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Friday, April 26, 2013
Oregon recruiting mailbag

By Brandon P. Oliver

With the NFL draft under way, the spring game on Saturday, a recent commitment and a couple of unofficial visitors, there is plenty to discuss around the Oregon football program. Some of the best questions regarding the most common subjects:

Julie C. (Chandler, Ariz.): With Dion Jordan going so high in the NFL draft (No. 3 to Miami Dolphins), do you feel like that might have some sort of effect on the Ducks' recruiting efforts in the Class of 2014? It seems like the publicity it provides could be the kind of thing that coaches can rely on as an additional recruiting pitch.

Dion Jordan
The fact that Dion Jordan went No. 3 in the NFL draft is a talking point, but not a major factor in recruiting.
DuckNation: That is a good question that deserves its own column, but the short answer is yes and no. As a program, you'll take any additional ammo to use in the cutthroat world of recruiting. Watching Jordan's rise from a high school wide receiver to the No. 3 pick as a defensive end is something that recruits notice. In the end, recruiting always comes down to a couple of things, and NFL draft results aren't one of them. It is an added bonus to have high draft picks, but most recruiting battles come down to the relationships developed between the staff, the players and the recruit himself.

In Jordan's case, it could provide the Ducks an advantage in their pursuit of the loaded class of recruits from Jordan's home state of Arizona. Being from Chandler yourself, you are probably aware of the talented group of recruits coming from the area. With players such as DE Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), OT Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), WR Dionte Sykes (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler) and WR Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe), the Ducks could make a big push for the talented group during the current evaluation period.

The Ducks have done a great job recruiting Arizona in recent years, so Jordan's status as a young player from the area who just struck it rich in the draft could prove beneficial. In general, the draft if a nice recruiting tool to use when plugging your program to recruits, but it is more of a talking point than decision-changing.

Michael W. (Hermosa Beach, Calif.): What is going on with the Ducks' recruiting effort at quarterback? It seems like they are way too slow on the draw when it comes to offering players at QB.

DN: The Ducks are taking their time because of the complexity of issues surrounding the two positions. That being said, they have their targets in mind and are working to evaluate more options.

At quarterback, it is clear that Clemson commit Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) is the top target, but with his strong commitment to Clemson, the Ducks have yet to offer the top quarterback in the Class of 2014. As long as Marcus Mariota remains in school, the Ducks have the most certainty they have had at the quarterback position in years. The issue is the uncertainty of need. Mariota did redshirt, so he will be eligible to leave school for the NFL following the 2013 season. Odds are that Mariota will stay for at least the next two seasons, but money talks and Mariota is on track to become a high draft pick.

With incoming freshman Damion Hobbs joining redshirt freshmen Jake Rodrigues and Jeff Lockie behind Mariota on the depth chart, the Ducks have minimal need for a quarterback in this year's class. Many programs prefer to take a quarterback in each recruiting class because of the importance of the position.

Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) is the perfect fit for the Ducks and his limited experience makes him the perfect solution for the Ducks' quarterback needs in this class. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Mahalak has never started a high school game, but that has little to do with his talent.

His situation is similar to Mariota's as he sat behind an elite quarterback and learned the position while working to develop his overall athleticism. Mahalak has all the tools that would give the Ducks a potential star they could afford to redshirt upon his arrival on campus. Mahalak loves everything about the Ducks and if they were to offer, his recruitment could be over before it ever really takes off.

Keep an eye on Mahalak as things move forward as several coaches are expected to visit him in the next 10 days or so. Along with Cal, Kansas, Miami and Nebraska, the Ducks are among the teams scheduled to visit Marin Catholic and things could get interesting pretty quickly.