Oregon Ducks: Scott Quessenberry

Pac-12 recruiting notebook

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
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SAN DIEGO -- The twins Robinson -- Tyree and Tyrell -- and Darren Carrington all went window shopping. But in the end, they trusted their guts and suppressed the knee-jerk, caveat emptor reaction when Chip Kelly left the Oregon Ducks for the NFL.

At a national signing day event at the San Diego Hall of Champions, the trio from San Diego all put ink to their verbal commitments and signed to play with the Ducks, ending weeks of speculation that they would be 11th-hour flips and spurn the Ducks and new head coach Mark Helfrich.

"At first it was about exploring options," said Tyrell Robinson, who attends Lincoln High in San Diego with his brother. "We made a commitment to Chip Kelly. When he left, we felt disappointed because who doesn't want to play for a man like that? Me and my brother took our trips to UW and SC, we turned down Ohio State. We were very close to switching schools. We liked UW a lot on our last visit. But at the end of the day we felt Oregon was still the best choice for us."

"Us" being the operative word. Because the Robinsons were going to be a package deal no matter what.

"That was really important to us," Tyrell said. "We were going to go to the same place so it was a matter of finding the spot that was best for us. We really had to think about it. We wanted to see what else was out there after Chip left. That was our chance to get out there and see what else was available.

"But Coach Helfrich told us we were going to be a big factor in this recruiting class and he felt we could come in right away and make an impact."

Carrington, a wide receiver from Horizon High School, said he liked the elevation of Scott Frost from receivers coach to offensive coordinator.

"I was definitely considering somewhere else," he said. "They talked about throwing the ball more and I think in the end, this was the best fit for me."

Carrington's father, Darren Carrington Sr., was the main speaker at the event that included hundreds of San Diego athletes in various sports. The former NFL safety said he was there to counsel his son, but ultimately let him make his own decision.

"I was there to give him information, but you're raising a man so you have to teach him to make up his own mind," Carrington Sr. said. "Chip was checking things out so we thought it was only fair that we check things out. We took a couple of trips and ultimately this is what he thought was best for him."

MORA THE CLOSER

Center Scott Quessenberry (Carlsbad, La Costa Canyon High), the No. 3-rated center nationally and an ESPN 300 player, said head coach Jim Mora was "very convincing" when he met with him. One of the early knocks on Mora, of course, was that he lacked college experience and might struggle in recruiting. But his first two recruiting classes say otherwise.

"I hope he's proved a lot of people wrong," Quessenberry said. "We've got a heck of a class. He's changed people's minds about recruiting and UCLA football. We're hungry. We're coming and we're going to win a lot of games."

Quessenberry said he prefers the center position, but feels he's versatile enough to play anywhere on the line.

"Anywhere they need me, I'm ready," he said.

CHANGE OF HEART

Cornerback Derek Babiash (Poway, Poway High) said he's at peace with his decision to sign with Arizona after initially giving a commitment to Washington. The 6-foot, 165-pound cornerback who ranks 38th nationally at the position, said he got caught up in all of the excitement of being recruited when he made his initial commitment.

"When I made my first commitment, I went on a spring game visit and I think it was rushed and spur of the moment," Babiash said. "I just got really excited. I went home and thought on it and decided it wasn't going to be the right place for me.

"I think I'll have the opportunity to step in right away and if I work hard I can be one of the five DBs in that (3-3-5 defensive) set."

USED TO WINNING

New Colorado running back Michael Adkins (La Mesa, Helix High) comes from one of the strongest high school football programs in San Diego. He's aware of the difficulties facing Colorado and he's looking forward to attacking it head on.

"I'm from Helix and we have a winning tradition," Adkins said. "I hate losing. I'm looking forward to getting there and helping change some things. The team is young so hopefully we can come in and start making a difference in the Pac-12."

Asked about new coach Mike MacIntyre, Adkins said he loved the enthusiasm.

"He's a fiery guy," Adkins said. "He knows his stuff. And I loved the whole staff. They really felt like a family."
Cal commit Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial) has become one of the top offensive line targets for a number of schools across the country. The four-star prospect recently returned home from the Under Armour All-America Game in Florida -- the first leg of an action-packed January -- and is focused on evaluating his options with less than a month to go until national signing day.

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January, 3, 2013
1/03/13
2:35
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Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster
When offensive lineman Sean Harlow (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) made the call to commit to Oregon rival Washington, it took yet another prospect off the board for the Ducks staff.

With Harlow's commitment to the Huskies, it leaves just a few remaining offensive linemen out there that have Oregon offers. There remains a possibility that prospects will emerge this fall, but for now it is a limited group for the Ducks to pursue.

The Ducks had been in pursuit of Harlow but now another Orange County prospect is likely to see the heat turned up from the Oregon staff.

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After a strong performance at The Opening, center Scott Quessenberry (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) received another honor to add to his resume, as he earned an invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game. The country's No. 2 center knew he was on the short list of players being scouted for the event and a strong showing at The Opening meant he had a good shot at receiving an invitation.

"It's unbelievable," Quessenberry said of accepting a spot in the all-star game. "There are all-star games in your area, but to play in a national game against top players, it's going to be great -- especially the Under Armour game. It's incredible."

The 6-foot-4, 269-pound lineman said he'll show up ready to play, but is looking forward to taking in everything the experience will offer.

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Coming off arguably the best back-to-back recruiting classes in program history, the Oregon Ducks are at it again. With a growing reputation as a recruiting heavyweight, Oregon has become more selective and patient with its scholarship offers.

Compared to other schools, the Ducks got off to a slow start in the 2013 recruiting cycle. The Ducks did manage to earn early commitments from the top two in-state players in offensive lineman Evan Voeller (West Linn, Ore./West Linn) and running back Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha).

In the span of eight days, the Ducks' recruiting class went from three to seven after hosting their camp last week. Athlete Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon), kicker/punter Matt Wogan (Indian Trail, N.C./Porter Ridge), receiver Darren Carrington (San Diego, Calif./Horizon Christian) and tight end John Mundt (Modesto, Calif./Central Catholic) all committed in recent days, following running back Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto), who committed in late April.

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As recruiting has continued to speed up, ESPN 300 member Scott Quessenberry (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) has decided to slow things down. The No. 2 ranked center in the country and No. 183 overall player in the ESPN 300 had narrowed his list to four schools after visiting Nebraska and Wisconsin in April.

UCLA, San Diego State, Wisconsin and Nebraska looked as if they would be the finalists, but that was before schools such as Oregon, Cal, Arkansas and Washington offered scholarships to the four-star lineman.

"I thought I was ready to narrow it down to those four schools, but I started getting a lot more attention from other big programs. When schools like Oregon and Arkansas offer, you have to pay attention," Quessenberry said.

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