Wait-and-See as NLI Comes and Goes

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It’s the easiest thing to do — to make snap judgments or knee-jerk reactions.

Those are what this world is based on (smartphone and twitter in hand.)

However, in this instance — and it’s the same every year — the results from college football’s ultimate exploitation event, National Letter of Intent day, won’t be seen for another 2-3 years, and even then, that won’t tell the whole story.

It was interesting on Wednesday, as Oregon’s class was being finalized, to hear some local reporter’s snap-reaction.  Words like “disappointing,” “underwhelming,” and, I believe, “dud” were being thrown about.  They pointed to the fact that this was the lowest overall ranking Oregon has had since 2009, before this glorious run began.  They pointed to a lack of star power, lack of defensive tackles, and lack of drama.

What they failed to look at was the biggest get from the class: Need.

Oregon needed secondary depth —  they got it in spades.  They needed receiver speed — they got it in abundance.  They needed a quarterback for the future — it (appears) they found a gem in Morgan Mahalak.

But, again, we won’t know for awhile.

What’s the point of my rambling anyway?  Because Oregon’s 2008 class was also panned by critics, and it produced both LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner.  Patrick Chung didn’t register when he signed, and I don’t think anyone is complaining about his performance.  Sure, we would have benefited from just one defensive tackle choosing Oregon, but who’s to say they would pan out? For kids 17-22 years old, the work they do in college will be far more crucial than the work they have done up to that point.  Did we sign the next Haloti Ngata?  Not on paper.  But, who knows . . . maybe there is special talent hidden in a 3-star with a chip on his shoulder.

Oh, and just so were clear — Oregon’s class was by no means a failure.  According to most scouting services, the Ducks finished between 20-25th nationally, a far cry from its Northwest rivals, and long removed from the days of settling for somewhere in the 50s.

They got a 5-star running back for the third straight year — from California, another speedster from Florida, and one of the most sought-after defensive backs.  They signed the most prolific long-snapper in the last ten years — and yes, that is huge, even if no one knows it yet.

Oregon still needs a monster defensive tackle; that’s the last missing piece from a championship puzzle.  The good part?  Everyone on the staff knows this. The bad part? Every other team knows it too, and will do everything in their power to keep those ‘monsters’ away from Eugene.

Oregon did get better on Wednesday, even if other people want to try and belittle their efforts.  How much better?  We won’t know for awhile.  But, from what we do know of this coaching staff, it’s a safe bet that we’ll be pleased with the results.  Go Ducks!

(Photo at top from Video)

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Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson

Joel Gunderson grew up in a small town, where the only thing he did for fun was worship the Oregon Ducks. He later moved to Eugene, where he studied journalism at the U of O. After working in radio, he married the woman of his dreams and settled down. Joel now spends his days studying Journalism and the fine world of grammar, all the while worshiping the ground that Charles "Chip" Kelly walks on! Follow him on twitter @gundy85

  • DonealDuck

    Two sides of the coin:

    Plus: It is obviously not a ‘dud’ class when one young man coming to Oregon was MVP of his all star game and another scored three touchdowns in his and should have been; and when every need, albeit maybe one, was filled. Performance on the field is still more important than ‘stars’, yes?… ;)

    Negative: Anyone other than a green and yellow glassed Duck apologist would have to admit that it can only be seen as a failure by Oregon coaches to wait so late in the recruiting cycle to obtain commitments from defensive tackles when they knew the situation a year ago at this time. It is impossible to keep the thought from entering one’s mind; “What were they thinking?!?”


      Here’s one too MULL on, the recruits for 2015 and the ones that are interested in Oregon on the D Line side or LB, there’s a kid from Texas who is an OLB and is a 5 star and Oregon is in his TOP 3, and there’s BIG DT’s that are interested too, but yet there’s NO OFFER’S for any of these kids, and this is like this every year, and I’m getting so tired of the way they recruit now, and it’s basically the same, and the story always ends up the same from these Highly rated kids is that Oregon offers too late while other Teams are talking to them every day, so basically these kids look at this as being wanted, and Oregon’s Defense is a JOKE and if our new DC doesn’t change the way he calls the Game from Aliotti, like letting your Deffense ATTACK rather than sit back and let the offense dictate what your D does is exactly why we will never get to that Championship Game again and lets face it this is a Business and it’s not much lower than the NFL as in a BUSINESS, and with the MONEY being put into this program it should be a lot better especially on the Defensive side. There’s NO EXCUSES why this Staff does this, and If Helfrich and this staff doesn’t improve and get to another Championship then he wont be here very long and 11-2 is OK but they need to win every Game, and if you have guys that are highly rated and you don’t offer them, then it’s the Coaching staff thats failing!