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Friday, March 8, 2013
Oregon recruiting mailbag: March 8

By Brandon P. Oliver

Jamardre Cobb, Marquis Ware
Jamardre Cobb (left) and Marquis Ware have yet to be offered by Oregon.

The Ducks have been busy this week in issuing new offers to some of the elite prospects in the West and beyond. The topic of why the Ducks offer kids when they do was a popular one this week. This week's DuckNation mailbag touches on that and more as spring ball is less than a month away.

Oscar T. (Los Angeles, Calif.): What is the issue with the Ducks not offering so many of LA's top prospects? Jemardre Cobb and Marquis Ware (Los Angeles/Salesian) have offers from a lot of big time programs. Adoree' Jackson and Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) have offers from schools like Florida, LSU and USC, but not the Ducks. The Ducks' best bet is to try and get the best kids out of California that they can. USC, UCLA, Cal and Washington are always issuing offers to these kids, but the Ducks always seem to wait too long for a lot of them. There has to be a method to their madness. They are the best program in the West right now, but it seems like they could be even better!

DuckNation: The great debate! Ducks fans have been wondering about this issue for years. It goes back to the string of off-the-field troubles in Chip Kelly's first year. Aside from elite academic schools like Stanford, the Ducks do more due diligence than any program in the country in an effort to recruit kids with solid character. The Ducks want to make sure the kid fits the program on the field, but fitting into the culture is an even bigger issue.

Oregon is unique in so many ways and the bottom line is that Eugene is not the place for everyone. The Ducks want to be sure that they are recruiting players with a legitimate interest in the Ducks. Any kid would love to visit Oregon, but the Ducks don't want to waste time and resources on recruits that are just looking for a free trip.

All of it might be a moot point as it has become very clear this week that the Ducks are being more aggressive in their pursuit of recruits early in the process. This week alone, the Ducks have offered ATH John "Juju" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), S Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and CB Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei). Smith and Wadood are both ESPN Watch List members and Lockett is gaining momentum on the recruiting trail. The Ducks are close to offering a few more top kids from the Golden State and could even pull the trigger on a couple of defensive backs from the Class of 2015 in the coming months.

Kirk C. (Issaquah, Wash.): I read somewhere that the three USC OL commits (Casey Tucker, Jordan Poland, Toa Lobendahn) weren’t hearing from USC and were starting to look elsewhere.  I think the article said all had been contacted by Steve Greatwood, do you know if that’s the case?  Any insight if those guys are wavering in their commitments to USC?

DN: Toa Lobendahn (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) is probably as solid as a kid can be in terms of his commitment. He has very little interest in even visiting any other programs before signing with the Trojans. Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) was also a very early commit to the Trojans, but unlike Lobendahn, he has heard very little from the USC staff since his recruiter -- Marvin Sanders -- was let go. He has seen a flurry of activity recently and is the most likely of the three to look around. Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./Country Day) has remained solid since his early commitment and it doesn't look as if that will change.

USC is likely to take one more offensive lineman in the Class of 2014 and their top target at this stage seems to be another ESPN Watch List member, Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), a former teammate of Oregon signee Cameron Hunt.

Todd H. (Santa Ana, Calif.): What are the Ducks chances of landing the kid they just offered out of Louisiana? He plays for a great program and has a lot of offers, but his interest in the Ducks seems sincere.

DN: DB Mattrell McGraw (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) has earned 24 offers in the past six weeks, but he said the offer from Oregon might be the one he was the happiest about. He likes the Ducks enough to have an unofficial visit planned over the summer with his mother. McGraw has considered Oregon a "dream school" since childhood and has his sights set on heading west for college. Ducks DB coach John Neal is from the South and has done a great job recruiting the area for the Ducks. He is far from calling the Ducks a favorite, but keep an eye on him as Oregon is likely to be there until the very end.