Oregon Ducks: Juwaan Williams

With the loss of Taylor Hart, Wake Keliikipi and Ricky Heimuli after the 2013 season, reloading the defensive line is one of the Ducks' primary objectives in the next 10 months. The Ducks landed a standout group of defensive linemen in the Class of 2012 and all of them should be heavily involved in 2013. With three or four spots in the 2014 recruiting class likely to be filled by defensive line prospects, the Ducks are eyeing a large group of targets.

Here are a few names to keep an eye on throughout the 2014 recruiting cycle:

DE Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C ./Page): The 6-foot-7, 215-pound ESPN Watch List member has high interest in the Ducks and fits the profile of what Oregon has looked for in defensive lineman in the past few years. Of course, Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro are gone, but Featherstone maintains the athleticism and range that would make him an ideal fit for the Ducks' drop-end position. Featherstone hopes to get a visit from the Oregon staff during the spring evaluation period. An impressive spring could lead to Featherstone receiving an offer from one of his favorite programs. Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Tennessee have all offered and are the main programs in pursuit.

Recruiting battles loom for Helfrich, Ducks 

January, 31, 2013
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Mark Helfrich is off to a solid start in his first two weeks as head coach of the Oregon Ducks. Helfrich was able to retain the majority of his staff and to date has been able to gain three new commitments from 2013 recruits.

Under Helfrich, Oregon has added WR Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep), OL Elijah George (Las Vegas/Arbor View), ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and QB Damion Hobbs (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill), who flipped from Utah State to Oregon on Wednesday.

The Ducks are likely to take up to five more commits, depending on the decisions of ATH Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto), Darren Carrington (San Diego/Horizon), WR Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) and his twin brother, ATH Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln).

There has been a lot of action over the past few days. New offers have been issued and last minute in-home visits are taking place daily.


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After visiting Oregon in early October, three-star ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) took visits to Florida State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. He also heard from a number of SEC programs and other Southern powers, including Clemson and South Carolina.


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Ga. ATH Juwaan Williams makes call 

January, 28, 2013
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After weighing offers from Oregon, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Notre Dame and others, Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) made his decision during a live television broadcast Monday night.


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With Scott Frost being promoted to offensive coordinator and Matt Lubick being hired as the new wide receivers' coach, there has been plenty of news surrounding Oregon's WR recruiting lately.

Long-time Ducks WR commit Darren Carrington (San Diego/Horizon) is taking official visits elsewhere as he tries to decide on his future, the Ducks didn't waste any time in snatching up one of the top WR recruits in the West. After finally receiving a football scholarship offer from the Ducks, Semper Fidelis All-American WR Devon Allen (Phoenix/Brophy Prep) committed to the Ducks. Allen had offers from Florida State, Stanford, Texas, UCLA and many more due to his status as an elite hurdler along with his football talent. Similar to how Florida State handled Allen's recruitment, Allen was initially only given a track and field scholarship offer from Oregon. With Carrington looking around, new Ducks coach Mark Helfrich offered Allen a football scholarship to Oregon. Despite the delay, Allen pulled the trigger on Friday.

Devon Allen
Courtesy Louis AllenDevon Allen gives Oregon a potential home-run hitter at wide receiver.
Allen's commitment was the first under Helfrich and gives the Ducks two commits at wide receiver. If Carrington decides to stick with his commitment, the Ducks will be thrilled to have the two on board as future weapons. The Ducks have a couple of commits in the class that could make the switch to WR if need be. Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) is slotted to play defensive back in Eugene, but like his twin brother Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) and ATH Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon), the No. 273 player in the ESPN 300 can move to offense if the depth chart necessitates the move.

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When rumors started flying about Mike Bellotti's impending departure, inside the Oregon program everything remained calm. Once Chip Kelly took over and had the immediate success that had other elite programs and NFL franchises sniffing around, the program braced for another change.

But once again, things remained calm on the inside while everything on the outside seemed to spiral out of control. Just like they did in 2009, the Ducks acted quickly and promoted from within to keep everything in place. Today the school announced that former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich would become the Ducks' new coach.

And recruiting was one of the reasons.


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Three of the fastest rising programs in the country are in the midst of a battle for one of the most dynamic players in the state of Georgia.

All three of the finalists for ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) have managed to keep their head coaches despite having to hold their breath while they were courted by other programs and the NFL.


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Oregon recruiting mailbag: Jan. 11 

January, 11, 2013
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Eddie VanderdoesDamon Sayles/ESPN.comOregon was the early favorite for standout Eddie Vanderdoes.

With the decision by head coach Chip Kelly to return to Eugene after nearly leaving for the NFL for the second year in a row, the Ducks are settling in for the stretch run of the 2013 recruiting cycle.

The return of Kelly, a win in the Fiesta Bowl and a No. 2 ranking in the final BCS poll give the Ducks plenty of momentum as they look to close their recruiting class with a bang for the third year in a row.

Here are some of the best questions submitted to the DuckNation mailbag in the past week.


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The Oregon Ducks have heard their name called a number of times in recent years during all-star game declarations. With five of the Ducks' top targets announcing last week, Oregon coaches and fans were hoping for some good news. Unfortunately for the Ducks -- who won the Fiesta Bowl a day before the Under Armour All-American Game and the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl were played -- a second straight BCS win wasn't enough to convince any of the five recruits to announce in their favor.

So where exactly do the Oregon Ducks go from here?

Despite missing on some of their top targets, the Ducks are holding steady at No. 22 in the ESPN.com Class Rankings with 13 commits. If they want to stay in the rankings, they will need to add a few more recruits before signing day.

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Oregon recruiting: Wide receivers 

December, 13, 2012
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With one current commit locked in at the wide receiver position and two athletes that could potentially wind up on the offensive side of the ball, the Oregon Ducks are still in search of another pass catcher in the Class of 2013.

Leon McQuay
Jeff Peoples/IntersportGetting a commitment from ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III would give the Ducks roster versatility.
Depending on who they are able to land between now and signing day could play a big role in where some recruits wind up for the Ducks. If the Ducks are able to land S Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), it could result in the Ducks moving either Tyree Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) or Chris Seisay (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon) to wide receiver instead of defensive back, where they are currently projected to play.

Who will play at WR

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Oregon recruiting mailbag: Dec. 7 

December, 7, 2012
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Gareon ConleyBrad Bournival/ESPN.comThe decision to stop recruiting Gareon Conley could be one Oregon regrets.


There has been a high volume of activity surrounding the Ducks' recruiting efforts in the past week. Some good, some bad and some, just plain weird. The Ducks dropped two of their top targets, added three new offers and reached out to USC CB commit Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) once again.

You asked. We'll answer. It's time once again for the Oregon Ducks recruiting mailbag.

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Since Chip Kelly arrived in Eugene, Oregon's recruiting philosophy has been an impossible riddle to solve. From ignoring elite West Coast prospects that desired attention from the Ducks to offering elite players from the other side of the country -- after long commitments to power programs closer to home -- it hasn't always made sense to recruiting followers.

Gareon Conley
Courtesy Conley FamilyDropping ESPN 150 CB Gareon Conley from consideration after he decommitted from Michigan was a decision that confused Oregon fans.
What has made sense is the way they have pieced together recruiting classes that are consistently producing at an elite level on the field. With just 10 commitments and only two months until national signing day, questions abound as to why the Ducks -- with four straight BCS appearances -- seem stagnant in recruiting its 2013 class. After the past week's events, it is likely that many new questions will arise.

Last week the Ducks told long-time Michigan commit, CB Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) -- No. 62 in the ESPN 150 -- that they would not be offering him despite his public acknowledgment that he would likely jump all over an Oregon offer. The Ducks were waiting on him to decommit from Michigan before tripping him in for an official visit. He finally decommitted last week, only to have the Ducks tell him they would not be offering him a scholarship.

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With official visits to two of this year's BCS bowl participants -- and an unofficial visit to a third -- in the rear view mirror, one of the biggest sleepers in the South is moving forward with his eyes on four programs.

[+] EnlargeJuwaan Williams
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comTucker, Ga., athlete Juwaan Williams is down to Oregon, Florida State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.
ATH Juwaan Williams (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) saw his senior season come to an end on Friday night after a 23-20 loss to (Warner Robins, Ga./Northside). His three TD runs, including the go-ahead score with less than two minutes to go, weren't enough as Tucker gave up 20 fourth-quarter points to unbeaten Northside. With his football season behind him and his basketball season starting on Wednesday, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Williams is going to take his time evaluating his final four schools of Florida State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Vanderbilt.

"Now that football is done, I just want to enjoy the basketball season and take my time to evaluate all of my options," Williams said. "I have four great schools to choose from and want to make a good, educated decision."

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Oregon coaches hit the road 

December, 3, 2012
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Alvin KamaraRadi Nabulsi/ESPN.comThe Ducks coaching staff made the cross-country trek to Georgia last week to visit, among others, coveted ESPN 150 RB Alvin Kamara.

With a week off from practice, the assistant coaches for the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl-bound Oregon Ducks
hit the recruiting trail last week. In addition to visiting their current commits, the Ducks' coaches also visited their primary remaining targets for the Class of 2013.

They racked up the miles as they visited players in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, among others.

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Oregon not offering Gareon Conley? 

November, 27, 2012
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ESPN 150 CB Gareon Conley, who expressed strong interest in Oregon while being committed to Michigan, decommitted from the Wolverines on Tuesday.

"Coach [Greg] Mattison was at my school today and we told him [I was decommitting]," Conley told WolverineNation's Tom VanHaaren. "I felt like I did it too early and didn't wait to see what else would come. I like Michigan, but I like other schools too, and I want to visit them."

Whether that opens the door for Oregon is another story. On Monday night, Conley wrote on his Twitter account that the Ducks weren't going to offer him because they wanted a safety.

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