One of the biggest days in college football is right around the corner - National Signing Day. This year pinned on February 4th, the most highly touted players will make it official as to where they will be taking their talents for 2015-16. Schools have been vying for them for months, sometime even years for top recruits. In the case of the Oregon Ducks, who have been known to develop very low-ranked recruiting classes into top talent over their extended time in college, this year looks to be very interesting.
Obviously, the biggest hole to fill on offense is quarterback, handed down by the Hawaiian sensation himself - Marcus Mariota. With Eastern Washington’s Vernon Adams in the picture, nobody quite knows what to expect. Stiff competition for the starting job will be super athlete Travis Waller from Southern California. The Ducks have already locked down Taj Griffin, Alex Ofodile and Zack Okun, who are all enrolled in classes here for Oregon’s winter term.
While many people think quarterback is the biggest hole on offense, the true question mark is on the offensive line. Mariota stepped in having no experience and flourished in his time as quarterback, largely in part to his O-Line. Long-time starters Hroniss Grasu, Hamani Stevens, and Jake Fisher are now gone, so it pains many to think of who can fill in for those guys. Sure, the Ducks are returning many of their top producers on offense, but everything revolves around that O-Line. Will the Ducks be able to dominate the trenches on offense? We’ll have to wait to find out.
The Ducks have landed arguably the best defensive player in this year’s class, in Canton Kaumatule. This freakish athlete from Hawaii has stepped into stardom over the past few months as scouts believe this guy has sure NFL talent. But Kaumatule can’t do it all by himself. Guys like Arik Armstead, Ifo-Ekpre-Olomu, Erick Dargan and Troy Hill are all vying to play at the next level. Many people worry about making up for all the players on defense who will not be returning next year.
Currently, the Ducks only have nine defensive commits for next season. That number is low, but it still depends on how you look at who they are. The Ducks do have key players coming back next year in players like Joe Walker, Danny Mattingly and DeForest Buckner. The stigma of being a ‘weak’ defense has been thrown around since literally getting ‘thrown around’ against Ohio State. Despite not looking good in their last outing, expect the Ducks to make a strong push on defense next year not only with those returning and but also with those coming in fresh.
At this point, the Ducks have the 15th best recruiting class in the nation according to oregon247sports. With five early enrollees, the Ducks have 16 more on their radar to sign come February 4th. Things change, but let’s hope all goes well for the Ducks; maybe they can sneak in a few surprise signees from other schools as well.
Everything you need to know from now leading up to National Signing Day will be covered here at FishDuck.com.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline