Recruiting Reality Hits Old Oregon Fans Hard

USC Recruit

Once Oregon gets consistently into the Top Five…wins major bowls, becomes one of the top winning programs in the nation–and if the Ducks play twice in five years for the National Championship–THEN our beloved Ducks will recruit like the BEST.

Hey you Greybeards. You know who you are in age, and like me, you have thought the above. Heck–I didn’t think it, as I knew it in my bones. Someday….we’ll be there. We have great coaching, great facilities, a sexy brand, and we are winning a ton. We have people in place that I like and believe in, so yeah…someday we’ll out-recruit the LA schools!

That THUD you heard outside the Wednesday night was us older Oregon fans coming back to earth.

Realizing recruiting reality is a bitch, and it hurts.  If we are not challenging the LA schools now (and doing better than a 16th rated class), then I have to be realistic and comprehend that it is never going to happen and to make the best of who we are, and what we have. I’m a big one for counting blessings, and cannot understand the bandwagon fans who are so demanding of our coaches and have so little football knowledge or sense of where a real Oregon fan has come from.

Phil Knight can change facilities, but not geography.

Kevin Cline

Phil Knight can change facilities, but not geography.

Admit it.  How many times have you told yourself as an old timer, “when the recruits realize that ______ can’t deliver at USC/UCLA…then everything will turn our way. No longer will the majority of great talent go to LA to wither away or go to a lower tier bowl when they could have been with a bigger winner in Oregon….yep, they will see.”


Every year the recruiting class in the state of California keeps believing the new guy…that he is going to lead them to great things…that they are going to “win forever” and he will be there to direct the band. No matter what the Ducks do, it seems the next class is duped by the next coach, who although is a great recruiter — is not a great coach. “Young man, Sark and Mora are NOT Bellotti, Chip, or Helfrich!”  (You will see, and the next new LA coach will dupe the next class of recruits.)

So many of these players who sit deep in the depth chart could have played early for Oregon, improved, and become NFL players from the coaching  (as Oregon represented the most players from any college in the Super Bowl)….and they would have been the final pieces needed for a National Championship for my beloved Ducks.

What have USC and UCLA achieved of note in the last two years?  Yet in that time…Oregon has signed 13 players that are four or five stars (, while UCLA has signed 24, and USC has added a gulping 31?  (THIRTY FRICHEN ONE?)  Am I scared of what they will do?  No — they have Sark, but oh the waste of that talent!

Oregon, at times, will have a weakness in a particular area of recruiting as years ago it was the offensive line, then it was defensive line, and currently it is at linebacker. So we have opportunities for someone of great talent at LB to come in and play soon for Oregon and be in major bowls and championships — now. USC, meanwhile, has three other four and five star LBs verbally committed or signed while this recruit is deciding?? Yep…the recruit gets sucked into the Trojans and announces for them during the day Wednesday at a press conference.  Too bad for him AND us, and how many times has that song played for us old Oregon fans?  All parties lose.

It sounds pretty bitter, and for many older Duck fans…this new reality sucks, but rings true.

A perfect fit at Oregon...

John Sperry

A perfect fit at Oregon…

What we attracted to Oregon in recruiting this year is incredible and there are so many players I am excited about. I believe the trenches had the best single year EVER and we can credit HC Mark Helfrich for that.  He has been relentless in pursuing talent, offering early, and giving coaches like Steve Greatwood the ability to offer on who they believed in and when they wanted. The result? Greatwood had an amazing offensive line class wrapped up by JULY 1st.  Holy Crap, that is great recruiting!

Yes…but it is also superior management skills by Coach Helfrich; he knows who has been doing this a long time and gave him the freedom to perform.

There are so many things to like about this class…so why the issue, Charles?  Because we could have used a few more…the extra pieces that win championships, but they were wasted going to Cal, UCLA, or USC and they will sit on the bench or not be coached the same as in Eugene. We have something special here, and I just want to see it completed.

But Greybeards….did you feel the same as I after our loss in the recent National Championship? I did not feel the same fan-depression as when we lost to Auburn. Why?Because this time I believe we will be back, and we will win it regardless of where the majority of southern California recruits go, and yes, we will do it the hard way.

The Greybeards know I’m right.

FishDuck Forever

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Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...

  • SoCal Talent Group

    OK OK.

    Alright alright.

    Enough already. Let’s wait until we all watch the practices and determine the depth chart.

    Study the practice film. That’s all we’re asking!

    • maddog48

      Just who gets to watch the practices? Not me, and I would guess not you or any other fan.

      • Actually Jim, we have a “stealth” troll or two who come by to post weird stuff, and while that is not enough to get blacklisted in the past as they seem to know my tolerance point, that is going to change. I have to play bop-a-mole more often than I would like.

        But SoCal? (And nice name for the subject at hand) I got your IP address and this is your one warning. Any more odd comments and I toss you, as I am no longer amused by you and your friends’ antics. Real fans here (Like Maddog) want to actually discuss Oregon football. Take your shtick to another site.

        • miketheduck

          My sentiments exactly.

        • nanalovesducks

          Thank you.

  • SeattleDuck

    Oregon has a lot of upward ability for its brand and reputation. For players, Oregon can now go out and recruit the next DAT, LaMichael, or Mariota, and as it continues to get high level players then recruiting will come easier and easier.

    I would advise fans to not get on this bandwagon that recently formed for “This is as good as it’s going to get.” Oregon just won it’s 3rd Rose Bowl ever and had its first Heisman winner. Oregon fans have to keep up the intensity, not let their foot off the gas.

  • TJ111

    A couple of points about the Socal teams’ recruiting-
    1. They bring in a lot of star talent, but often these stars compete against each other, and when one gets the idea he’s not going to play – he transfers
    2. Of course the Socal kids want to play at home – they’ve grown up with these schools and worn their gear forever – as we all know – team loyalty is a hard emotion to ignore. It takes a kid looking for something else – the Oregon Way – to overcome it – like DAT
    3. Just because a high star kid wants to look at Oregon doesn’t mean Oregon should offer. Oregon has to be comfortable that the attitude will fit the program. We want the Marcus Mariota’s not the Cliff Harris’s.

    Oregon will get its share of talent – as the winning and program integrity continue – Oregon will add “Tradition” to its attractions for the kids. It’s a long, never ending process. Have a little faith.

  • SanClementeDuck

    I graduated in ’78 on the 5 year plan, so I guess I qualify for the “greybeard” moniker. The Ducks have come sooo far since those dark days of the 70’s that to me it’s all good now. The program is in good hands, and we will be back to the Natty soon. J.J. Watt tweeted on National Signing day that “it’s not all about how many stars you have or how many cameras show up at your signing. It’s what you do next.” The Ducks seem to find the right talent to fit the team regardless of stars. MM was a 3 star. Scooby Wright a 2 star. Seems like the stars may not always predict the heart.


      Love that stuff and JJ Watt is exactly right and us grey beards can understand with this Generation why our staff didn’t WASTE time on Cowart or Josh Sweat or CeCe as in look at these fools with thier Head Games. We got Canton who will end up being better than all 3 of those guy’s put together and don’t be surprised if he starts at NT or Armsteads spot. Oregon doesn’t recruit kids that play these I’m better than you types of players and thought it was really interesting that they follow what a lot of these kids do on ” TWITTER ” as in they will not recruit a kid that goes on joy rides with his twitter account. This staff is like a good WINE they get better with age. GO DUCKS and here’s a prediction I don’t think Adams comes to Oregon and if Waller gets on campus soon like he’s supposed to he will start at QB in the fall. He’s got the talent to be really good in this offense.

  • goducks58

    Yep, you nailed this exactly Charles. This recruiting class, while outstanding, cannot compete with the likes of SC and UCLA, not to mention Alabama, FSU, Ohio State, et al… The fact is that recruiting to a small town and small fan base in “wet weather” Oregon will always lose us some players. Plus the hotbeds of high school football (Southern CA notwithstanding) will always be in Texas and the Southeast, which adds the travel factor for friends and family. If the Ducks don’t get a top 5 class after manhandling defending champion Florida State and making it to the CFP Championship game, then us old grizzled fans have to know it will most likely never happen. The good news is that Oregon gets the most of their recruits (2nd only to Wisconsin in the past decade) and continues to be in the national picture, despite what the recruiting rankings say. And I’ll just have to be OK with that.

    • And you sir….have come to the same conclusion as I. If this is “only” as good as it gets? That’s a lot of winning, and I too can live with that.

      Hey Scott,

      One factor I did forget about was “bump” that occurs in recruiting in the year AFTER the big success. Our best recruiting class (2011) came after our appearance in the NC from the 2010 season. My prosaic approach may be a bit too dour for 2016 recruiting!

      • goducks58

        Yes, I do think we will always have a bit of an uphill battle, but this is heady stuff. I will have to disagree with you on one point, Charles… The 2011 recruiting class followed the 2011 appearance in the National Championship vs Auburn. (Yes, it was the 2010 season but same year of the class…) Ergo in my estimation, this recruiting class “should have” enjoyed a bump into the top 10. The lack of closing players like LB Josh Smith and OL Uluave (not to mention LB Houston and DL Rasheem Green) kept us out of that top group.

        • MAITAIDUCK

          The funny stuff about this new generation of DUCK Fans like some of the arrogant ones over on the 247 site crack me up like they think they know Football and I have to laugh at their IGNORANCE. They weren’t even a thought when a good season was when Reggie Ogburn played QB in the Option offense and we had a 2nd Team Pac 10 NT named Vince Goldsmith who was all 5 ft 11 and 230 lbs and nobody could block him. These young fans make me laugh so hard at the way they think! Love my age group as in those were the real Football players.

  • OldDuck67

    Oh yes! During my four years at UO a “good season” meant splitting with the Washington schools, not losing to Oregon State (ties were okay), and winning the Homecoming game (seems like we scheduled Idaho or Air Force). Folks, the Good Old Days are now.

  • Gary McAuley

    Oregon finished 2nd in the country with the 18th best talent (per The other 3 play off teams all had top 5 talent (based on 4 year average of recruiting).
    Compare this to LSU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, which all have a 4 year Top 10 average in recruiting. Yet none of the 3 could even finish in the Top 20.
    Truthfully Oregon gets a lot of bang out of their talent. Always have, and hopefully always will.


    Oregon still gets more out of ALLEGED LESS CLASS in STARS while I say who are most of these people who make this star system and more than not fail to become these great College players. 3 star players are usually players that haven’t had the coaching to coach them up higher in rating. Think about the guys as in Shay and that other goofous that say who gets drafted 1st through 32 in the 1st round of the Draft as in Mel Kiper who never played a lick of Football in his life and yet these same people still think size matters at certain positions. If your a CB that’s 5 ft 8 you cannot play the position in the NFL yet players like Darrell Green disprove these so called experts every year. Look at Russel Wilson this young guy is Fran Tarkenton reincarnated! Oregon will now always recruit no lower most of the time than 15th in the country. If you do this consistently with great Coaching eventually you will get to the promised land. Do not dispair and I am one of the old timers Chuck that Oregon will get it done sooner rather than later. I still believe that Oregon would of WON if they would of had Brown, Addison, Carrington, Allen, Tyler Johnston, Ifo that’s 6 I think out of 8 starters that Oregon’s offense and Defense was missing for the championship and yet only 1 of those players played in the ROSE BOWL and kicked FSU whose classes always are no lower than 5th ranked. ALL of this mumbo jumbo crap is just not true about ranking. Oregon if Dennis Dixon wouldn’t of tore up his knee against Arizona would more likely have WON its 1st Championship and I whole heartedlly believe Chip cost us in 2011 against Auburn with being stubborn in his play calling. In reality do not be surprised if Oregon gets right back in 2016 as 1 of the 4 teams. They are that loaded right now! Great recruiting by this staff.

  • Michael Rand

    Let’s see. I’m 18 and I have to chose between Eugene, San Francisco or LA. Does anyone really think Eugene has a chance???

  • Jerry C

    The recruiting services have the Ducks way behind USC and UCLA in a virtual tie with Stanford, the Huskies and the Sun Devils. This was a pretty typical class, similar to the ones that got us to some good bowl games in the past. The key is holding on to our guys. A fifth year three star can be a fine player.

  • Billduckwater


    A very nice column, and it provides much-needed perspective. It is indeed frustrating that the Ducks seem to come up just short at one position each year. But I am heartened by the very solid signings on the D-line this year. Canton Kaumatole projects as a future star, and hopefully the key part of what may be the best D-line Oregon has ever had, right up there with the 2010 team. I just hope one or two of our new interior D-line signees can bulk up and be a Gilbert Brown or Haloti Nata-sized player, taking two O-linemen to block, a run-game stopper, freeing up the LB’s to stop up the outer running lanes.

    And right-on Maitai… As a double-duck from the way-back also (’77 and ’82) i was in Autzen for my first game as a frosh in ’72 and had to watch the Huskies beat the bejesus out of an under-manned Ducks team (I think the score was 66-0). It didn’t get much better under Don Read. Seeing Reggie Ogburn juke his way downfield in Rich Brooks’ triple-option offense from ’79-’82 and lead us to six-win seasons was a revelation. So, fast-forwarding to the present day: winning the conference four out of six years, wins in two out of three Rose Bowls, and two NC appearances, I’d say without a doubt the program has reached true ‘elite status.’ Pretty heady stuff. Yes, losing in Dallas was tough, but a third time should be the charm.