Oregon is known as a winning-prone football team in the last decade, and should have no trouble recruiting elite high school players year in and year out. With 10 wins this season, the Ducks have their seventh straight 10-or-more-win season, which is tied for first with Alabama.
The Tide is appealing to football recruits these days because of their massive success with wins and national titles. It would be odd for elite athlete not to at least dream a bit about winning a national championship at Alabama.
However, as a team that longs for its first national title, Oregon has worked hard to be that consistent team that blue chippers want to play for. Yet the Ducks continue finding themselves behind the likes of USC, UCLA and Stanford at getting five-star talent flocking with commits.
Interest has gradually turned toward Oregon over the past five years or so, but it seems slower than expected with such a winning program. The Pac-12 should garner much more respect than what it gets nationally.
So how is the future of Oregon football shaping up right now? Let’s take a look …
Current Recruits Make Oregon Competitive
Oregon has 16 solid commitments now for the class of 2015. The class is filling up, and there is still so much unknown about how many more players the coaching staff will take in.
This staff has great success in taking those perceived to be three-star athletes and making them into solid play-making athletes that reek havoc on the field. Oregon saw something special in that three-star Hawaiian athlete, Marcus Mariota. He’s developed into a player who is an incredible quarterback, and will most likely be talked about for decades.
So, when you see the coaches evaluating talent each year and pursuing some of those three-star prep footballers, the fans should have confidence in their perception. If the staff can make these three-stars into impactful players, the four- and five-star studs are lights out.
Seeing what the likes of Charles Nelson is doing this year, in his freshman year, gives a good cause to cheer when thinking of what the future holds. Hopefully, both Malik Lovette and Taj Griffin will be making an impact on Duck football.
Future Football Commits Keep Fans Guessing
Earlier, it was a possibility that Keisean Lucier-South would choose Oregon for his football career when he made his official visit. Instead, he recently chose to stay closer to home by choosing UCLA. I suppose that USC and UCLA are more prone to get five-star guys than Oregon, but if the Ducks keep beating them, then we’ll take it.
It is confusing to see USC get large numbers of elite athletes every year. Then Oregon gathers the three- and four-star guys and continues to outplay most of the conference each year. If the Ducks started landing those high priority five-star targets, then the staff could elevate the impact made on Saturdays and dominate even more than they do now.
The 2016 class is looking so good right now! It’s uncommon for Oregon to have so many junior commitments this early, and it is encouraging for the future.
Early Enrollment For Recruits
Once the Hawaiian defensive end, Canton Kaumatule, committed and announced that he would enroll early at Oregon, he became the fourth for the 2015 class to say so. Besides getting a head start with their collegiate class loads in the winter and spring, these young men will get the opportunity to participate in spring drills and bond with the upperclassmen.
There are many advantages for early enrollment with football players. They get that early bonding period in the spring. They get more time to learn the complex playbook. They get extra work with the trainers, and they’re able to develop sooner for the fall competition and some serious playing time.
Some lesser-known facts include how it affects the recruiting class they are signed in with. The early enrollees will not actually be counted in the class of 2015. They simply fill in the abandoned scholarships that are left behind from transfers or suspensions. They still count toward the total scholarships allowed for the program, so this does not permit Oregon to go after four additional guys this recruiting cycle.
Sit Back and Enjoy What Happens Now
The Oregon staff will still want to fill the class, which is up in the air as the coaches learn which NFL-eligible players may leave early or stay for their final year or two. This is the big unknown for us fans right now. We are not sure who is staying for another year, which affects the needs of the incoming recruiting class.
Initial speculation was that Oregon would take about 22 athletes for 2015, but this seems to have been reduced to more like 20 due to current players wanting to come back another year. This bodes well for experienced players available to play next year; however, this restricts the 2015 class by shortening the list of potential commits. Oregon may lose out on some talent this year, but overall, it’s not a concern when looking at what has already developed for the class of 2016.
Top photo by Craig Strobeck