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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Ducks eyeing two running backs in 2014

By Brandon P. Oliver

The Oregon Ducks will be looking to sign two running backs in the Class of 2014, and they have a number of options early in the process as the running backs class is talented and deep. Oregon will need to bring in a couple of playmakers, as De'Anthony Thomas could depart for the NFL after the 2013 season.

Below are some of the names to keep an eye on throughout the spring and summer as the Ducks begin to evaluate and offer more of their top targets at the position.

Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), 6-foot-1, 200 pounds
Mixon might be the hottest recruit in the west over the past six weeks, as the offers have poured in from elite programs in all corners of the country. Mixon is among the top players at any position on the west coast and likely will be the top running back west of Texas throughout the entire 2014 recruiting cycle.

His former temmate, WR Darrell Daniels (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) recently signed with Washington, and the Huskies are among the 30 offers that Mixon currently holds. Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M and UCLA are some of the other programs pursuing Mixon. Oregon has yet to offer, but it appears to be just a matter of time. If they do, they should immediately be among the top contenders for the elite ballcarrier.

Christian McCaffrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian), 6-0, 195
The ESPN Watch List athlete is the son of former Stanford and Denver Broncos star Ed McCaffrey. Christian McCaffrey has nearly 20 offers, and that list is likely to grow. Stanford has the built-in advantage with the family connection, but McCaffrey likely will take a number of official visits this spring and summer to schools far and wide. The Ducks recently offered the touted running back and should be in the mix for one of the top players from Colorado until the end.

Kurt Scoby (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), 5-8, 175
In the mold of Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice, Scoby is on the short side, but he has strength, speed and explosiveness that has garnered him a lot of early attention. The issue with Scoby is the fact that he has been at four high schools in a year's time.

Scoby played two seasons at Covina (Calif.) Charter Oak, then transferred to Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) Saint Paul. After St. Paul changed coaches in midseason last fall, Scoby transferred to Los Angeles Cathedral but didn't play football. In January, he left Cathedral and now is at Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany.

The talented runner's recruitment no doubt has slowed because his junior season ended abruptly, and there could even be questions about his reliability. So far, Miami and Oregon State have offered, but programs like Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA and Wisconsin are sniffing around while they wait to see how things play out with the talented runner.

Jomon Dotson (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon), 6-0, 175
A teammate of recent Oregon signeee Chris Seisay, Dotson has Oregon, along with Cal, San Jose State, USC, Utah and others keeping an eye on him throughout the offseason. Dotson might be someone who doesn't get an offer until later in the process, but a strong offseason could accelerate things.

Nick Wilson (Fresno, Calif./Central), 5-11, 190
Wilson comes from a program that has recruiters flocking to Fresno every year. The Ducks have a former Central star -- B.J. Kelley -- on the roster, but Central has players spread out across the country. Wilson might be in the second tier of backs on the Ducks' list, but he has the ability to become one of the elite backs in the country with a big senior season.

Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale), 5-10, 185
Richard is one of the elite playmakers on the west coast and should see his stock soar with a big offseason. He holds early offers from Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA, with interest from Cal, Oregon and Washington. He has an elite ability to make cuts at full speed, in the mold of current Ducks' star De'Anthony Thomas.

Malcolm Bowman (Dallas/St. Mark's), 5-11, 190
Bowman has mentioned the Ducks since he first popped up on the radar. His genuine interest was evident when Bowman took an unofficial visit to Eugene with his father for the Stanford game in November. He also took an unofficial visit to Northwestern during the 2012 season.

Arkansas, Baylor, Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Northwestern, Oregon, Rice, SMU, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Washington are the schools showing the most interest in the versatile athlete. Along with Oregon, Northwestern and Vanderbilt have his attention early in the process.