Thursday, March 6, 2014
Top Oregon recruiting classes: No. 2
By Chantel Jennings
The Ducks have closed the book on their 2014 recruiting class and are well on their way on the recruiting trail for the Class of 2015. The 2014 class finished as the No. 27 class in the country, marking the fifth consecutive year Oregon has inked a top-30 class.
Obviously, rankings aren’t everything and each class and individual brings something different to the Ducks. So as we continue to prepare for Oregon’s spring season, we’re going to take a walk down memory lane and count down the top five Oregon recruiting classes.
29 signees | ESPN 150 signees: 1
Not ranked: 12 | 60-69 ESPN grading: 2 | 70-79 ESPN grading: 15
Top signee: No. 13 DE Kenny Rowe
Oregon’s 2007 class was ranked No. 23 in the country. By the class' senior season in college, however, the 2007 class had created one of the most successful classes in program history. These players had progressed far enough to find themselves in a national title game -- the first in Ducks history.
This group took the first step toward establishing Oregon in the national spotlight on a consistent basis. In its first two years it made appearances in the Sun Bowl and Holiday Bowl, and in its last two seasons it took the jump to the BCS-bowl level with appearances in the Rose Bowl and title game. Though the Ducks suffered close losses in both of those BCS games, they cemented their standing in the spotlight, and Oregon hasn’t left since.
Ten of the 29 signees were starters in the 2011 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game and all 10 made significant contributions to the Ducks program. Though it was junior Darron Thomas who started for the Ducks in the title game, it was a senior-laden receivers group to whom he was throwing.
Drew Davis, Jeff Maehl and David Paulsen -- all a part of the 2007 class -- accounted for 18 of the 28 catches (64 percent) and 241 of the 374 receiving yards (64 percent) in that title game. Both starting tackles were also a part of that 2007 class, left tackle Darrion Weems and right tackle Mark Asper. (Outside of the title game starters this class also received a letter of intent from offensive lineman Carson York, who started 10 games at guard during the 2010 season).
Defensively, five members of the 2007 class started against Auburn in the title game -- defensive end Terrell Turner, defensive end Kenny Rowe, middle linebacker Casey Matthews, rover Edward Pleasant and cornerback Talmadge Jackson. Those five accounted for 25 of the team’s 73 tackles against Auburn (34 percent), 4.5 of the 6 tackles for a loss (75 percent), both forced fumbles, 1 of the 2 sacks and 1 of the 3 pass break ups.
Paving the way to get into the upper echelon of college football is a tough task. The 2007 class did that for the Ducks. However, staying at the top is harder to do than just getting there, which is why this class is second to just one other in Ducks history.