Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Oregon recruiting: Safeties to watch
By Brandon P. Oliver
Jamal Adams (left) is one of the best defensive backs in the Class of 2014.
With the impending departure of both of their starting safeties following the 2013 season, the Oregon Ducks will be looking to add at least a couple of standouts to the back end of their defense in the Class of 2014.
The Ducks have plenty of young talent at the position and will likely return the emerging Erick Dargan in 2013. The young and talented group, consisting of redshirt freshmen Reggie Daniels, Oshay Dunmore and Eric Amoako, is unproven on the field. The Ducks also didn't sign any true safeties in the Class of 2013. Incoming freshmen Tyree Robinson and Chris Seisay are both versatile athletes with good size that have unlimited potential as defensive backs. Like the group of redshirt freshmen ahead of them, Robinson and Seisay have a lot to prove before stepping in and maintaining the level of play the Ducks have enjoyed with T.J. Ward, Patrick Chung, John Boyett, Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson manning the deep third over the past few seasons.
Here is a look at some of the Ducks' top targets at the position in the Class of 2014.
Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue): "Budda" is among the top athletes in the country and the Ducks have already offered the ESPN Watch List member. Baker (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) has schools from around he country in pursuit of him and most like the dynamic playmaker at safety.
Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central): The ESPN Watch List athlete is probably the best athlete on the West Coast, Quick (6-0, 175) can play either side of the ball and could likely do so at any school in the country. He has a long list of offers early on and has the Ducks, along with Alabama, USC, Oklahoma and Notre Dame as his early top five. Quick is the next in a long line of great Central athletes, which includes current Ducks' WR B.J. Kelley.
J.R. Hunt (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler): Hunt (6-2, 195) has yet to earn an offer from the Ducks, but he has very strong feelings for the Oregon program. Hunt visited Eugene unofficially last November and was blown away by everything the program and the school had to offer.
Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron): Adams (6-0, 190) has offers from some of the best programs in the country, including Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA. The Ducks have not offered the ESPN Watch List safety, but that will likely come sooner than later. Adams has the size to be strong in run support and the athletic ability to match up one-on-one with receivers in the nickel or other passing situations.
John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly): Along with Baker and Quick, Smith (6-1, 185) is among the top athletes, not only in the West, but in the entire country. He can be an elite wide receiver or an elite safety at the next level. After being inserted into Poly's defense in Week 3 of the 2012 season, the Jackrabbits' season turned around. His ball skills and athleticism make him the prototypical safety prospect. The ESPN Watch List athlete can play on either side of the ball at an elite level and would be perfect for what the Ducks are trying to do at defensive back.
Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside): The ESPN Watch List member might be the top safety prospect in the country. He is from a talent-rich area and could be one of the best athletes to come from the area in years. He is set to announce his decision on Wednesday, but there is a long ways to go before signing day. Blanding (6-2, 196) is an extreme long-shot for the Ducks, but any list discussing 2014 safeties has to include the dynamic ball-hawk.
Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville): The ESPN Watch List member is another long shot for the Ducks, but like Blanding, Jones (6-2, 210) must be mentioned in any discussion regarding safeties in the Class of 2014. Jones has offers from Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Oregon, among others.