While the Class of 2012 made their mark on the field, members of the 2014 recruiting pool looked on with amazement at the latest edition of the military-themed Oregon spring game. Tabbed athlete Devante Downs(4-Star/Lynnwood, WA/Rivals250), quarterback Morgan Mahalak(3-Star/Kentfield, CA), linebacker Zach Brown(3-Star/San Deigo, CA), and lineman Sam Jones(3-Star/Highlands Ranch, CO) all visited and took in the sights of Eugene over this past weekend.
A jack-of-all-trades at 6’3″ and 230 lbs., Downs was quick to mention Oregon’s cutting edge feel. “We got a tour of everything and I was blown away by all the state of the art technology and all the facilities,” said Downs. “I actually don’t’ know enough adjectives to describe it all.” Nimble on his feet, Downs will most likely settle into the linebacking corps and indicated that coach Don Pellum was eager to make an in-home visit. While an offer has not been extended, Downs’ grades (3.60 GPA) and overall demeanor on the field should translate to an Oregon nod come this summer.
While not his first time amongst the Ducks, Mahalak’s subsequent spring game visit was just as enjoyable. “I loved everything about it,” said Mahalak. “I had another great day in Eugene and the weather was perfect.” The 6’3”, 190 lb. signal caller made notice of the seamless transition of coaching as it bore itself out on the gridiron. “Oregon definitely hasn’t missed a bet with the coaching change… (Scott Frost) called a good game and I liked the things they were doing on offense.” Oregon’s new offensive coordinator will make a stop this coming Tuesday at Mahalak’s residence where an offer will most likely be extended.
*Mahalak committed to Oregon this morning (5/01/13) following an offer from Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost.
Offered at the beginning of the recruiting cycle, Jones finally made his way to Eugene and like so many others, came away awe-struck. “Oregon has some really cool stuff and the new facility is ridiculous,” said Jones. “It’s absolutely insane.” An athlete in the trenches, the 6’5”, 275 pounder was intrigued by a conversation with his position coach. “After I met with (offensive line coach Steve) Greatwood, he told me I have a shot to play at tackle, which I like. He said he plays his five best linemen regardless of position. They told me I’m on the top of their board… I see myself as a good fit at Oregon.”
Like his peers, Brown couldn’t get enough of the newest innovations at Oregon. “It was so cool, I really loved the trip,” said Brown. “What stood out was the technology and the specialty equipment that they have designed for their athletes.” At 6’2” and 235 lbs., Brown’s prowess is apparent but was nonetheless appreciatory of the program’s small town feel towards its athletes. “I love how the players and coaches are and how everyone is so laid back. Nobody in Eugene acts like a superstar…” An offer could be coming very soon as Oregon will evaluate Jones in the coming months, so stay tuned!
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Mark Flores, a Salem, OR resident, is a Firefighter/Paramedic and an avid Oregon Ducks supporter. A graduate of nearby Corban University with a Bachelors Degree in English-Journalism, Flores is a Ducks football season-ticket holder (since 2010) with plans of pursuing his masters degree at the U of O. A passionate and knowledgeable Ducks fan with a heavy interest in Oregon athletics and recruiting, Flores, a former lacrosse player, brings a wealth of knowledge of Oregon teams not readily covered by the media.
Flores has over seven years of professional journalism experience, including writing for the Statesman Journal in Salem and holding the position of Sports Editor for the Hilltop News (Corban University). He brings his detailed knowledge of recruiting and athletics to the FishDuck team, and welcomes your feedback.
Author's Note: "I do not capitalize our rival, "that other school", nor any other institution outside of our beloved UNIVERSITY OF OREGON. WTD!!!"