving. I guess it is what it is."
Despite that, Wilson says he is sticking with the Ducks.
"I'm still committed," he said. "I still feel the same."
Other recruits felt the same way.
"With Chip leaving, it's [tough], but I think the program will be fine as long as the players want to win, and there's no doubt that they do," ESPN 300 WR Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) said. "I'm not going to switch up. I'm a Duck and can't wait for next year."
Robinson's comments are doubly important, since his twin brother, four-star ATH Tyrell, is also committed to the Ducks for football and basketball.
Kicker Matt Wogan (Indian Trail, N.C./Porter Ridge) was more to the point.
"I think it really sucks," he said. "But I know he had a great opportunity and I can't blame him. I wish he was staying, but I think it gives Oregon that much more reason to win the [title] next year -- to prove it's about the players and the program."
Three-star ATH commit Chris Seisay plans on honoring his commitment as long as the rest of the staff remains intact.
"It doesn't really affect me. I am disappointed, for sure, but my commitment is still to Oregon," Seisay said. "As long as [defensive coordinator Nick] Aliotti and coach [John] Neal are still there, I'm not going anywhere."
Three-star athlete Doug Brenner (Portland, Ore./Jesuit), the No. 11 player in the state, has supreme confidence in the program.
"It doesn't change a thing," he said. "We're not going anywhere. We won't skip a beat. The program carries itself. Losing Coach Kelly is rough, but everything else is in place to keep it all going."
The father of four-star WR Darren Carrington Jr. (San Diego/Horizon) spoke for many when he expressed his shock at the move.
"It's crazy, because it seemed like it had died down, and then out of the blue, bam, it's done," Carrington Sr. said.
RecruitingNation's Damon Sayles contributed to this report.