Monday, February 18, 2013
Oregon recruiting: QB's to watch
By Brandon P. Oliver
After the transfer of backup quarterback Bryan Bennett, the Oregon Ducks inked one QB in the Class of 2013 when Damion Hobbs (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) signed on to attend Oregon this fall. Hobbs is a project at the position and could eventually wind up at another position if his mechanics don't improve under the tutelage of Mark Helfrich.
Damion Hobbs (11) signed with Oregon as a QB, but he might find another position.
The Ducks will likely sign a pair of quarterbacks in the Class of 2014 and they have plenty of options as the crop of quarterbacks in the class is deep and talented. They shouldn't have to look far as the West Coast is loaded with talented signal-callers that bring a variety of skill sets to the table.
Here are some names to keep an eye on throughout the spring and summer as the Ducks begin to further evaluate, and eventually offer their top targets at the position.
Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) 6-foot-3, 180-pounds: Wilkins has yet to receive any offers but he has been in touch with a number of schools, including the Ducks. Helfrich has been in touch with Wilkins for months and an early offer from the Ducks would put Wilkins at the top of the list of recruits that could become Oregon commitments.
Wilkins has publicly expressed a high interest level in Oregon, but also admits other schools have him looking into their programs. Cal, Colorado, Fresno State, Nevada, Nebraska, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, UCLA, Utah,Utah State, Washington and Wisconsin, have also been in touch with the one of the top prospects in Northern California's Bay Area.
Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic), 6-foot-2, 190-pounds: Mahalak hasn't even started a game for Marin Catholic, but he has the attention of college coaches from around the country. Mahalak -- who served as Marin Catholic's backup QB to Cal signee Jared Goff -- displayed his athleticism by playing wide receiver throughout his junior season. Mahalak has already heard from programs such as Boise State, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, Utah and Vanderbilt. This past summer, he attended camps at Colorado, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, while also taking unofficial visits to Boston College, Miami, North Carolina and UCLA.
Mahalak likes Notre Dame and Oregon in the early stages of his recruitment, but he has a busy spring and summer ahead that will likely have him on campus at a number of the schools he has been in touch with. Mahalak is definitely one to keep an eye on as he has unlimited potential at the quarterback spot and the athleticism for a program like Oregon to take a flier on, even if he needs a year or two to further develop his skills. He will likely become a high-priority target for a number of programs.
JaJuan Lawson (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande), 6-foot, 200-pounds: The ESPN Watch List member is undersized but can really play the quarterback position. His height is a detriment, but the Ducks have done it before with another Bay Area quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli. For now, the Ducks have been in limited contact with Lawson, but he is the ideal target for a second QB in the Ducks' 2014 class.
Lawson might be in the second-tier as far as the likelihood of receiving an Oregon offer goes, but his talent puts him squarely among the top tier of West Coast quarterbacks. Arizona could be the frontrunner due to the early offer and the system Rich Rodriguez runs in Tucson. Sacramento State, Texas State and UNLV have also offered thus far. Many more will follow, but Lawson will need to prove that his height isn't the detriment that most believe it to be.
Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian), 6-foot-3, 200-pounds: The ESPN Watch List QB holds early offers from Notre Dame and Utah. He has visited Alabama, Notre Dame and Tennessee, UCLA, USC and Utah unofficially and will likely see a rise in interest throughout the spring and summer. Oregon hasn't been mentioned too often when it comes to Dawkins, but he would be a very good fit in the Ducks' offense. In time, the Ducks and Dawkins could develop a relationship but for now, it looks like each side has other options higher up their list. Despite that, keep an eye on Dawkins as he is among the top signal-callers in the west.
Jalen Greene (Gardena, Calif./Serra), 6-foot-2, 190-pounds: Greene made huge strides in 2012 and that came after being named his league's player of the year as a sophomore. He is still awaiting his first offer, but the smooth lefty has the athletic ability and the potential to become a star in a system like Oregon's. Greene is the leader for a loaded Serra team that already has college coaches flocking to the Los Angeles area school. Florida, Ohio State and Oregon are his early favorites, but he is also hearing from Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, UCLA, Utah and Washington.
If Greene can improve on his mechanics by the end of his senior season, his offer list should be as long and impressive as the list of schools that have checked in with him thus far. He compares very favorably to Darron Thomas, but is a better overall athlete.