While the 2014 college football season is currently reaching the height of recruiting for the class of 2015, Oregon also has interesting features in planning for the 2016 class. There will be two high school juniors in attendance for the Stanford game on November 1st. With two commits already in this class and potentially one more announcing by the end of the weekend, Oregon is going somewhere they’ve never been.
Most of the time for Oregon, only one — or less — potential player will commit before January of his high school junior year. In fact, the last time for this statement to be false was back in 2002. That was when the Ducks received two early commitments from non-rated local athletes, Andy Collins from Zillah, Washington, and Shawn Perkins from Pendleton, Oregon.
Oregon did get an early commitment years later in 2010, when local Eugene product Curtis White, a five-star defensive end committed in his junior year. Only two other times have the Ducks gotten juniors to commit before New Year’s Eve, and both times they were from Oregon. In 2011, it was Tyson Coleman, the four-star safety from Lake Oswego. The last one was in 2013, when the Aloha High School running back standout in Beaverton, Thomas Tyner, made his decision to be a future Duck.
On the cusp of entering November, two commitments have rivaled the title-holding year for the most junior football commits before January. However, there is already one unique difference in the class of 2016. Only one of the commitments is a kid from the Pacific Northwest. That’s Brady Breeze, the silver-tier safety out of Portland. Recently the Ducks received the great news about their future quarterback, Seth Green, who is a gold-tier athlete from Minnesota. From Minnesota! Can you believe it?
Now, according to Matt Prehm on Duck Territory, another prospect will join Brady Breeze, who is making an unofficial visit for the Stanford game. That would be a highly-sought-after wide receiver from Memphis, Tennessee, who is traveling with his father to Eugene. Dillon Mitchell recently used Twitter to announce his top eight choices: Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon and Tennessee.
What’s humorous is that Mitchell has yet to receive an offer from Oregon. Receivers coach Matt Lubick was not willing to give an offer to Mitchell without meeting face-to-face. Lubick told Mitchell that it wouldn’t be until a month or two down the road, when he could make it out to Tennessee. Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for Mitchell, so his dad said that if Lubick couldn’t come to Memphis, then they should go to Lubick.
So, Mitchell’s tweet about deciding this week conveniently comes in time for him to make a trip to Eugene with his father. At that time, Lubick will officially offer Mitchell a scholarship. Boom! There you go!
The pieces are coming together so nicely for a class that Oregon traditionally doesn’t focus on. The recruiting efforts from this new head coach and staff really see the big picture, and make the future a high priority. Oregon’s new style of recruiting has made some serious waves across the national landscape of college football.
If having Breeze and Mitchell visiting Eugene isn’t exciting enough, some 2015 players will be making official visits this weekend. Two of them have committed to the Ducks in the likes of offensive lineman Zach Okun and tight end Jacob Breeland.
According to Justin Hopkins of Duck Territory, two great defensive ends will also be visiting Eugene for the Stanford game. Platinum-tier Keisean Lucier-South is a speed rusher around the edge, and one that Oregon can use as another defensive weapon. The second visitor is a gridiron star that Coach Pellum would love to have — gold-tier Canton Kaumatule. His body mold is similar to current star Arik Armstead. How exciting is it to have both these guys on campus the same weekend!
The last two prospects are offensive players with interests in the Ducks. Oregon says that they will recruit only one more offensive lineman … and his name is Semisi Uluave. Uluave is teammates with Kaumatule in Hawaii. There is a suggestion that these two may be a package deal, so yellow and green fans are hoping for the two to have good vibes from their visit, and go back to the islands knowing that the University of Oregon is their school of choice.
Finally, there is a rumor spreading around on Duck Territory that a Texas linebacker is not making his official visit to Ohio State this weekend. It may have been said that Malik Jefferson will substitute that visit for an Oregon visit during the Stanford game. Jefferson’s head coach has publicly said that Jefferson is not going anywhere this weekend, but for a staff member of 247Sports.com to mention such a thing makes me wonder.
Besides, the Ohio State fans are basically saying they don’t want him because of all the linebacker depth they are expecting. Well, Mr. Jefferson, be assured that this group of fans would heartily welcome you — the Ducks have a special ability in sniffing out talent.
With hopes of a great, successful weekend with the Stanford game and the official visits, Oregon is looking beyond what’s right in front of them with the potential 2015 commits. The coaching staff is traveling down uncharted territory, not only by gearing up for more than two early juniors commits … but also by setting the stage for huge future recruiting classes.
Top photo by Kevin Cline