Oregon Ducks: Joe Walker

During the next few weeks, we’re going to go through Oregon’s roster, position by position, examining what talent was lost to graduation or the NFL and what that leaves the Ducks with in 2014.

We’re into the defense now, moving through the front seven. Today, we examine the middle linebackers.

Who was lost after the 2013 season: No one

Lost production: None

Who returns in 2014: Redshirt junior Rodney Hardrick, junior Joe Walker, redshirt freshman Danny Mattingly, redshirt senior Isaac Ava

Statistics of returning players: 109 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 interception

Outlook: Very, very good. This spot is pretty similar to the weakside linebackers in that the starter is extremely experienced and the second stringer has enough experience that he gives fans the idea that he could be “the guy” when the starter leaves. In this case, Hardrick -- the sixth-leading tackler in 2013 -- is going to be just fine in the middle of the linebackers. In fact, there might not be a better inside combo than Hardrick and weakside linebacker Derrick Malone in the entire Pac-12.

Walker, meanwhile, accounted for 37 tackles last season, including three tackles for loss and two sacks. So, like weakside linebacker Rahim Cassell, it’s very possible we’ll be seeing a lot of Walker in the nonconference schedule as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Don Pellum gets his two-deep ready for the Pac-12 competition.

With Pellum coordinating the entire defense this season, it’ll be interesting to see what exactly he draws up for the group as a whole and how much the linebackers are involved in different blitz schemes and attacks. It might have naturally happened since the linebackers are the most experienced position on the defensive side of the ball for the Ducks, but the fact that their position group coach is now also directing the defense might make that even more possible.

Other spring position reviews:
With the 19 players signed last week, Oregon landed some players who might remind their fans of former Ducks.

Newcomers could see field early for Ducks 

February, 11, 2013
With every new recruiting class that a program signs come a couple of players who will make an immediate impact on their new team. The Oregon Ducks signed 19 players last week to add to an already loaded roster.

With a roster stacked with young talent, it will be tough for any of the newcomers to crack the two-deep next fall. There are two members from the Ducks' Class of 2013 who stand out as having a legitimate shot at seeing the field early.

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DuckNation signing day blog

February, 6, 2013
Signing day is finally upon us. Follow along here for the latest news as longtime commits become official with the flick of a pen. It is recruiting, though, so there may be a few surprises along the way, too. (All times ET)

3:25 p.m.: Four-star RB Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha), the No. 54 in ESPN 150, is the Ducks' highest-rated commit. He signed his letter of intent this morning and faxed his paperwork to the Oregon staff soon after. Tyner will be honored during a ceremony in the Aloha High School gym after school.

2:50 p.m.: Four-star ATH Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead), a former Notre Dame commit, flipped to Oregon in December and remained solid through signing day. Mattingly signed his letter of intent in a ceremony at his school this morning before sending his paperwork to the Oregon staff.

Mattingly spoke about his feelings after officially becoming an Oregon Duck.

"It's a relief to have to all over with, but it is also a huge honor. Signing a letter-of-intent to play college football really is a dream come true. Doing it at the University of Oregon makes it even better. I can't wait to get there, work hard and play in front of the best fans in the country."

2:40 p.m. -- Four-star DE Torrodney Prevot (Houston/Alief Taylor), No. 236 in ESPN 300, spurned USC, where he was committed for nearly seven months, and Texas A&M, where many thought he was headed. Prevot announced for the Ducks, signed his letter of intent and faxed it in to the Oregon staff. Prevot might have been pushed to the Ducks when the Ducks' bitter rivals to the north, the Washington Huskies, lost one of their top commits as DE Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) opted for Texas A&M.

1:00 p.m. -- Four-star ATH Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln), the nation's No. 49 ATH, and his twin brother, Tyree Robinson, signed letters of intent during a ceremony in the Lincoln High School gym before school and then faxed it on to the Oregon staff. Tyrell and Tyree will join another future Duck -- Darren Carrington Jr. -- at the San Diego Hall of Champions this evening to honor college-bound student-athletes from the San Diego area.

Tyrell, a Semper Fidelis All-American, shared his thoughts on the recruiting process and his future at Oregon.

"It feels great to finally make our decision. We talked with our family for about three days and every option we had was a good one," he said. My brother and I are going to take our talents to Eugene, Oregon. Quack Quack! Go Ducks!"

Tyree Robinson, No. 273 in the ESPN 300, spoke with DuckNation regarding his thoughts on the recruiting process and his future with the Ducks.

"Well I'm just glad this thing is over with," Tyree said. It was very tough for me and my family as we tried to make the right decision. I'm just happy that I can call myself a Duck for good and can't wait to get to Eugene and play for the national championship."

12:00 p.m. -- Three-star ATH Doug Brenner (Portland, Ore./Jesuit) -- No. 153 ATH -- The third of Oregon's in-state commits signed his letter-of-intent during a ceremony in the Jesuit High School gym and then faxed it in to the Oregon staff.

Brenner spoke about his feelings after officially becoming an Oregon Duck.

"I am so excited and grateful to be an Oregon Duck. It is such an honor to be a part of the Duck football program right now. I have been so lucky and blessed along the way. I have had tons of great mentors and role models that have helped to achieve this goal."

11:45 a.m.: Four-star OL Evan Voeller (West Linn, Ore./West Linn) -- No. 193 in ESPN 300, No. 9 OT -- The Under Armour All-American signed his letter of intent at a small ceremony at West Linn High School today.

11:32 a.m. -- Three-star RB Kani Benoit (Phoenix/Thunderbird) The Ducks' most recent commit signed his letter of intent in an after-school ceremony at Thunderbird High School.

Benoit shared his thoughts on what has turned into a dream come true scenario.

"It feels great to officially be an Oregon Duck. It is a great fit for me and the coaching staff is top notch. I can't wait to get up there and compete for championships."

11:15 a.m. -- Three-star OL Elijah George (Las Vegas/Arbor View): The No. 139 OT and the Ducks' fourth OL commit in the class -- signed his letter of intent this morning during a ceremony at Arbor View High School.

George spoke with DuckNation about the emotions that come with signing day.

"It has been a fun process. Well, it was at first but then it got kind of hectic," George said of the recruiting process. "I'd go through it all again if I got to sign with Oregon every time. I'm glad this part is over. Now I can focus on working hard, getting better and becoming the best student-athlete I can be. Go Ducks."

[+] EnlargeDevon Allen
Courtesy of Carissa AllenThe nation's No. 166 WR made it official with the Ducks today.
10:17 a.m. -- TE John Mundt (Modesto, Calif./Central Catholic): The No. 10 TE-Y and Mundt signed his letter of intent during a lunch hour ceremony at Central Catholic High School before faxing it on to the Oregon staff.

Mundt spoke about his feelings after officially becoming an Oregon Duck.

"It feels great to finally have made this decision official. Now I am just counting down the days until I can report in June."

9:20 a.m. -- WR Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep): The No. 166 WR and the Semper Fidelis All-American signed and submitted his letter of intent first thing this morning before faxing it off to the Oregon staff. Allen then went to a local hotel for an event honoring the local college-bound football players. Finally, Allen will head to Brophy Prep to be a part of a ceremony for all of Brophy's college-bound athletes.

Allen shared his feelings with DuckNation regarding signing day and what the future holds.

"Honestly, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm just ready to go to work and really looking forward to the next few years and I can't wait to help bring a national championship to Eugene."

8:47 a.m. -- ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker): The nation's No. 110 ATH, Williams signed his letter of intent during a ceremony at Tucker High School before faxing it on to the Oregon staff.

"It feels great to be an Oregon Duck,” Williams said. “I'm gaining a new family and a new home in Eugene. I'm really excited about my future at the University of Oregon. I'm just ready to get to work."

8:35 a.m. -- OL Jake Pisarcik (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) No. 51 OG -- Pisarcik, the Ducks third OL commit in the class signed his letter-of-intent during a ceremony in the before faxing it on to the Oregon staff.

"It feels good that it finally official. I couldn't wait for this day to come,” the three-star tackle said. “I am truly blessed to have such great family, friends, and coaches. This day is only the beginning of a long road ahead of me. It's an honor to be an Oregon Duck."

8:17 a.m. -- QB Damion Hobbs (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) -- No. 48 QB-PP -- The Ducks lone QB commit in the class signed and submitted his letter-of-intent to Oregon this morning. This is the fourth time in five years that the Ducks have signed a Texas high school product.

7:02 a.m. -- K Matt Wogan (Indian Trail, NC/Porter Ridge) -- No. 4 K -- The long-time Ducks' commit signed and faxed his letter-of-intent at 7 a.m. ET, instantly making him a favorite of an athletic department intern.
"Signing feels great but signing with the University of Oregon feels even better,” Wogan said. “I can't believe that this day has come. I am so fired up to get up there and work with those coaches and players to bring home a national championship trophy."
Devon AllenMiller Safrit/ESPN.comDoes securing a pledge from Devon Allen mean Oregon expects to lose Darren Carrington?
The last DuckNation recruiting mailbag before national signing day has received a record number of submissions. With so much action recently surrounding the Oregon football program, there are a lot of topics to cover.

Warren S. (Henderson, Nev.): With the Ducks landing Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep), do you think that has more to do with their feelings on what [Darren] Carrington (San Diego/Horizon) will do or how they feel about Allen?

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Thomas TynerCourtesy of Tiffany FiekenThomas Tyner is set to sign with Oregon despite late pushes from other schools.

Recruits, their families, coaches and football programs from around the country are holding their breath in hopes the right decision is made on national signing day. The truth is, no one knows what will happen between now and the time the pen hits the paper at high schools nationwide next Wednesday. What we do know is that both publicly and privately, the biggest decisions of recruits' lives are about to be made official.

For the Oregon Ducks, it appears as if their current commits are locked into the decisions they already have made. Now, the Ducks hope that their latest recruiting efforts provide a boost to an already strong class.

Here is where things stand for the Ducks and what their class might look like by the end of the day on Feb. 6.

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Signing day primer: Oregon 

January, 23, 2013
With national signing day exactly two weeks from today, DuckNation looks ahead to what Oregon has coming and who the Ducks still need and why.

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In case you just awoke from a long winter's nap, you might have heard that the Oregon Ducks had some big news this week. Chip Kelly pump-faked everyone and decided that the NFL was worth it. Ducks DL coach Jerry Azzinaro followed him out the door and joined him in Philly.

The DuckNation Mailbag has never been so packed, so let's see what you've got on your mind.

Bob C. (Bakersfield, Calif.): Now that Chip has taken his ego to Philadelphia, who will take over? Can the Ducks maintain their success on the field? What about recruiting?

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With just three weeks to go until recruits from the class of 2013 are able to sign, things are as fluid as they ever have been with signing day approaching. The Oregon Ducks to this point have a small recruiting class, but their commitments all claim to be firm.

A look at the current Oregon commits, with the odds of them signing with the Ducks on signing day:

RB Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) -- 95%: The No. 54 player in the ESPN 150 is the Ducks' longest-standing commit. He decommitted in November -- for less than 24 hours -- after he informed the Ducks' staff that he wanted to visit UCLA. The U.S. Army All-American has caused Ducks' fans to bite their nails in the past, but he recently affirmed his commitment.

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Oregon recruiting quick hitters 

January, 15, 2013
With the 2013 recruiting cycle winding down, new rumors are popping up regularly as recruits and programs shuffle their plans in order to explore all of their options before signing day. Here is the latest news surrounding Oregon's recruiting efforts as signing day fast approaches.

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Oregon recruiting: Quick hitters 

December, 24, 2012
Danny MattinglyTom Hauck/ESPNHSDanny Mattingly, who previously was committed to Notre Dame, pledged to Oregon last week.

After a long drought in which Oregon went almost the entire season without gaining any new commits, the Ducks have been busy doling out new offers, two of which resulted in immediate commitments.

Once junior-college LB Joe Walker (Los Angeles, Calif./Harbor College) took his official visit to Eugene, an offer was made and Walker jumped at the opportunity. Last week, the Ducks found the ultimate diamond in the rough when they offered -- and received an immediate commitment from -- OL Jake Pisarcik (Medford, N.J./Shawnee).

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Oregon Ducks' recruiting mailbag 

December, 14, 2012
With bowl preparation well underway and recruiting in full swing, there is a lot of information floating around regarding the Oregon Ducks' football program.

The Ducks lost their bid to regain a commitment from OL Alex Redmond (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos) when he committed to UCLA over the Ducks last week. The Ducks did gain their first commitment since late September when junior college LB Joe Walker (Wilmington, Calif./Harbor College) committed after receiving an offer on his official visit last weekend.

With the holidays approaching, the mail took a while to arrive but the DuckNation mailbag is filled to the brim with questions.

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A look at the latest news involving Oregon's recruiting as the Ducks try to set themselves up for a fast-and-furious finish on signing day:

The Ducks received commitments from athlete Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) and wide receiver Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) in late September. After gaining huge commitments from the twins, it took nearly three months for Oregon to gain another commitment. It might have been a while, but the commitment of junior college linebacker Joe Walker (Wilmington, Calif./Harbor College) was worth the wait.

Zach Cunningham
Greg Ostendorf/ESPN.comIn its search for another linebacker, Oregon is pursuing Alabama native Zach Cunningham.
Walker isn't a big name in recruiting circles, but there's a reason Texas A&M and others were in hot pursuit of the 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker. Walker plans to sign with Oregon in two weeks and enroll in January. As a full qualifier out of Palos Verdes (Calif.) High School, Walker will have four years to complete three years of eligibility, and he will provide depth at middle linebacker to offset the loss of senior Kiko Alonso.

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JC LB Joe Walker details Oregon pledge 

December, 11, 2012
When Oregon LB coach Don Pellum visited junior college LB Joe Walker (Wilmington, Calif./Harbor College) last week, it was quickly evident that the official visit they scheduled would lead to a scholarship offer. When the 6-foot-3, 230-pound LB showed up in Eugene this past weekend, he was blown away by what he saw.

"The facilities were great and the campus was amazing" Walker said. "Everything about the town and the school was great."

Walker had previously visited Texas A&M, Syracuse and Duke, but Oregon was on a whole different level for Walker. After seeing what Eugene and the Ducks had to offer, an offer was all that stood in the way of Walker making the call to end his recruitment.

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Juco LB Walker commits to Oregon 

December, 9, 2012
Oregon DucksJames Snook/US PresswireChip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks received a commit from juco linebacker Joe Walker on Sunday, giving the Ducks 11 commits in the Class of 2013.
The Oregon Ducks landed their first commit since September when junior college LB Joe Walker (Wilmington, Calif./Harbor College) received an offer on his official visit to Eugene. It didn't take long for him to jump at the opportunity, as he committed before leaving campus.

"Yes. I committed to Oregon," Walker said via text message. "It feels great."

Walker had previously visited Texas A&M and Duke, with Syracuse also making a big push for the 6-foot-3, 230-pound LB. Walker was a full-qualifier out of high school at Palos Verdes (Calif.) High School, but spent this past season at Harbor College, located just outside of Los Angeles. Walker plans to sign with the Ducks during the juco signing period and will join the program for winter workouts after enrolling in early January.

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Programs Most Desperate for a Quarterback
National recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to discuss which college teams most need a quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class.