- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
One of the more interesting recruitments ended Sunday as ESPNU 150 prospect Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif./Pleasant Grove) committed to Oregon. It was tough to peg where the one-time USC verbal would land, but in the end the Ducks were able to get the talented big man.
This is a commitment that could be looked at in two ways. If the four-star who plans to play defense does indeed play D-Line for the Ducks then it can be viewed as a very good pick-up. If he moves to offense and embraces life as an offensive tackle, we feel it is a outstanding pick-up for the Ducks.
As a player, he is a big kid with good athleticism demonstrating excellent flexibility, balance, and agility. We are not suggesting he is incapable of playing defense or would be a bad D-Lineman. As an interior player he could be very productive and fits the mold of some past/current Ducks D-Lineman like Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart but with more size and natural athleticism.
That being said, we feel his greatest upside is on offense and it seems almost like a matter of potentially having one of the better D-linemen in the Pac-12 or one of the better O-tackles in the country.
Armstead, a top twenty five prospect overall as a OT, could develop into an outstanding O-lineman for the Ducks. He's a good fit for their offensive scheme with his combination of size and athletic skills. He can quickly come off the ball low and hard, knock defenders back and, at times, dominate them in the run game. Capable of being a tough finisher, he has the foot quickness and body control to locate defenders on the move and be very productive playing on his feet in space which could be huge in the Ducks wide-open up-tempo offensive ground attack. With his ability to bend and slide his feet and stay balanced he could also be asset in pass protection as well facing athletic edge rushers in the conference.
Bottom line is this, Armstead is a talented big man and regardless of where he plays he is a big pick-up for the Ducks, though we feel he can make the greatest impact at offensive tackle and would not be surprised to see him lined up there in Eugene before it’s all said and done.
2dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney