NCF On The Trail: Oregon Ducks

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
USC's impact visitor list, Stanford's statement in the Evergreen State, UCLA's major opportunity and a sophomore quarterback at his best under the bright lights are a few of the highlights from the recruiting weekend in the Pac-12 conference.

Alabama, FSU, UF, Maryland and Oregon fans are going to have to wait on five-star DE Byron Cowart. Plus, Oregon State has made recruiting in LA a priority, so that’s why a good showing against the Trojans on Saturday is important.

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Video: Abernathy updates his recruiting

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
ESPN 300 cornerback Micah Abernathy talks about his recent trip to Oregon and names his favorites thus far.

UA jersey tour: WR Alex Ofodile

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Football is in Alex Ofodile’s DNA.

Ofodile, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound ESPN 300 receiver from Columbia (Missouri) Rock Bridge, can’t recall a time in his life when he wasn’t around the game. His father, A.J. Ofodile, was a fifth-round draft pick at tight end after a solid college career at Missouri. He played for the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

The younger Ofodile said his father’s love, passion for the game, encouragement and good genes were a big reason why he was named an Under Armour All-American. Ofodile received his official game jersey at a presentation Friday at his school in front of family, friends and the entire Rock Bridge student body.

“My dad always tells me that before I could even talk, he used to throw the ball with me back and forth,” said Ofodile, an Oregon commitment who ranks as the fifth-best receiver in the country. “He's played catch with me ever since I was little. Football is just in my blood. I just love playing, making plays. It's a great experience. It's a fun game.”

Ofodile’s bond with his father continues to grow stronger and stronger every day. After his football was behind him, Ofodile’s father moved into coaching and he is now the head coach at Rock Bridge. Some star players aren’t able to handle being around a parent who is also a coach, but Ofodile said his father has done a good job in both roles.

“My freshman year, I felt a whole lot of pressure,” Ofodile said. “But as I got more mature, he's kind of instilled in me that pressure makes diamonds. I make a play, people will say it's because your dad is the coach. I just tune that out. He's taught me to put that behind me. Don't listen to it and just go play your game. It's helped me a lot.

“He's done a great job of separating home from football. I thank him a lot for that. That's also kind of the way he coaches. He's not a big get-in-your-face-and-yell guy. You drop the ball, you know he's not going to jump all over you. He's not a yeller. He's more of a tell-you-what-you-did-wrong-and-fix-it type of coach.”

The good news is Ofodile hasn’t dropped too many passes in his career at Rock Bridge. Before leading his team to a 42-23 victory over rival Hickman on Friday night, Ofodile had already racked up 583 receiving yards and nine touchdowns through the first four games. Against Hickman, he had 80 yards receiving in the first half alone, before the defense started shifting two and sometimes even three defenders his way. He still managed to find a way to get into the end zone, sealing the victory with a 35-yard rush late in the game.

It was the type of performance that showcased why he’s an Under Armour All-American.

“I think I'm unique because I'm pretty good in a lot of different areas,” Ofodile said. “I think more of an all-around receiver. It's hard to find a guy that's fast, that's polished, that likes to block and do it all. I think I bring a lot of things to the table. I think I'll be able to play inside and outside.”

There are two Under Armour All-Americans from Missouri. Does that say anything about the quality of football that's being played in the Show Me State?
“I think people are looking to Missouri more. We had Dorial Green-Beckham and guys like Evan Boehm. Then there are guys like Hale Hentges and me. We're kind of continuing on the same path as those guys. Hopefully, after a while people will see Missouri is a powerhouse for football and it could open the doors for other players down the road to get more recruiting opportunities. That's what I'm hoping for.”

How do you think you will be used at Oregon?
“I think I'll be used all over the place. I think I'll be used how they used Josh Huff. I think I'll be more of a bigger Josh Huff. I think I'll fit in there really well and be able to play everywhere they need in that offense. Since I'm enrolling early, I think that's also going to help me out a lot mentally. I'm going to be learning the plays and get my adjustment period over with early before camp starts. Getting through all that stuff is going to help me out a bunch. Hopefully, I'll be competing for a spot.”

How much pressure was there on you to pick Missouri, since your dad played there and you live in Columbia?
“The pressure was tremendous externally. But internally between the people that really mattered, they all wanted me to do what's best for me. They all asked me 'Where are you going to be most excited to play at?' I had a lot of people tell me to go blaze your own trail. That was the message I got from the people I really cared about. If I had gone to Mizzou, people would have supported me. If I didn't, the people that mattered would have supported me, too. This was my decision and the people that loved me supported it 100 percent.”

Early Offer: Tough times ahead for UF? 

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
Recruiting in the SEC is already difficult, but the difficulty in Gainesville is about to be ratcheted up even more as rival recruiters are already pressuring Florida recruits to reconsider. Plus, it was clear Saturday night that Oregon needs help on the offensive line, but the good news is that help is on the way.

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UA jersey tour: Terry Beckner Jr.

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
He’s ranked as the No. 4 player in the country, the No. 1 player in Illinois and the top overall prospect in the Midwest. But there is one honor that five-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. said he is most proud of -- being an Under Armour All-American.

Beckner was presented with his Under Armour All-America jersey Saturday in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance at halftime of his football game at East St. Louis (Illinois) High School. Beckner, who has more than 40 scholarships from schools coast-to-coast, said this was a special moment he would never forget.

“This is a big deal,” Beckner said.

Darren Sunkett is one of the longest tenured coaches in the St. Louis area and has coached hundreds of players that have gone on to play college football, but he said Beckner is one of his best ever.

"He has great athleticism for his size,” Sunkett said. “At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, he can actually move like he's 6-foot-1 and 185. He's a very athletic kid. We move him around inside and outside depending on the team and scheme we are facing."

Beckner is the first to admit, he is a man of few words, both on and off the field, but Sunkett said to not be fooled by his star defensive lineman’s quiet demeanor.

"Terry is real quiet, not a rah-rah guy, not very vocal and is short on words,” Sunkett said. “But his actions on field speak for themselves. He leads by example. He will meet every challenge he is faced with. He steps up to meet challenges. Terry never misses a weight room session, even during basketball. He is in the weight room after and leading by his efforts as a captain."

As far as recruiting goes, Beckner said he is adamant on waiting until his senior season is over before focusing too much on favorites. At one point he said Missouri was the team to beat for him, but he’s backed off that some and says he’s now “wide open.”

“My focus is on my season now,” he said. “I won’t worry about recruiting until it’s over. I’m an East St. Louis Flyer now and that is what’s important.”

Beckner said his mind is so focused on his senior season that he couldn’t even name which five schools would get an official visit at this point. When asked if Missouri would get one for sure, he said the Tigers “maybe” would. Sunkett said Beckner would likely wait until his season is over before he takes any official visits and with four of his high school games on Saturdays, Beckner is going to have a very limited window for unofficial visits to college games.

"I think Terry wants to play in the SEC, though,” Sunkett said. “He is taking it slow and is more in a wait and see situation. FSU in the ACC is a school he is interested in, too."

LSU, Ohio State and Oregon have been other schools Beckner has talked highly about in the past.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
video Oregon made the most noise on the field and the recruiting trail this past weekend, posting a win against a top-10 team in front of a number of potential impact recruits in the 2015 and 2016 classes. Elsewhere in the conference, USC made a statement with a big win and UCLA did the same with a big offer.

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Best of the visits: Pac-12

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
[+] EnlargeSeth Green and Taj Griffin
Courtesy of Seth Green's familyThe Ducks had a good showing for 2016 target Seth Green and Oregon commit Taj Griffin.
When it comes to visit weekends in the Pac-12, Oregon stole the show on Saturday, as no Pac-12 program brought in as many big-time recruits to witness an atmosphere as impactful as the one provided by the Ducks. While part of that was due to the opponent and the buildup surrounding the game, Oregon capitalized on hosting an impressive group of recruits, making a statement with both the 2015 and 2016 classes. Also represented in this look at the best visits of the weekend is Utah's big win against Fresno State and UCLA's closer-than-expected victory over Memphis.

Green visits the green and gold
While Oregon had a number of official visitors from the 2015 class, the Ducks also hosted 2016 ESPN 300 quarterback Seth Green on an unofficial visit. Green was able to take a photo of himself with Taj Griffin, an Oregon running back commit and ESPN 300 recruit. Green also tweeted, "Where great teams go to die" #WTD, a reference to a story written in the Michigan Daily in 2003, after No. 3 Michigan visited Autzen Stadium and lost to the Ducks.

Locked in to Oregon

The Ducks hosted ESPN 300 defensive backs Marvell Tell and Micah Abernathy over the weekend, and likely received some significant help in recruiting them from committed safety P.J. Locke. In fact, the Ducks had at least three committed recruits on campus for official visits this weekend, as Locke and offensive lineman Brady Aiello (pictured in Locke's tweet, below) were joined by offensive tackle Calvin Throckmorton.
Utes host big in-state target

It's always a positive thing when a significant in-state target spends a Saturday on campus, so Utah coaches had to be happy that mammoth offensive tackle prospect Brandon Bowen took in the Utes' thrashing of Fresno State. Bowen holds offers from several Pac-12 programs, including Colorado, Oregon State and Washington State, but Utah appears to be in solid position.

Bisharat sees slugfest

While wide receivers love watching wide open offenses, it's likely that a 6-foot-2, 200-pound running back, such as 2016 recruit Beau Bisharat, enjoyed what he saw from Stanford and USC on Saturday, as running games took center stage in a low-scoring affair. Bisharat, who holds early Pac-12 offers from Cal, Colorado and Washington State, tweeted a photo of his view of the game.
Unfortunately for the Cardinal, who dropped a heartbreaker, 13-10, Bisharat followed that tweet later in the day by retweeting USC defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, who took a picture of the scoreboard following the game.

Martin sees more than just a game

For 2016 ESPN 300 offensive lineman Frank Martin, Saturday night didn't just result in the memories of an entertaining game between UCLA and Memphis. The big tackle and No. 166 overall prospect also finished the night by earning his 10th offer, this one coming from the Bruins.

Nation's No. 2 RB talks big game, visits 

September, 6, 2014
Sep 6
GARLAND, Texas -- As ESPN 300 running back Soso Jamabo enjoys his official visit to Notre Dame, don’t be surprised if the people of South Bend ask about Friday night’s football game.

They might have heard about how he nearly rushed for 500 yards. They might have seen photographs and the multiple updates on Twitter. Those who watched Jamabo in public, however, saw the nation’s No. 32 player in the ESPN 300 put up insane numbers. Maddenesque numbers, even.

How insane? Jamabo rushed 31 times for 484 yards and six touchdowns in a win against Sachse, Texas, a team that features ESPN Junior 300s in wide receiver Devin Duvernay (No. 15) and cornerback Jared Mayden (No. 88) -- although Mayden didn’t play because of injury -- as well as three-star Iowa State running back commit Devine Ozigbo.

It was also a statement game of sorts. Jamabo is the nation’s No. 2 running back, but he’s trying to prove that he deserves the top spot. Though he didn’t name the top-ranked back Damien Harris personally, Jamabo did make it a priority to announce he’s on a mission to silence his critics.

"This is for everyone who doubts me. This is what I do," Jamabo said. "I want to be the best, and I think I am the best. It’s up to my teammates; my teammates put me in position to do great things, and that’s all I can give it to."

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

September, 5, 2014
Sep 5
While the SEC is the proud owner of 10 home games this weekend, the Pac-12 will host just six Saturday matchups this week. While this drives the quantity of big visit weekends down, it does not dilute the quality. After less than a handful of official visitors across the conference last weekend -- thanks to only four Saturday home games -- this weekend boasts the first full-fledged huge recruiting weekend at -- where else? -- the showdown between Michigan State and Oregon. Here is a look at the top three visit weekends across the Pac-12 for Week 2 of the college football season.

1. Oregon

It's no surprise that recruits would flock to this game, even though the visitor list will still likely rank well behind the group that shows up for Oregon's home game against Stanford later this season. The Ducks are scheduled to receive official visits from three committed prospects: safety P.J. Locke and offensive tackles Brady Aiello and Calvin Throckmorton. Locke will have an opportunity to do some serious recruiting, as uncommitted ESPN 300 defensive backs Marvell Tell and Micah Abernathy are slated to be in Eugene on official visits as well. Stanford defensive tackle commit Rex Manu should be on campus taking an official visit, and the Ducks appear to be doing very well with the talented defender. But the focus won't just be on 2015 talent this weekend, as 2016 ESPN 300 quarterback Seth Green -- the No. 155 overall prospect and No. 15 pocket passer -- will be on hand for an unofficial visit. The Ducks got a quick commitment from Malik Lovette on an official visit last weekend, and there could be an opportunity to make a big impact with Manu, though both Tell and Abernathy are likely to take their time with the recruiting process.

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#SceneAndHeard Lunch Break: Sept. 3 

September, 3, 2014
Sep 3
ESPN 300 Hines to cut list today

ESPN 300 No. 149 Nyheim Hines will announce his Top 7 at 7 ET tonight. While he's not technically cutting schools from consideration, programs that don't make the Top 7 are essentially out of contention at this point. Among those that are near locks to make the seven are NC State and Duke with North Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio State also good bets. Also in serious contention are Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Virginia Tech and Virginia. The major factor in the speedster's recruitment is his twin sister, Nyah. Nyah has been offered by NC State as a hurdler. Duke was considered the favorite last spring, but things are certainly pointing to the Wolfpack as the current team to beat with the track offer resting with Nyah.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
The Oregon Ducks made the biggest splash on the recruiting trail over the weekend, landing a commitment from ESPN 300 athlete Malik Lovette. The Ducks had the nation's No. 276 prospect on campus for an official visit and sealed the deal rather quickly. Elsewhere, it was a fairly quiet weekend for the conference overall, as three Thursday games, two Friday game and several away games left only four programs hosting Saturday contests and even fewer official visitors.

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: Despite losing to Florida State, Oklahoma State could end up being a winner on the recruiting trail because of its effort. Plus, Oregon brought in two key official visitors for its first game of the season and was rewarded with an ESPN 300 commitment, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

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Best from the weekend: Pac-12 

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
It was something of an odd opening weekend for Pac-12 teams looking to bring in recruits for official and unofficial visits. Only four programs hosted Saturday games and the conference had just two official visitors in total. But even without a significant number of visitors, there was important news for the conference.

Malik Lovette commits to Oregon

Lovette’s head coach, Kurt Bruich, offered his congratulations to his star athlete, who committed to Oregon while on an official visit. The commitment didn't come as much of a shock, and Oregon continues to stockpile talent in the offensive backfield, as Lovette teams with fellow ESPN 300 running back Taj Griffin to give the Ducks a potent duo.

2016 talent takes in big USC win

With UCLA on the road this weekend, USC coaches took advantage of being the only game in town, bringing in a number of bigtime 2016 prospects. ESPN 300 quarterback KJ Costello and ESPN 300 wide receiver Tyler Vaughns are pictured above, and there was plenty more junior talent in attendance. Cornerback C.J. Polland, athlete Brandon Burton and linebackers Darrian Franklin and Blake Walls were a few other 2016 ESPN 300 prospects in attendance.

Trojans make solid first impression under Sarkisian

Scout's Take: ATH Lovette to Oregon 

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
ESPN 300 athlete Malik Lovette committed to the Ducks while on an official visit. Below, find out more about Oregon's newest weapon:

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