NCF On The Trail: Oregon Ducks

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 25, 2014
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While there were a number of important visitors at every Pac-12 game this past weekend, the Rose Bowl took center stage as UCLA hosted a number of official and unofficial visitors in what was the hottest ticket of the year for Southern California recruits. UCLA kicked off its strong weekend with a commitment from an ESPN 300 prospect, while Oregon hosted a junior college standout committed to another Pac-12 program. This upcoming weekend presents an opportunity for recruiting statements to be made in rivalry games.

Best of the visits: Pac-12

November, 23, 2014
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It was an active weekend for recruits on social media, especially in Los Angeles, where UCLA turned in a huge performance in front of a number of Southern California's elite recruits. This weekend's look at Pac-12 visits through recruits' eyes on social media features stops in Eugene, Tempe, Berkeley and a whole lot of love for the Bruins in Los Angeles.

UCLA's big night

It all started with a bang for the Bruins, as ESPN 300 defensive end Keisean Lucier-South committed to UCLA well before the start of the game against USC.
Lucier-South, the nation's No. 29 prospect, had always been considered a lean to the Bruins, but solidifying his commitment was still cause for celebration in Westwood. It gives UCLA the Nos. 3 and 5 prospects in the state after not signing any of the top 13 California prospects in the 2014 class. Lucier-South was in attendance at the Rose Bowl as well, as UCLA's decisive 38-20 victory over USC made for a nice day for the new commitment. While Lucier-South was in attendance on an unofficial visit, there were more than a few official visitors in town for the Bruins. Perhaps the most important uncommitted official visitor was ESPN 300 guard Joshua Wariboko, the No. 174 prospect in the nation. He was on a visit with UCLA pledge Will Lockett and they had similar thoughts on the atmosphere on campus and at the game. Utah commit George Wilson was at the game and provided a quick snapshot. But the lasting effects from this game might be more felt in the 2016 class, which was loaded in terms of visitors at the Rose Bowl. Outside linebacker Caleb Kelly, the nation's No. 38 prospect in his class, made the drive down. Insider linebacker Lokeni Toailoa, the nation's No. 79 prospect in 2016 retweeted a number of positive UCLA messages and had this simple statement, regarding UCLA's three straight wins in the rivalry. 2016 wide receiver Theo Howard, who holds early offers from both programs, was at the Rose Bowl. Running back Damian Alloway, a new addition to the 2016 ESPN 300, at No. 206 overall, holds an offer from UCLA and wasn't shy about which direction he was leaning Saturday night. UCLA also hosted 2016 prospects Traveon Beck and Frank Martin -- the No. 132 overall prospect in his class. More visitors to Oregon

The Ducks have taken advantage of in season official visitors more frequently than any other Pac-12 program, relying heavily on Autzen Stadium's tremendous atmosphere to make an impression on visitors. This weekend, a few notable uncommitted prospects took official visits in Marquise Doherty and Octavius Spencer, but the visit to watch could be Arizona State junior college linebacker commit Davon Durant. All three prospects likely heard plenty from Oregon's committed prospects in town on official visits -- offensive linemen Shane Lemieux and Jake Hanson. Trip to Tempe

Arizona State had several interesting official visitors on campus, as ESPN 300 prospects John Houston, Stanley Norman and Joseph Wicker all made their way to Tempe. The Sun Devils also hosted committed junior college tight end Raymond Epps on an official visit. Big visitor for Big Game

Cal had a number of commits in town for the Big Game against Stanford. The Golden Bears also received an unofficial visit from 2016 ESPN 300 cornerback Treyjohn Butler, the No. 86 overall prospects who holds early Pac-12 offers from Arizona State, Cal, Washington and Washington State.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

November, 21, 2014
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The penultimate weekend of the regular season is upon us, and that means some serious recruiting weekends in store for several Pac-12 programs. A look at the top three recruiting visits in the Pac-12 includes one staff taking advantage of hosting its rivalry game and two others bringing in recruits to witness their final home games of the regular season.

USC at UCLA


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Early Offer: Who will land Soso Jamabo? 

November, 20, 2014
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Soso Jamabo loved visits to UCLA and Notre Dame, but is it too early to count out the Texas schools? Plus, NC State added a key pledge on Wednesday that should give the Wolfpack much-needed help on the offensive line.

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ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the Pac-12 

November, 19, 2014
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The updated 2016 ESPN 300 was released on Wednesday, and 44 prospects from Pac-12 states are included, though the top two -- quarterbacks Malik Henry and Jacob Eason -- are committed to Florida State and Georgia, respectively. The Pac-12 holds commitments from 12 prospects in the ESPN Junior 300, as Oregon (three), USC (two) and UCLA (one) have 100 percent of their commitments included in the list.

Three recruits to watch


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UA jersey tour: Canton Kaumatule

November, 18, 2014
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The state of Hawaii will be well represented at this year’s Under Armour All-America Game. On Tuesday, defensive end Canton Kaumatule was just the first of three Aloha State prospects to receive his jersey this week, in a presentation sponsored by American Family Insurance.

Kaumatule, Oregon’s highest-rated commitment and the Ducks’ lone ESPN 300 verbal pledge on the defensive side of the ball, gave Oregon recruiting a huge boost when he made his commitment and signed early enrollment financial aid papers at the end of October.

But truthfully, the Ducks had no business earning a commitment from the 6-foot-6, 280-pound defensive end.

Kaumatule knew he wanted to take all of his official visits and knew that he wouldn’t commit to any school while on any of them. And for most of us, the way his trip to Oregon started would have put us in a sour mood immediately.

The plan was for Kaumatule and his family to take a connecting flight from San Francisco directly to Eugene, but when his flight out of Hawaii was delayed, he was forced to fly into Portland, sit through a layover, then fly into Eugene.

“On the plane ride, I was looking at the scenery and was already starting to fall in love,” Kaumatule said. “We sat in the airport for two hours and everybody at the airport was really nice. I got a good sense of home and it was definitely different than other places I’ve been on the mainland.”

By the time Kaumatule got to Eugene, the Ducks basically had their newest commit.

“I stepped on campus and fell in love with it. The coaches and players were really welcoming and I felt like I was part of the team already. I felt like Oregon was the place for me.”

While the commitment might have come as a surprise, Kaumatule’s family was completely on board. That includes his older brother, Luke Kaumatule, who happens to be an outside linebacker at Stanford.

“He was telling my dad that it would be a great fit for me,” Kaumatule said of his brother. “We were all kind of swayed by that. He’s a big part of my life and when I got there, there was no doubt in my mind.”

Six questions with Canton Kaumatule

What players are you looking forward to competing with or against at the UA Game?

“Two of my good friends -- Breiden Fehoko and Fred Ulu-Perry. No doubt those two are part of Hawaii’s elite and I’ve grown up with those two guys. It’s really exciting to be able to go represent Hawaii with them. We talk about going to the game all the time.”

If you could start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?

“I would have to say Kalama Chung. He’s my middle linebacker. He takes great control of the defense and he’s known for his work ethic. He watched film throughout the day -- during breaks, during lunch. The whole defense always looks to him. He’d be a great asset.”

Who is the best player to ever play in the UA Game?

“Kennedy Tulimasealii. My dad and I used to watch his one-on-one film from out there. That was inspirational to me. I knew that if he could do it, I could do it.”

What was your earliest football memory?

“I started playing in second grade and I played with guys a little older because of my weight. I wasn’t really too into it and I remember a lot of me running off the field crying. I just wanted to go home and play games. I really didn’t want to play back then.”

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?

“My older brother. He taught me a lot, not just about football but academics as well, and working out in the weight room. All he cared about was his motor. If he got knocked down, he got right back up and I really liked that. His relentless motor is what I base my game on today. I know that if I go full speed every game, I will be happy where I end up.”

Why do you wear your number (99)?

“That’s off my dad. In high school his number always had a nine in it. My brother has 90, but I wanted to make a new path. Plus that’s the biggest number on the team and I thought it’d be nice to fill that role.”

What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you?

“On the field I’m always pushing and fighting, but off the field I’m pretty happy-go-lucky. I love making people laugh. I know that if you get to know me, you’ll love me."

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 18, 2014
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With only three Pac-12 games on Saturday, it looked as if it could be a light recruiting weekend in the conference. And while there wasn't much in the way of visitors, Stanford hosted two intriguing unofficial visitors and Sunday brought some significant news in the way of a commitment and a new name for Pac-12 recruiting fans to put on their boards.


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Elite receiver prospects Daylon Charlot and Mykel Jones are teammates and lifelong friends, but will they end up at the same college? Plus, what team is the dark horse to land the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, Terry Beckner Jr.?

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It is easy to see why Oregon, Texas A&M and Auburn are working hard to land ESPN 300 athlete Kirk Merritt. He might be only a sophomore, but recruiting fans need to learn Joshua Paschal's name.


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Arizona State’s victory over Notre Dame Saturday gives the Sun Devils’ huge momentum on the recruiting trail. Texas hasn’t had to rely on junior-college players in the past, but that’ll change some under Charlie Strong.

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Kansas State and TCU battle in one of the biggest games of the weekend, and Horned Frog coach Gary Patterson said both teams have been built off a comparable recruiting philosophy. Could landing ESPN 300 Junior recruit Jovanny Garcia start a trend for Minnesota?


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Class rankings: Nov. 5 update

November, 5, 2014
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Three top-50 ESPN 300 prospects made commitments in the past week and sparked some changes to the class rankings. No moves were made among the top five, but one week after moving into that group Florida State strengthened its position by adding the nation's No. 5 CB, Tarvarus McFadden, to its class. After finishing third in the 2014 class rankings, the Seminoles remain very much in the running for another top-three finish.

Torrance Gibson became the 10th five-star prospect to commit and the third to join Ohio State's 2015 class. The addition of the No. 2 athlete helped the Buckeyes to push closer to the top five.

Oregon picked up a win over Stanford on Saturday and followed that with a big recruiting win after ESPN 300 DE Canton Kaumatule chose the Ducks. With its sixth ESPN 300 commit, Oregon has pushed past UCLA for the second-best class in the Pac-12.

Virginia Tech might be fighting through a three-game losing streak on the field, but in recruiting the Hokies were able make some positive strides. The Hokies landed former South Carolina commit Austin Clark, an in-state four-star OT, and moved into the top 40.



To see the full class rankings, click here.
Oregon is still working hard on its 2015, but that hasn't stopped the Ducks from landing quality 2016 targets like receiver Dillon Mitchell. Plus, why is Branden Bowen important to both Ohio State and Utah's 2015 class?

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UA jersey tour: Malik Jefferson

November, 4, 2014
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MESQUITE, Texas -- As he sat with his family and his head coach during the Under Armour All-America Game jersey ceremony Tuesday morning, ESPN 300 linebacker Malik Jefferson thought about the road traveled to get to where he is as a football player.

In short, he described it as “a blessing,” and he thought about the people in his life who may have indirectly affected his football career. He thought about his older brother, Tarik Jefferson, a senior linebacker at North Texas.

To be an Under Armour All-American takes sacrifice -- and sacrifice is something Malik said he learned mostly from his big brother. On and off the field.

“He gave me the motivation to work hard,” said Jefferson, the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 35 player overall in the 2015 ESPN 300. “I work hard on my own because he wanted to work hard by myself. I remember he would ask me to sit on his back while he did push-ups. He instilled hard work in me and showed me the way. I took notes from Day One. He’s quiet but a hard worker.”


Jefferson the student is now Jefferson the teacher as he prepares for college. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Jefferson is an absolute playmaker on the field. Few linebackers his size run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds. He clocked a 4.39 at The Opening this summer in Oregon.

With more than 30 offers to choose from, Jefferson, a three-year starter for Poteet High School in Mesquite, Texas, is looking at schools such as Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor, as well as out-of-state schools Alabama, Oregon and Stanford. Jefferson will announce his college plans Dec. 19.

Tuesday’s ceremony, sponsored by American Family Insurance, was icing on the cake for an outstanding high school career.

“I’m very appreciative of everything, and it’s a blessing to know that [Under Armour is] recognizing my true talents,” Jefferson said. “I can’t wait to get there, have fun and compete against the best of the best.”

He then added: “Oh, and to work my tail off.”

Quick hits on Malik Jefferson:

Why do you wear your football number? “I wear No. 46 because of my big brother (Tarik). He wore it in high school, so I took after him.”

Best UA game player:Jadeveon Clowney. Or Julio Jones. He’s an animal.”

Favorite football player:Von Miller. He follows me on Twitter. I was excited when I got that follow.”

In any sport, which celebrity would you challenge? “Drake in basketball. He doesn’t have a jump shot.”

Did you know ... Jefferson is very active with his church. He is a part of a miming group that does a form of interpretive dance.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 4, 2014
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Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA all hosted impressive visitor lists this past weekend and all produced significant home victories. Oregon's paid off immediately with an impact commitment, while UCLA made positive strides with two important targets.

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