Thursday, May 2, 2013
Oregon coaches hit the road
By Brandon P. Oliver
With the first spring practice under new head coach Mark Helfrich over, the Oregon coaching staff is on the road to identify and evaluate potential recruits, and there a lot of targets in the west who have yet to receive an Oregon offer. The spring evaluation period could result in a number of new offers being extended to a handful of top recruits, and the coaches also will be looking to uncover new targets and work to build relationships with players who could earn offers in the fall.
One of those with the potential to earn an offer received a visit from Ducks' defensive backs coach John Neal Wednesday.
CB Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial) has emerged as a hot commodity this spring, picking up his first offer March 11 and adding three more since. He could become a prime target for the Ducks as the process rolls along.
Thursday, coach Neal will remain in the area and stop by Bellflower St. John Bosco, one of Southern California's top programs. CB Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has been on the verge of an offer for couple of months and could earn one if coach Neal likes what he sees. Braves' DE Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has seen an increased interest from Oregon in recent weeks and also will have shot at improving his chances at earning an offer.
ATH Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is the only player from the Braves' loaded roster to currently hold an Oregon offer. The Arizona State commit will visit Oregon in June and will have a chance to meet with coach Neal. The Ducks like Wadood on both sides of the ball, but offense appears to be the Ducks' focus when it comes to the 5-foot-10, 170-pound athlete.
Another Bosco star being evaluated is OL Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), a massive lineman who has great feet and quickness for someone his size. He holds offers from the likes of Alabama and USC but still not Oregon. Both player and team prefer different offensive schemes, so it might not be a good fit. Having a chance to see him in person will allow Neal and Oregon to get a better feel for where things stand with the 6-foot-4, 352-pound junior.
After visiting and offering QB Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) on Tuesday, offensive coordinator Scott Frost is expected to fly to Georgia to make one last run at Clemson QB commit Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville). The odds Watson backs out of his commitment are slim, and the odds of doing so to flip to Oregon are even slimmer. Regardless, the No. 13 player in the ESPN 150 is worth the effort, as the Ducks potentially could add a second quarterback later on in this class.
Oregon running backs' coach Gary Campbell was in the Bay Area to see RB Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom). Oregon is one of the few schools of note that has yet to offer the No. 135 player in the ESPN 150. Mixon would like to have Alabama, LSU and Oregon offers before moving ahead with his recruitment. For now, the Ducks are awaiting the results of Mixon's SAT, which should come shortly. Once the Ducks have a verified copy of the results, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound back finally could land the elusive offer.