Oregon’s had its share of stalwarts line up in no-man’s land behind the defensive front. Resonating names the likes of Dave Wilcox, Blair Phillips, Spencer Paysinger, Casey Matthews, and current backer Michael Clay, have made it their business to stuff the run and match strides with opposing receivers in pass coverage. The Ducks will look to the prep class of 2013 to bolster a long line of linebackers who are built for speed, yet no strangers to lowering their shoulders and meeting opponents with reckless abandon.
Receiving a Rivals’ National #17 overall ranking entering 2013, top tier linebacker Michael Hutchings (4-Star/Concord, CA/Rivals100) would entertain dawning Lightning Yellow and Thunder Green this coming fall if given the chance. The 6’2, 210-lb. prep star has “extreme interest” in the Ducks and gravitates towards playing the Rover, a staple of Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti’s defensive schemes. One of the leading tacklers last season for legendary De La Salle High, Hutchings has been offered by Aliotti and plans to “get an unofficial visit (to Eugene) in April.”
Recently named the Rivals’ #1 Overall Prospect in the state of Arizona (#40 nationally), Chans Cox (4-Star/Lakeside, AZ/Rivals100) adds his name to the headliners of a senior prep class bursting at the seams with defensive talent. Cox is a lanky 6’3, 220-lb. bulldozer who splits time on both sides of the field, taking snaps at running back and chasing down opponents as an outside linebacker. Incredibly strong (315/bench – 460/squat) and gifted as a student (4.00/GPA), Cox’s speed would give him an immediate edge for playing time. He plans to visit Oregon in the next few months.
The islands of Hawaii continue to produce raw athleticism in the prep ranks; Isaac Savaiinaea (4-Star/Honolulu, HI/Rivals250) is no exception. Fleet-footed at 6’3, 230 lbs., Savaiinaea has explosive speed and great tackling ability in open space. A dual threat athlete, Savaiinaea returns kicks on special teams and captains his prep defense at middle linebacker. 2012 Oregon signee DeForest Buckner may give the Duck’s the edge to sign Savaiinaea as both shared the jersey of vaunted Punahou High.
Like Buckner’s influence with teammate Savainaea, current Oregon defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli may provide the Ducks with an inside track to land offensive lineman Lowell Loulelei (4-Star/South Jordan, UT/Rivals 250). Both members of the Mormon Church, the 6’2, 290-lb. Loulelei has been in talks with Heimuli and heard “a lot of great things about Oregon” and is “excited to check them out.”
Oregon’s influence is slowly creeping into the southeast, with prep stars entertaining cross-country excursions to Eugene. Jaynard Bostwick (4-Star/Port Saint Lucie, FL/Rivals100) currently holds the Ducks in his top five program choices. At 6’4, 275 lbs., Bostwick is highly skilled at shedding blocks and would pair up effectively with Oregon’s newest defensive lineman Arik Armstead and Alex Balducci.
On Tuesday, Oregon extended its first offensive line offer to Sean Harlow (3-Star/San Clemente, CA). The 6’5, 270-lb. jack of all trades has great versatility and can “play all five positions on either side (of the line),” making him an invaluable commodity in Coach Chip Kelly’s zone blocking schemes. Harlow plans to sit down with Offensive Line Coach Steve Greatwood during a visit to Oregon’s campus this coming month.
As mentioned in last week’s Recruiting Update, Oregon is the place to be for prep stars who want to showcase speed. Tatum Taylor (NR/Seattle, WA), holder of the fastest 60-meter dash time nationally (6.79), has been offered by Oregon Track & Field Coach, Vin Lananna. However, Taylor is also a speedster on the gridiron, and “(an) offer for football will be tough to pass up.” At 5’10, 160 lbs., Taylor fits the mold of the TAZR, and the prospects of taking snaps alongside De’Anthony Thomas (link) could be an ultimate weapon for the Oregon offense.
If you haven’t already, hop on your computer and purchase the 2012 Oregon Ducks Rose Bowl DVD. It’s a FANTASTIC commemorative piece that showcases our beloved Oregon Ducks’ win in its entirety and includes the Rose Bowl Trophy presentation and post-game interviews with Coach Chip Kelly, Kiko Alonso, and Lavasier Tuinei.
Another nugget of “internet gold” – Puddles goes “sasquatch” in the background of a pre-ESPN Erin Andrews sideline report; No doubt the best Mascot in college football, our Beloved Oregon Duck!
For up to the minute recruiting news, please visit our friends at DUCK TERRITORY, and look for my latest recruiting update next week, WTD!!!