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Friday, March 22, 2013
Five linebackers the Ducks should offer

By Brandon P. Oliver

Dwight Williams
2014 ESPN Watch List member Dwight Williams is hoping for an Oregon offer.

With linebacker Jordan Hoeim (Waikuku, Hawaii/Baldwin) likely headed to a future at stand up defensive end, the Ducks will look to sign three pure linebackers in the Class of 2014.

There are a number of elite targets available, including a solid group of standouts on the West Coast. The Ducks have issued very few offers at the position, which will be among the most highly recruited positions for the Ducks in the Class of 2014.

Here are a few names to keep an eye on throughout the 2014 recruiting cycle. The Ducks will likely become more involved with these targets as recruiting picks up.

Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra): The 6-foot-1, 208-pound ESPN Watch List member is the perfect fit for the Ducks aggressive defensive philosophy. Williams is excellent in coverage and plays more like a safety in style and athletically. He holds offers from a number of SEC programs, and has said that Oregon and USC are two programs that he still wants to earn an offer from. He has the skills to succeed in any defensive scheme and fits the Ducks' aggressive defense perfectly. Williams is working to educate himself on every program that is recruiting him but he would like to cut his list down to a reasonable number by the summer. Williams likes the Ducks, but when you are as sought after as he is, you can't wait around forever. Williams is far from sour on the Ducks, but in his words, "the sooner they offer, the better it will be."

Joey Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit): The 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker is one of the top players in the Ducks' home state. Offering Alfieri would be a good place to start as the Ducks continue to press hard for the state's top players. Alfieri already holds offers from the Ducks' Northwest rivals as Oregon State, Washington and Washington State have all pulled the trigger on the state's top linebacker. The Ducks are joined by a long list of other programs that are also keeping tabs on the all-state athlete. As more coaches have a chance to see Alfieri live, his offer list is likely to grow in length. The Ducks should be one of them. He has very strong family ties to Oregon State but he insists that while they were his favorite team growing up, he is not thinking about that as he looks for the right fit on where to sign.

Michael Lazarus (Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley): The 6-foot-2, 210-pound tackling machine is part of a large contingent of Northern California stars in the Class of 2014. He recently picked up his first offer from Cal, a campus he can step foot on with a two-minute walk from Berkeley High. Despite being in close quarters with the Cal program, Lazarus has his eyes on some other programs. The Ducks are among the top schools for Lazarus, who also focused on both of the Pac-12's Los Angeles programs. Lazarus has the size and enough athleticism and skill to earn an offer from any one of his top schools with a strong offseason.

D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito): The ESPN Watch List linebacker currently has a dozen offers and a top three of Cal, UCLA, USC. The hard-hitting, 6-foot, 210-pound Calhoun recently picked up the offer from USC, but has UCLA and Cal on top. He plans to commit before his senior season, so if Oregon hopes to become a serious player for Calhoun or his teammates -- CB Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) and WR Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) -- they will likely need to make their move soon. Pickett and Harvey both like the Ducks early on. Harvey has an Oregon offer, while Pickett is still waiting for the Ducks to pull the trigger. If the Ducks want to get involved with Calhoun, they will need to show the El Cerrito trio some more love soon.

Marquis Ware (Los Angeles, Calif./Salesian): Like Calhoun, Ware is a member of the ESPN Watch List. He is also one-third of Salesian's trio of standout athletes. Ware is a star at tight end, but his size will limit him at the college level. With over 15 offers, -- including three from SEC schools -- Ware has the makings of a star OLB and it is clear that a number of schools are well aware of it. He holds offers from Arizona, Boise State, Oregon State, Stanford, South Carolina, UCLA, Texas A&M, Washington and Wisconsin.