Sunday, January 20, 2013
Recruits react: Helfrich named head coach
By Brandon P. Oliver
When rumors started flying about Mike Bellotti's impending departure, inside the Oregon program everything remained calm. Once Chip Kelly took over and had the immediate success that had other elite programs and NFL franchises sniffing around, the program braced for another change.
But once again, things remained calm on the inside while everything on the outside seemed to spiral out of control. Just like they did in 2009, the Ducks acted quickly and promoted from within to keep everything in place. Today the school announced that former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich would become the Ducks' new coach.
And recruiting was one of the reasons.
With Helfrich being named the top man, and former wide receiver coach Scott Frost being named offensive coordinator, things will keep moving forward. After initially reacting with mixed emotions, it seems the Oregon staff has been able to keep the program's recruits up to date on the latest developments. The Ducks' commits and their remaining targets seem to accepting of the changes in Eugene.
Commit Matt Wogan (Indian Trail, N.C./Porter Ridge) is supportive of the move.
"I love it. I think it's the best choice without a doubt and cannot wait to get down there. I'm pumped," said the place-kicker. "And by the way, I spoke to Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) and he says he is staying as well. I just think this is going to be awesome, playing with the players there and the staff. I can't wait."
The most heavily pursued of Oregon's commits were San Diego Lincoln twins Tyrell Robinson and Tyree Robinson. Ohio State, Washington, Notre Dame and USC contacted them immediately after Kelly's departure. The four-star prospects immediately scheduled visits to USC and Ohio State, sending the Ducks faithful into a frenzy.
Tyree, ranked No. 274 in the ESPN 300, told DuckNation via text message that the decision by the university to promote Helfrich was a good one.
"Yeah, I saw that," said the nation's No. 42 receiver. "That's the best choice for the program and the best way to keep things the way they are."
With an official visit to Ohio State scheduled next weekend, the Robinson twins are trying to take it all in, but nothing has changed, according to Tyree.
"The whole coaching staff is coming by on Tuesday to see us," said Tyree, who was on his way home from a visit to USC. "Yes, we're still committed and everything. We're just taking visits to see what options there are. ... It's going to be hard for schools to get us. After we took our Oregon visit, we knew that no other school can compete with what they have."
Long-time Ducks tight end commit John Mundt (Modesto, Calif./Central Catholic) always maintained that he would remain with Oregon as long as his position coach, Tom Osborne, stayed on with the Ducks.
"I'm really excited to see what [Helfrich] can do at the head coaching position," he said today. "I love the fact that they are trying to keep the staff the same. Everything is the same with me. I'm still a Duck."
Another Oregon commit from Northern California, athlete Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon), has also confirmed he will remain with the Ducks, adding that he couldn't be happier with the decision.
"I'm very excited to see what the future holds with him as our coach," Seisay said. "He will keep us moving towards our goal of winning a national championship."
One of Oregon's top remaining targets acknowledged last week that Kelly's departure could have an effect on him, but athlete Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) seems to be happy with the news of Helfrich being named coach.
"It's great that Oregon named Mark Helfrich as head coach," Williams told ESPN Recruiting Nation's Kipp Adams. "The staff is still intact. Everyone has a bigger part on the offensive side of the ball with Coach [Scott] Frost being promoted to offensive coordinator. All the recruits can breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that Coach Helfrich is in charge of the program."