Oregon wants just one quarterback for the 2015 class and Notre Dame should be worried. After visiting Eugene several days ago, the long time Notre Dame commit, Blake Barnett, may have second thoughts about the Fighting Irish. Almost immediately, Barnett opened his recruiting up by de-committing from Notre Dame and listing his top two schools of interest as Alabama and Oregon. It’s as if Notre Dame fell off the flat earth with no string attached to retrieve it ever again.
According to Duck Territory, I find that the Irish fans seem to have an arrogant take on this whole scenario. They have this notion that Barnett will be the Notre Dame’s prodigal son and they’ll wait for him to “sow his oats” talking with other coaches around the nation, only to be welcomed back with open arms when he sees the light of his foolish meandering. They say that signing day is a long time off, as if the penitent Barnett will beg to FAX his LOI to Notre Dame. Personally, I hope Barnett stays on the west coast because he fits the Oregon offense much better than offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s at Alabama.
I have a good friend who loves to kayak on white water rapids at certain locations that are accessible to parking nearby. He goes with other kayakers and finds a mellow part in the water just above the place they do their stunts and practicing. This is usually done on the down river side of a large car or house-sized boulder.
The rock that is submerged under the surface of the swift-moving water creates a wave that sometimes has a negative to slow reverse flow at the “T.” This is great for practicing the skills one needs to navigate a stretch of river that challenges the kayaker with higher-classified rapids (ranking rapids from class I to VI with VI not runnable).
So, my friend had trouble for a long time keeping his kayak upright in the wave. Just when he thought he had the hang of it, he would flip. Fortunately, he knows how to flip back upright with the Eskimo roll maneuver; however, if he did that too many times, he would get too tired to keep trying.
An observant friend sensed his frustration and gave him a tip that has helped my friend immensely with his skills and confidence. He was told that as soon as you turn the nose of the kayak toward the rock, facing upstream, focus on the submerged boulder. When you have that one part of the rapid that is steady and constant in focus, you always know where you are and you will be less likely to flip. From then on he found it much easier to surf the wave and do some spins.
I mention this because with kayaking, to flip is not necessarily a good thing when you are in the middle of a class IV rapid trying to dodge house-sized boulders and massive suckholes that can take down a kayak within a second’s time.
Similarly, with college football recruiting, to flip is not necessarily a good thing either when the potential game-changing blue-chipper who had previously committed to your favorite university decides that the system doesn’t really fit his type of play.
Oregon doesn’t have to look very far back to recall the sting of a flip when Budda Baker decided Washington was a better fit in the 2014 recruiting class. This was like the rocks at the bottom of a river that sting the head when a kayaker flips.
Oregon may find itself on the receiving end of a flip if the gold-tier Barnett ends up falling in love with Eugene, the University of Oregon and the coaches. His flip will make a very positive impact on the program adding necessary depth to a vital position.
Oregon may have thought of taking two quarterbacks for the 2015 class if nobody high on their priority list commits. Therefore, if Barnett decides to choose Oregon over everyone else that first Wednesday of February, his great talent will allow the second scholarship to go to another needed position. Duck offensive coordinator Scott Frost has done a really great job getting Barnett to this point — to think seriously about possibly becoming a future Duck.
But, there is that chance that Barnett doesn’t flip and Oregon doesn’t get a high skilled signal caller for the 2015 class. The Ducks may have to go with two quarterbacks and potentially misssout on another athlete that the Ducks could really use on defense or the offensive line. Duck fans should feel good about Barnett due to Duck Territory’s Crystal Ball predictions.
These are the staff members of Duck Territory who sense any new trending leans of the recruits and predict where the athlete will land on signing day. Justin Hopkins, one of the staff, has Barnett’s Crystal Ball on Oregon, which currently is about 94 percent Ducks.
Oregon has some history with flipping athletes in a good way. One of the most exciting days as a Duck fan was signing day for the class of 2011 when the long-time Southern California commit, De’Anthony Thomas, walked to the podium wearing green with a 12-0 on the front of his T-shirt, which represented the record Oregon had that season.
The Robinson twins, Tyrell and Tyree, from San Diego almost flipped away from Oregon during a period after Chip Kelly left for the NFL in 2013, but the rest of the coaching staff were able to reel them back in.
Flipping is just part of recruiting, as it is with kayaking on white water rapids. It’s not always the best sensation to feel the effects of flipping, but having good friends with good tips, the flips will go in your favor.
Top photo credit to Andrew Shurtleff