Thursday, January 24, 2013
Oregon Class of 2009 review
By Brandon P. Oliver
Only after a few years can a recruiting class truly be measured. And while there were plenty of success stories in Oregon's Class of 2009, several players who signed with Oregon and never made an impact.
The Ducks landed a trio of impact linebackers in Michael Clay, Boseko Lokombo and Bryson Littlejohn. Clay was a two-year starter but made major contributions in each of his four seasons. Lokombo, who has one year remaining, has played in every game since his freshman year. Littlejohn was a junior-college transfer who contributed greatly in his two years with the Ducks.
2009 signee Cliff Harris made an instant impact with the Ducks but flamed out as he was dismissed from the team in 2011.
Defensive backs Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson each came in undervalued and developed into not only starters, but impact playmakers as juniors in 2012. The Ducks also added U.S. Army All-American CB Cliff Harris, who was an All-American as a sophomore before being suspended and ultimately booted from the program for violating team rules.
The Ducks targeted junior college players on the defensive line and had mixed results. Zac Clark played inside and out, making him a valuable piece in his two years at Oregon. Defensive tackles Terrance Montgomery and Andrew Iupati each left the program after one season without making an impact.
Taylor Hart was a mid-level recruit on the defensive line who is on the verge of stardom as he enters his senior season. Defensive tackle Wade Keliikipi has steadily improved and could be a star in 2013.
On the offensive line, the Ducks landed four recruits in 2009. Karrington Armstrong, Trevor Fox and Everett Benyard remain with the program but have made minimal impact, and Jamal Burrell was forced to quit because of medical issues.
The Ducks signed five receivers and the class perfectly demonstrates the inexact science of recruiting. Diante Jackson and Tyrece Gaines were supposed to be the saviors for Oregon at receiver, but both players were ineligible after one redshirt season and left the program. Braxton Lane opted for the MLB draft and Nick Cole left the program after two seasons. On the flip side, hidden gem LaVasier Tuinei came in from junior college and became a go-to receiver for the Ducks, including being named the MVP in the 2012 Rose Bowl. Daryle Hawkins was a little-known athlete who has been a solid role player in his first three seasons.
On special teams, the Ducks landed two highly touted specialists in punter Jackson Rice and kicker Mike Bowlin. Rice was a four-year starter and an All-American. Bowlin transferred to Washington State after one year in Eugene.