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Friday, March 1, 2013
Oregon recruiting mailbag: March 1

By Brandon P. Oliver

With spring football just a month away, the Oregon Ducks and their fans are champing at the bit to see some live action on the football field.  Things are also heating up on the recruiting trail as things are beginning to ramp up with the camp and combine circuit well under way for the Class of 2014.

Here are some of the top submissions for this week's mail bag.

Kevin O. (Seattle, Wash.): Does Oregon have a shot at any of the kids from St. John Bosco in 2014? Bryce Treggs (Cal) never really looked at Oregon. Nico Falah (USC) gave us a look but we were a distant third behind USC and UW. Do Dorton, Mama, Hale or any of their other guys take a serious look at Oregon?

DuckNation: There is nothing that suggests any of them won't give Oregon a serious look, so the Ducks have to feel good about having a shot at signing some of the Braves' top prospects. CB Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has said publicly that an Oregon offer would be a "dream come true."

Joe Mixon
Joe Mixon has dozens of offers, but not one from Oregon.
DE Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has received interest from schools nationwide, including the Ducks. Dorton likes local schools UCLA and USC early on, but after visiting USC for its recent junior day, he is unsure of how much interest the Trojans have in him. The Ducks could become a serious player for Dorton if they decide to pursue him hard.

As far as OL Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) goes, it is likely that the Ducks will continue to look at other options along the offensive line. Mama is a huge prospect that fits much better in a more traditional offense. If he is able to show better footwork, fitness and overall athleticism throughout the camp season, Mama may get more of a look from the Ducks.

Ryan W. (Beaverton, Ore.): How well do you think Oregon will do in recruiting California under Mark Helfrich. More specifically, how well do you see them recruiting the Golden State for the Class of 2014?

DN: One thing to note is that Helfrich is a native of the Northwest. Chip Kelly was a native and lifelong resident of the Northeast. Helfrich knows the West Coast better than Kelly ever could have. He also knows how the Oregon program was built and he understands everything that has gotten the Ducks to their current level of success.

Helfrich knows the talent level in the Northwest and how it compares to the talent in California. His understanding of the West Coast gives him an advantage over Kelly in that he likely has a better beat on what areas produce what talent. To sum it up, Oregon will continue to do well in California. The entire West region -- and the entire country -- recruits California hard every year. USC and UCLA will always have first dibs on the local talent, but Oregon has proven the ability to go head-to-head with any school when recruiting the top talent in California. The Ducks may not land the state's top player every year, but they will land a large contingent of California's best recruits every year.

David R. (Torrance, Calif.): When are the Ducks going to offer Joe Mixon, Manny Wilkins and Michael Lazarus. We always recruit Northern California really well, but it seems like we should have learned by now that waiting to offer talented kids that love the Ducks, can be very costly in the end.

DN: It is only February, so there is no need to panic just yet. The Ducks have waited too long in the past, but if they haven't offered those three -- or a host of other recruits that love the Ducks -- by the end of the summer, it might be time to revisit this topic.

Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) has a love for the Ducks but he has yet to be offered by any program. His academics are now in order and the offers -- including one from Oregon -- to one of the West's best quarterbacks are not too far off. RB Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) has over 30 offers from programs, but not from Oregon. It is unclear why the Ducks have yet to offer, but he is one of the top backs in the country and will continue to be a top target of the Ducks in the coming months. An offer shouldn't be too far in the future.

Like Wilkins,  LB Michael Lazarus (Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley) has not been shy about his love for the Ducks. Oregon needs linebackers in a big way and Lazarus is one of the best in the West. If he is able to make it to an Oregon camp this summer, he could receive an offer in the coming months. If not, he may have to wait until the Ducks see him play live this coming fall.

The Ducks are clearly being more aggressive in issuing offers earlier in the process, but they will never throw out blanket offers like some programs do.