Oregon Ducks: Naijiel Hale

Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

December, 18, 2013
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There's a new No. 1 team in the Pac-12, according to the updated team rankings released on Wednesday.

Arizona State made the biggest jump of any team in the rankings, leaping from No. 22 to No. 17 overall, and in the process, bypassing Arizona, which moved from No. 18 to No. 19.

Six Pac-12 teams are now in the rankings, with the addition of USC at No. 39. Stanford fell back one spot to No. 26, due to Penn State's rise, while Oregon remains at No. 29, and UCLA rounds out the rankings at No. 40.

Trending up: Red and gold in the Pac-12 South.

Sure, it's not really red for either program, but whether it's the maroon of Arizona State or the cardinal of USC, those two programs shined on the recruiting trail this past week. Few teams anywhere are as hot as Arizona State, which added six commitments --including two four-stars -- in past week. The haul featured three defensive linemen, two running backs and an offensive tackle. But if any Pac-12 program can challenge the Sun Devils over that same period, it's USC, which added three four-star commitments and a three-star cornerback since last Wednesday. The Trojans are the newest Pac-12 program to appear in the updated class rankings, as USC checks in at No. 39.

Even though those two programs have been hot over the past week, it seems slightly unfair to leave this category without mentioning the fact that a case could be made for virtually every Pac-12 program. Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Washington State all received verbal commitments from important recruits over the past week, in what was an incredibly successful seven days for Pac-12 coaches on the recruiting trail and hosting official visitors.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

December, 9, 2013
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The Pac-12 conference has seen a flurry of action recently, with coaching news and rumors keeping recruits on their toes. Following a week where Steve Sarkisian took over at USC and Chris Petersen moved from Boise State to Washington, this past weekend was tame by comparison. But UCLA made some significant noise with a big commitment, while Oregon extended two intriguing offers. CIF championship games provided backdrops for huge performances from Pac-12 recruits, while the conference title tilt was only the appetizer in the battle between Arizona State and Stanford.


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Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 10 

October, 10, 2013
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A Pacific Northwest showdown, big home games for Washington State, Utah and UCLA, and an important commitment for USC round out the top Pac-12 recruiting storylines this week.


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Pac-12 2014 recruiting scenarios 

October, 8, 2013
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This week's list offers a look through the Pac-12 at the potential best-case and worst-case scenarios that the 2014 recruiting cycle could bring for various programs. While a few of the best-case scenarios might be close to within reach for some programs, many of the worst-case scenarios would take a special brand of bad luck.

Arizona
Best-case scenario: Arizona doesn't hold onto all of its 24 verbal commits, but keeps all of its priority recruits in the fold. In exchange for some of the decommitments, the Wildcats are rewarded with a big splash from either ESPN 300 prospect John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) or Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure). A strong finish to the season also helps Arizona clean up in its home state, landing commitments from offensive linemen Natrell Curtis (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe), Andrew Mike (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino), Layth Friekh (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) and junior college defensive lineman Claudeson Pelon (Mesa, Ariz./Mesa College).

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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

October, 2, 2013
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There was no movement again from Pac-12 programs in the updated team recruiting rankings, as Arizona held firm with the top spot in the conference and the No. 23 class in the country. Stanford checks in right behind the Wildcats, at No. 24 overall, while Arizona State checks in at No. 35.

Trending up: Oregon

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

August, 26, 2013
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The Pac-12 added two commitments on Friday, then another over the weekend. But it was on the field where one future conference star showed why he is the top player in his state and considered one of the premier athletes in the country.

Pac-12 Conference

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The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.
The Trinity League has been home to some of the California's top teams of the past several decades. Santa Ana Mater Dei, Anaheim Servite, Rancho Santa Margarita Santa Margarita and Orange Lutheran have all taken their turns as state and regional powers, but in just three years at the helm of his alma mater, head coach Jason Negro has Bellflower St. John Bosco in the national spotlight.

After building up the program in 2010 and 2011, defeating Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran in 2011, St. John Bosco rolled through the Trinity League's fearsome foursome in 2012, with no win coming by fewer than 12 points. In 2013, the Braves are expected to compete for a state championship.


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Oregon coaches hit the road 

May, 2, 2013
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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.


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The Oregon Ducks are preparing for the start of spring ball, but that hasn't stopped them from keeping tabs on some of their prime targets in the Class of 2014.

An in-state target has been picking up steam on the recruiting trail and could receive more interest from the Ducks in the near future. A couple of 2015 targets have the Ducks near the top of their list, and one of them plans to visit Eugene this summer for the Oregon Football Camp.

With one 2014 commitment so far, the Ducks are scouring the country looking for new talent to emerge. At the end of spring ball, expect the Ducks to issue a large number of offers to prospects on the West Coast.

Here are a couple of quick-hit updates:


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Oregon recruiting: Quick hitters 

March, 13, 2013
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Racean ThomasGreg Ostendorf/ESPN.comOregon recently offered standout 2014 RB Racean Thomas.

After issuing a few offers to prospects closer to home last week, the Oregon Ducks have made a push for some of the top recruits in the South. The Ducks are also hard at work in their pursuit of some of the best recruits in the West. It has already paid off in a big way as the Ducks went way out west and got on the recruiting board with their first 2014 commitment on Tuesday.


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So Cal DB gets Opening invite 

March, 11, 2013
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LOS ANGELES -- Receivers hardly found any open space against Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) on Sunday at the Nike Football Training Camp, so it was only fitting that a strong showing earned the fast-rising cornerback an invite to The Opening this summer.

Hale has scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, California, Nebraska and Washington State, but that list figures to grow in the upcoming evaluation period.

“I was shocked when I got the invite,” Hale said. “I thought there were a couple of defensive backs that also stood out. I went out there without too much pressure and I performed well.”

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Oregon targets shine at NFTC 

March, 11, 2013
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Dionte SykesTom Hauck for ESPN.comESPN Watch List WR Dionte Sykes impressed at the most recent NFTC.

The first Nike Football Training Camp of the year took place this past weekend and some of the top players from the region were on hand. There were a number of Oregon targets in attendance and plenty of players list Oregon among their top group of schools.


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Adoree' JacksonCal Sport Media via AP ImagesOregon has some work to do to land two-way star Adoree' Jackson.

With one of the best cornerback tandems in school history on the current roster, the Oregon Ducks are sitting pretty at one of the most important positions on the field. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell are both eligible to leave for the NFL after the 2013 season.

Both of them -- especially Ekpre-Olomu -- are rated highly as draft prospects at the position. Whether or not one or both of them opt to leave for the next level, the Ducks have a tough task ahead when looking to find their future replacements.

Here are some of the names worth keeping an eye on early in the recruiting cycle.


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With spring football just a month away, the Oregon Ducks and their fans are champing at the bit to see some live action on the football field. Things are also heating up on the recruiting trail as things are beginning to ramp up with the camp and combine circuit well under way for the Class of 2014.

Here are some of the top submissions for this week's mail bag.

Kevin O. (Seattle, Wash.): Does Oregon have a shot at any of the kids from St. John Bosco in 2014? Bryce Treggs (Cal) never really looked at Oregon. Nico Falah (USC) gave us a look but we were a distant third behind USC and UW. Do Dorton, Mama, Hale or any of their other guys take a serious look at Oregon?


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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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Friday, 12/26
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Thursday, 1/1
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