Oregon Football Recruiting Analysis: Did the Earth Just Shake?

Aloha FI enwikipedia
Uncle Haloti Provides Great Bloodlines With New Recruit, Ratu

John Giustina

Uncle Haloti illustrates great football bloodlines vis a vis, new Duck recruit, nephew Ratu.

The recruiting wisdom of Mark Helfrich is becoming more evident as time goes on.  Most recently comes the news that Hawaii defensive tackle, Ratu Mafileo, got his “eligibility” green light from the NCAA and can now attend and play football at UO.  The nephew of former Oregon great, Haloti Ngata, sheds new light on a 2014 recruiting class that was already ranked in the top 25 nationally.

Mafileo’s addition has the potential of boosting Oregon’s class ranking into the top 20.  Although Mafileo is rated 3-stars by 247Sports, his massive (now 6-foot-4, 325 pounds) presence definitely makes a statement to the rest of the college football world that Oregon is out to win, and not just with speed.  How does this change the perception of Mark Helfrich’s performance in his first full recruiting cycle versus Chip Kelly?  Are the two comparable?

Factoring in Oregon’s newest defensive tackle and his substantive bloodline, the 2014 recruiting class is now full and complete — with all its parts. Looking at the Ducks’ 2014 recruiting ranking, and adjusting for the additional points garnered from Mafileo, Oregon should creep up into the top 20.  In order to objectively rate class strength we will use a proven tier (color) system based on the relative “score” of each recruit.  These tiers will be represented by colors as outlined here:

Platinum = 5-star rating by any site (Rivals, 247Sports, Scout)

Gold = 4-star rating by two or more sites

Silver = 4-star rating by only one site

Bronze = 3-star rating by two or more sites

Green = 3-star rating by only one site

Yellow = No 3-star ratings

With Mafileo being rated 3-stars by only one recruiting site, he will calculate in as a green-talent athlete.

During this off-season, FishDuck’s Recruiting Analyst, yours truly, will be reporting on strategy every three weeks.  If you love our beloved Ducks, and especially enjoy following football recruiting, then this series is for you.  Just check these pages, and you’ll not only catch up on all things recruiting, but also learn how those recruits effect Oregon’s strategy.

Following the recruiting game can be a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I’ll be here to show you those amazing athletes that commit to Oregon, and contrast them with some of the stellar talent that slips away.

The direction I want to see Oregon go with recruiting isn’t far off from the concept of Matt Hinton in his article, “Star Power,” where he says that, for the most part, the talent ratings by the recruiting gurus and rating services, should, indeed, be trusted. There will always be exceptions, such as when a 5-star doesn’t quite fulfill his high expectations or an occasional 3-star will over-acheive and win the Heisman trophy — cue Johnny Manziel.

And now, the ‘Duh Factor’ — Oregon needs more quality 5-star athletes!  And to this end, I see coach Helfrich stepping more and more into the talent-rich southern states and snagging some great talent from the grasp of SEC powerhouses.  In recent years, Oregon has gotten the nation’s attention — Mark Helfrich’s Ducks are not going away like many suspected when Chip Kelly left.

How does Mark Helfrich measure up with a DT commit?

Cliff Grassmick

How does Mark Helfrich compare to the previous regime(s) recruiting-wise?

To continue — I will speak to the direction that coach Helfrich took with the class of 2014, and examine, position by position, who and where he’ll be chasing, in the way of 2015 athletes.

This is like ordering a vehicle online and paying for the base-priced model, only to discover that it arrived with leather seats, entertainment system and a moon roof.

How cool is it that Mafileo worked his tail off getting his grades in order, just because he wanted to play football at the University of Oregon?  Did defensive line coach Ron Aiken have an inkling of how this was going to come about?

Oregon has been needing more depth and a true 3-4 nose tackle to anchor the defensive line, much like in the days of Ngata. Considering the speed of Oregon’s remaining defense, a large powerful talent clogging up the middle gaps can help prevent a lot of long runs. The patience of Helfrich to hold out for Mafileo’s eligibility, will surely benefit the defense once he makes his official visit and signs his letter of intent, while still in Eugene.  Even though he is green on the talent tier, the coaches saw something in Mafileo and he definitely fills a void at defensive tackle.

Did Puddles Hear the Rumble of the Earth Shaking?

Jason Fowler

Did Puddles feel the rumble of the earth shaking?

Looking back at Chip Kelly after stepping into his ‘predestined’ head coaching position in 2009, he finished that recruiting cycle outside the top-25, according to 247Sports, Scout — and one of my favorite stat guys, Phil Steele.

Helfrich stepped in — without fanfare – in 2013 and was able to retain the majority of Kelly’s recruits to keep Oregon in the top-20 nationally.  (We will give coach Kelly credit for his 2nd class – in 2010 — which was ranked as high as 13th by 247Sports and Scout, but only 16th by Phil Steele.  

I won’t judge coach Helfrich too harshly because he dropped a bit to 21st or 22nd, especially now that we see he’s about to sign one more necessary part of the class.  This addition will likely rank the Ducks’ recruiting class at No. 19 nationally after the points are tallied and .  Let me repeat that – this will likely put Oregon’s 2014 recruiting class in the top-20, as rated by both 247Sports and Scout.  

I think I just felt the earth move with this discovery: Coach Helfrich’s aggressive recruiting style will show up on the first Wednesday in February – and we will see a nice jump in the rankings — book it.

Top photo by en.wikipedia.org

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Jason Fowler

Jason Fowler

Jason, born and raised in central Oregon, first noticed college football when his older brother attended the University of Oregon. Jason studied English at Southern Oregon University and enjoyed cheering for the school’s team, but longed for that major college game-day experience. That desire slowly blossomed into a fanatical passion for the national feel of college football, especially defending the Pac-12 while challenging conferences like the SEC to step up. He has spent five years expounding on the differences between the two conferences on his blog, buzzbrother2-pac10football.blogspot.com, set up solely for that purpose. Following the Ducks' recruiting progress in the off-season has made college football a year-round hobby for him. He now resides in Spokane, Washington with his incredibly patient, non-football-fan wife and three children, and works as an MRI Technologist. He can be reached at buzzbrother2@msn.com.

  • Tacos Tomorrow

    This seems like the other guys rankings just changed the names of the categories. And, who is puddles?

    • FishDuck

      The “other guy,” Chris Charbonnier, has moved on after writing for FishDuck.com for over two years. We enjoyed his writing and analysis, and we wish him well.

      This site wishes to continue recruiting analysis, thus the baton has been passed to Jason Fowler. Chris took his base research from other writers and adapted it to Oregon, and Jason will do the same. He may call a player a “Gold” while Chris called it a “Tier” with a number on it, hence each will have their own style differences of which I encourage.

      Jason has already taken the new player and added it to our new recruiting score, and that is something no other site has done yet so Jason has a good start in this area and I think you will enjoy his analysis and approach.

      Charles Fischer
      (FishDuck)

  • 73duck

    Ngata was a DT, not a NT at Oregon, which ran a 4-3 when he was here.

  • MAITAIDUCK

    I never have liked Phil Steeles Ranking’s and he has always dissed the Ducks recruiting classes, and this tells me he doesn’t know squat, because Oregon Coach’s too me do more than Alabama because it’s the NAME for them and Oregon just keeps climbing Higher every year and this Coaching staff we all have to agree get’s the MOST out of less than what Alabama does. I will hope this translates to a spot on that 4 Team mess of a Playoff system that the NCAA, thinks they know whats best for College Football, but has repeatedly shown the LATTER. Should of been 8 Teams too start, but this is a Moot point now, and hopefully the DUCK’S get their MOJO back as in were better than you and we will prove it on the field. Last years recruits were all about Leaders that were Captains of their HS teams, because someone to take control on either side of the ball was not there last year. I do like this article minus Steele though.

  • hooverli

    Aren’t you jumping the gun here, Jason? Mafileo hasn’t actually qualified and signed his LOI yet, has he?