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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Ducks to get visit from DB McGraw

By Brandon Oliver

One of the hottest recruits in the country has received two dozen offers since he released his junior film. And going west has a certain appeal to  defensive back Mattrell McGraw (River Ridge, La./John Curtis).

Hawaii was the first to pull the trigger and offer a scholarship to McGraw, and his latest offer came from Oregon.

"Coach [John] Neal put the word out for me to call him. I heard that when it was one in the morning and he was still up, so I gave him a call and he offered me right then," McGraw said. "He told me that they wanted me and they think I have the right style of play."

The 6-foot, 190-pound athlete will be on campus at Alabama this weekend for an unofficial visit. Later this spring and summer he has plans to make a several other unofficial visits, including one to Oregon.

"Oregon has always been one of my dream schools. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved everything about Oregon," McGraw said. "They have an amazing program that just wins games."

And the call in the wee hours of the morning didn't stop McGraw or his mother from spending some time on the phone with Neal.

"Coach Neal seems like a great guy and I know he's a great coach. His track record speaks for itself," McGraw said. "He made me feel like they really want me and I could tell he was being sincere."

Distance is often the biggest obstacle for recruits from the South and the Ducks. In many cases, it is the mother that puts up the most resistance. Neal is trying to clear that hurdle early.

"My mom liked him a lot, too, and she felt the same way I did about him. She said he seems like a great guy that was sincere with his words," McGraw said. "She knows I can take care of myself, but in the end she needs to be as comfortable with my decision as I am."

McGraw said his mother will join him on an unofficial visit to Eugene over the summer.

"I'm going to check out the Pac-12 schools in Arizona and Los Angeles later this spring and then head up to check out Oregon in June or July," McGraw said. "I have always thought it would be a great idea to go out West for college. Being able to leave the area and learn to become a man on my own has a big appeal to me. I feel that doing that will help me prepare myself for the rest of my life."

While he feels good about the idea of heading west for his college experience, McGraw isn't putting putting a halt to any program's efforts to recruit him.

"My decision will come down to my overall comfort level with the school and the program itself. I'm looking for a stable coaching staff and the opportunity to compete for early playing time. " McGraw said. "I know there will be guys at every school that have been there for two or three years and have earned the right to play. I don't need to start right away, but competing for a spot on special teams and certain defensive sets is something I will be looking at.

"Even if LSU offered me, I don't know if it would change anything for me," McGraw added. "They are a great program and that's the local school, but I really want to go out on my own and experience something new."