Oregon Ducks: Tony Brown

Top position classes: DB 

February, 18, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)

The top class of defensive backs goes to Alabama, by a landslide. While the Crimson Tide have provided many recruiting firsts in recent years under coach Nick Saban, the 2014 class is the first to have two five-star cornerbacks in the same cycle in the years ESPN has been assigning star rankings. No. 8 overall Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and No. 15 Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) have the size and speed that Saban and his staff made a must in 2014. Add in No. 3 safety and No. 27 overall Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) and Alabama signed three of the very best at defensive back. Factor in that No. 7 athlete Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera) seems destined to begin his career at safety and the Crimson Tide dominate in the secondary despite having missed out on coveted safety target C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian).

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best defensive back class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.


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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- One thing is for sure for all the 2014 Under Armour All-Americans: This isn’t high school anymore. Day 1 is about gauging the competition. Some guys dive right in and some test the waters with their big toe, but by the end of the first day of practice, all those in attendance have a pretty good idea of where they stand and what they need to do to compete and get better.

Given that it is Day 1, the playbook is introduced (Team Nitro is going no huddle with wrist bands and limited plays), and there can be sloppy moments of indecision and uncertainty. With each rep, most, if not all, prospects began to get a better feel for what is expected. Most importantly, the center-quarterback exchanges were very good for the most part, which is generally the biggest worry. Upon completion of the first practice, here are some observations and things to look for over the week:

Top Performers


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

December, 2, 2013
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Rivalry weekend brought plenty of excitement to the Pac-12, but it didn’t produce much recruiting activity aside from a few official visits. There were plenty of interested eyes across the West region, though, as UCLA knocked off USC for the second consecutive season, Arizona State reclaimed the Territorial Cup, and Oregon and Washington held off their in-state rivals.


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ESPN 300: July 30 update

July, 30, 2013
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Tom Luginbill breaks down the significant movers in the ESPN 300 rankings, including a new player in the top three, players who made massive jumps further down in the rankings and new positional No. 1s at wide receiver and outside linebacker.
Give Arrion Springs some credit: At least he’s been honest throughout.

The ESPN 300 defensive back’s decision Tuesday night wasn’t a surprise if you’ve been following this recruitment. The San Antonio Roosevelt standout, ranked No. 6 among prospects in the state of Texas, went with the green and yellow Ducks hat and committed to Oregon.

He'd been calling Oregon his top school for months. The Ducks had been a heavy favorite since Springs visited the school in June, and he'd never hid that. Even before the Ducks officially had offered a scholarship, they'd been atop his list.

His announcement at The Opening came after several days of intense deliberation. Make no mistake, Texas made this a tough call by hosting him and his mother on an impressive unofficial visit on Friday.


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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.

Springs a surprise part of top DB class 

April, 24, 2013
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SAN ANTONIO -- You knew about Tony Brown, Jamal Adams and Ed Paris. Those three have been talked up, written about and recruited for more than a year.

But admit it: You know decidedly less about Arrion Springs, the San Antonio Roosevelt corner who’s suddenly one of the state’s hottest recruits.


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Oregon has made its mark with speed and finding under-the-radar recruits and turning them into stars on the college level. Nowhere have they been better at doing so than at defensive back. Ducks defensive backs coach John Neal is a master of finding players with the right attitude and work ethic to fit his style of play.

Over the weekend at the Dallas Nike events, a couple of prospects that have Oregon on their mind emerged as possible targets for the Ducks to pursue. Both players come from talent-laden programs and should see their stock soar after impressive weekends.


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videoAs recently as five years ago, anyone heading to Dallas to dig up news regarding the Oregon Ducks would have been considered a fool. But after four consecutive BCS appearances and more recruits considering Oregon, the Metroplex has become a prime destination for someone looking to gather information on some of the Ducks' top recruiting targets.

Several were at the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp over the weekend:

Arrion Springs
Sam Khan Jr./ESPNArrion Springs is being recruited as a cornerback or safety.
DB Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt): Springs joined Adams, Brown and Edward Paris Jr. (Arlington, Texas/Timberview) to form one of the top defensive back groups we have seen at an NFTC in recent years. The physical speedster could play either corner or safety at the next level and he showed why several elite programs are recruiting him at both positions. Springs said the Ducks will be down to see him next month and he looks forward to the opportunity to get to know Oregon's staff better over time. He is really hoping for an Oregon offer and said that if the Ducks -- along with Miami -- don't offer soon, he will likely move forward focused on the regional schools, with the Texas Longhorns being the clear leader.


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Every recruiting cycle there are dozens of names tossed around as recruits who could potentially wind up as Oregon Ducks. While the Ducks have become a high-profile program with a national brand, there are some targets who should still be looked as extreme long shots to wind up in Eugene.

As recruits look to find the right fit, racking up as many offers as possible is the goal for many. An offer from a high-profile school such as Oregon can have a recruit taking to social media and showing excitement for all to see. In this day and age, all it takes is the simple misinterpretation of an online post for a full-scale rumor to gain traction.

Over the years, Oregon -- which has become an elite destination for official visits -- has been rumored to be in the mix for some of the nation's top recruits. Some have visited and even publicly named Oregon as one of their favorites afterward.

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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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Watch List recruits high on the Ducks 

September, 27, 2012
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It has become customary for the Oregon Ducks to take their time in evaluating junior prospects, and it is much of the same with the class of 2014.
[+] EnlargeTony Brown
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comWhile Oregon hasn't offered any 2014 players yet, Watch List member Tony Brown has interest in the Ducks.

Another yearly occurrence is that a number of elite prospects from around the country that have their eyes on the Ducks early on. In typical Oregon fashion, the Ducks have yet to extend any offers for the class of 2014.

While they have no commits, the Ducks are listed among the early favorites for a large number of players in the 2014 ESPN Watch List.

In each of the last two recruiting cycles, the Ducks had an early commitment from one of the top in-state recruits. 2013 running back Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) has been committed to the Ducks for almost a year.

There is no Thomas Tyner in the class of 2014. There is also no Colt Lyerla. In fact, there are no Oregon high school prospects on the 2014 ESPN Watch List.

There might not be any elite talent from the state next year but the Ducks have made it very clear that they can compete for elite talent from all over the country.

ESPN Watch List members Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Malik McDowell (Detroit, Mich./Loyola) Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, GA/Liberty County), Jordan Hoiem (Wailuku, HI/Baldwin), Dionte Sykes (Chandler, AZ/Chandler) and Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) are just some of the big names outside of California, the Ducks' most fertile recruiting territory -- that have expressed interest in the Ducks early on in the process.

There are 22 players on the Watch List from the state of California, including a large group of prospects who will likely earn an offer from the Ducks down the line.


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Malik McDowellTom Hauck/ESPNHSDetroit defensive end Malik McDowell is one of the top 2014 defensive players on Oregon's recruiting radar right now.
As teams around the country prepare for the 2012 season, much of the focus is on position battles and learning new schemes.

Recruiting is also on the minds of college coaches everywhere as they try and put together their 2013 recruiting classes.

Class of 2014 prospects will begin to become household names as they kick off their junior seasons.

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