Oregon’s Recruiting SHOT Heard ‘Round the Pac-12

The title of this article isn’t meant to be phony; it really is true. 10 other conference members heard the “swoosh” sound of Duck feathers flying by them in recruiting … and they are whipping their heads around, looking towards Eugene and saying, “WTF?”

Oregon is ahead of all of them but USC in Willie Taggart’s first recruiting season!

Sure, I know about some players who slipped away from Oregon in the 24 hours before signing day, but it does not change the truth, the reality of what Oregon achieved in this recruiting season. As you know, I use the Rivals.com rankings for the reasons covered in yesterday’s article. Looking at the final listing of 2017 Oregon signers reveals a total of nine 4- or 5-star players who decided to come join the Ducks.

Perspective is needed as this is the fourth best ranking ever achieved by Oregon in any recruiting class!

Willie Taggart is taking aim at this conference and beyond.
From GoDucks.com video

Oregon has had twelve, eleven, and ten 4– or 5-star players sign in past years; that is it. This year’s class put Oregon second in the entire conference with a national ranking of 18th from Rivals.com. Remember that the Mark Helfrich staff that I endorsed for the longest time brought in classes of five, eight, and five 4- or 5-star players to the Ducks in their years, as I consider eight to be a damn fine year in Oregon recruiting. This top-4 recruiting class in all of Oregon’s history was achieved in seven weeks …

That is insane.

The Huskies are looking up to Oregon … again.

Washington knew they were back, and “Oregon was in their rightful place again — bowing down to the Huskies.” I’ve had more than one of their fans bluster that at me, and how I had to know that this streak of Oregon over Washington wasn’t going to last forever (well, a dozen years for Husky fans must have felt like forever).

Yet on all three recruiting site rankings, Oregon is ahead of the Huskies in the year of their Playoff berth! How can that be? Washington stomped the spirit, the will, out of the Ducks at Autzen this year … why don’t the Ducks just give up and DIE?

Because Willie Taggart wants to win a National Championship, and this is his first step toward that goal. The Huskies were simply in the way.

Coach Taggart is feeling some pain? That’s probably Rich Rod….

Rich isn’t happy…
From azcatszone.com

Rarely does karma work out for our beloved Ducks like it did this recruiting season. You see, it was rumored that Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez consulted for Oregon’s opponent prior to a major bowl game, showing them how to beat the Ducks. Oregon has had “flips,” or players de-commit from their verbal pledge to Oregon and sign with other programs, but the team in green has never put the hurt on a fellow conference opponent in recruiting like they did to the Wildcats this year.

It was bad enough for the Wildcats to have a superb defensive tackle in Austin Faoliu, and tremendous athlete Darrian McNeal, switch their verbal from Arizona to Oregon. But to see their Parade All-American quarterback (Braxton Burmeister) jerked out from under them, and feel the burn of a signing-day flip by Offensive Linemen Cody Shear to the Ducks?

Four players in one year? Rich Rod has got to be throwing darts at Willie Taggart’s picture or stuffing pins into a WCT voodoo doll!

The Bedrock of Oregon? Three-Star Players!

The foundation of the team, and majority of players at Oregon, has always been 3-star players. These guys have beaten so many teams in the last eight years, and a number have turned into 5-star performers for our beloved Ducks. What is interesting is looking at the schools who offered many of these 3-star players who signed with Oregon for 2017:

  • Austin Fauliu offered by: Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan State
  • Cyrus Habibi-Likio offered by: Utah, Washington State, USC
  • Daewood Davis offered by: Nebraska, Miami, Penn State
  • CJ Verdell offered by: Wisconsin, Nebraska, UCLA
  • Jordon Scott offered by: Florida and Tennessee
  • Darrian Felix offered by: FIVE SEC schools! Auburn, Tennessee….
  • Popo Aumavae offered by: Michigan, USC, Washington, UCLA

Quite a few programs that have beaten the Ducks on the field or in the 2017 recruiting rankings offered and recruited coveted 3-star players that Oregon succeeded in securing. There are so many “foundation” players in this class that will impact future games, and their leadership will be felt by so many on the team.

Unusual Team Unity from this Recruiting Class

What a leader already!
From Video

The four defensive backs who wanted to attend college together (Deommodore Lenior, Nick Pickett, Jaylon Redd, and Thomas Graham) established a pattern of communicating early and often with other potential teammates to help recruit and bring them to Oregon. To read of Popo Aumavae driving from Stockton, California and picking up Cyrus Habibi-Likio in Sacramento to travel all the way to Eugene to help recruit other prospects on their own dime? That is simply unheard of, and speaks to the unity and character of these new Ducklings.

Speaking of Cyrus … he was instrumental on social media and was burning up the phone lines talking to other recruits to bring them to Oregon. The rumor is that he spent two hours on the phone with a key recruit on the day the player was making a decision on which school to sign with — and Cyrus turned him to the Ducks! (Is that a future coach?)

Elite Talent Manifests Early….

How many times have we watched this at Oregon? A player who is highly touted shows us in his first couple games the talent he possesses (Reuben Droughns), or another who is overlooked during recruiting demonstrates superior talent from the outset (Patrick Chung). I recall the open fall practice a few months ago, when we witnessed the emergence of a 3-star freshman quarterback (Justin Herbert), who had barely been at Oregon two weeks and moved up the depth chart to the No. 2 position before ultimately unseating the starter.

Both of Oregon’s Coordinators have been Head Coaches.
From Video

It doesn’t just pertain to players; we just saw the recruiting savvy these coaches have after being assembled in such a short time. You don’t see results like that from anyone, and this feat of nine 4 or 5-star players is better than any class by Helfrich and better than all but one of Mike Bellotti’s classes. What Willie Taggart’s staff achieved in seven weeks is simply extraordinary.

I will make a prediction right now. Willie Taggart will beat the recruiting record of twelve 4 or 5-star players in a single class, and it will be done by a wide margin; maybe even next year! This group of coaches has recruiting talent unlike any previous staff at Oregon, and we just got a taste of it.

“Oh how I am going to love recruiting by my beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (FishDuck)
College Football Analyst/Writer for FishDuck.com
Eugene, Oregon

Top Photo from GoDucks.com Video

We will be starting the FishLetter again in the near future, so sign up in the upper left of the site so you don’t miss our articles when they become published and get some of behind-the-scenes commentary that I will not publish. (It only takes a minute and I never sell the information) And post the articles on your favorite Social Media sites below! Charles Fischer

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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...

56 Responses

  1. worldwidewebfoot says:

    Unbelievable! If Coach Taggart keeps this up, the Alumni will raise a statue to him next to the Pioneer Father.
    Good for him, good for Schill and Knight making this happen, and God Bless the University of Oregon.

    • And WCT will deserve it for attracting a staff and raising the recruiting bar as never before!

      • SOD says:

        Sometimes you don’t get your first choice, you get the RIGHT choice. We won the lottery with Dana Altman. I think we may have duplicated that feat with Coach T.

        • That IS amazing how it works Still Old Duck…..and we are very fortunate for it to have resulted as it did. It goes to show how recruiting–whether players or coaches is not an exact science, and hard to truly predict.

          But damn…we came out good on this one! (High five to Rob Mullens for this!)

  2. Notalot says:

    Regardless of the number of total wins by Ducks Football over the coming next few years a price will be paid for the past 3 year’s foibles. But rejoice fellow Ducks, because the page was turned by Willie Taggart & Co.! The coaches have the juice and skills to lead us back into Top Ten rankings and re-entry to the NC discussions. It may take a few short years, but it’s coming. #dosomething!

  3. MarcTheDuck says:

    Great article, Charles. And, yes, this was really an amazing job of getting their act together in a very short time frame, by our new coaches, and pulling down a unanimous Top20 class. I can’t wait to see how Coach WilTag and his staff coach the team in real live game situations. I am tempering my expectations a little, though, for this first year. For a defense that was at the rock bottom of Div. 1 it’s a long way up to being a good defense. I think the coaches will get them up in the mid range, and I think our offense is going to be really good, but I’m not going to run around expecting to win the Pac12 North this first year – just see really good progress and win most of our games (8 would be good) and go to a good bowl game (that, I hope is not expecting too much in this first year).
    BTW, Charles… there was one particular 3 star guy recently who now has a building named after him…

    • Ha! Yes he was a 3-star Marc, but that was too obvious; I was pointing it out among the current recruiting class.

      I will be predicting our season in the future…but I am a touch more optimistic about the defense; the talent was NOT that bad. The coaching was.

  4. zane says:

    Great Article. Willie and staff did an extremely great job putting together this class in a short amount of time. They got the guys they wanted. I am extremely excited to see what they can do next year. That being said I am not going to ignore the fact that half of the 4* (not going to say 4-5* because no 5 stars signed) recruits in this class where recruited and committed before current staff. In my opinion Oregon lost out on as many 4 star recruits as Willie and company brought in and even a couple 5*. This statement wasn’t to take away from what current staff accomplished because some were probably on purpose, and others simply because of the situation that they were put in. I just believe Mark and staff were going to quietly have one of their better years.

    As for the rest of the Pac-12 – I smell the old Bellotti Stoops rivalry starting up. Also I don’t think Stanford believes Oregon had a better class, or that Oregon did better on the recruiting trail. We’ll have to prove that on the field. They received more 4-5* recruits, they are also limited by some academic restrictions, I think they for the most part got the guys they wanted.

    My only disappointment in this class is NW recruits Oregon missed out on. I hope Willie and company build fence over the next year.

    Go Ducks

    • Like you….I am pleased with what was done in seven weeks, and see areas to improve, and I believe Willie will solve those issues once he gets some time.

      I look forward to a future article about the coaches…my impressions of what I have seen. I think I have some impressions that the other media have not reported.

  5. Michael Ostrom says:

    Oregon has a talented, young 2-Deep on offense. Do you ever remember this much Defensive talent in an Oregon recruiting class?

    • Only when we brought in Thurmond, Chung, and Ward (as a walk-on in the beginning) did we have a defensive backfield in a class that could approach this one.

      I do not recall if Jarius Bird was part of that class; if he was then this class is similar, and hopefully comparable considering what the last class of loaded DBs produced.

      I love Jordon Scott; a perfect Nose Tackle for what we need in the 3-4 defense!

  6. ricols says:

    I was crying in my beer when the Ducks lost to the dawgs and beaves…but as it turned out it was a blessing in disguise. We are no longer stuck in decades of promotional-ism (except CK). It’s a breath of fresh air.

  7. John McDonald says:

    Just learned that Dameyune Craig was fired at LSU. I wonder how this affects his $600,000 buyout.
    Taggart should be all over this immediately. He Would complete the “Dream Team” of the Oregon coaching staff.I presume he would be hired as QB’s and WR’s coach and be Co-Offensive Coordinator responsible for the passing attack. He is also and ace recruiter. It would be a dream come true if Oregon is able to snag him.

  8. Platypus says:

    I was crying in my beer when the Ducks lost to the dawgs and beaves…but it was a blessing in disguise! It brought us out of decades of promotional-ism ( except for CK) and into the next phase of transforming Oregon football into it’s rightful place…having a dawg at our feet.

    • Ha! I like your view of the world…of when things are “right.”

      We are going to see Oregon football take a step AHEAD of what Chip did, (eventually) if this staff remains intact for a few years!

  9. dunkonyerhed says:

    I was thrilled to see this class come in, not only because of the stars but because I think this class could far exceed its billing. Players such as CJ Verdell, George Moore and Nick Pickett are (imo) undervalued. And even 4 star, 1st team All American Braxton Burmeister hasn’t been given full credit. Akili Smith raved about him and his HS production is absolutely off the chart. Quite the luxury to have for your point guard.

    Like you, I was also thrilled to see Oregon finish ahead of UW in all three major ranking services. I read a couple of the UW sites to see what their fans had to say. It was amusing to read one writer attempt to dismiss the Ducks as already having cultural issues and compare it to the slow and steady approach of Petersen. They almost seemed pleased with their second place finish to Oregon.

    Also like you, I think 2017 was only a foretaste. The 2018 class is going to be a lot of fun.

  10. Gary McAuley says:

    There are statistics, damn statistics and then there is recruiting stars and ratings.

    Huskies and UCLA only took in 18 recruits each, and in the twisted world of recruiting they are ranked below Oregon even though their star average was higher than Oregon.

    Stanford only brought in 14 recruits with an astounding star average of 3.93 (10 of the 14 were 4 or 5 stars). But this is ranked below Oregon and its 24 recruits of 3.33 average.

    Hard to say which of these schools did better…we won’t know for 2 or 3 years.

    • And it goes both ways Gary. For years when Oregon took smaller, but more highly rated averages? We were downgraded compared to those who took 24-28 recruits. Finally it flows OUR way….

    • Jake Woolard says:

      I kind of makes sense. Like would you rather have a 3 star recruit, or no recruit at all? A team could only have 1 recruit, rated as a 4 star, and that would be 4.0 star average. Do any of us believe that is a better class? It’s an extreme example, but the point still stands. Stanford did not have THAT many more 4 star recruits, and 10 fewer recruits overall. If they kept the same number of 4 star recruits and merely added 5 3 star recruits, their average would be lower, but it would be crazy to call that augmented class any worse.

  11. MAITAIDUCK says:

    I like you Charles believe the 2018 class will be TOP 10 because this AS staff will have a full year in which to recruit 2018 and 2019 recruits. I also believe SC will not get all the TOP Southern Cali players like they usually do. I also believe Cristobal will get the best O Line class ever at the UO. This team next year has the talent just on offense to win 9 games and a 10th with a Bowl win. That will get all these highly rated kids that always wanted an Oregon offer to actually come thru and play in Eugene for that REAL CHAMPIONSHIP. It will also actually be refreshing to see our O Lineman knock defenders off the LOS. D Line will also finally get it done at stopping the run. The future will of coarse have to have some supreme EDGE RUSHERS to scare the hell out of opposing QBs. Its gonna be great and thanks again FISHDUCK.

    • Maitai….you and I have drinking the same green Kool-Aid, and I agree with your win projection-potential. Instead of “hoping” about the upcoming season, we are “anticipating” and it is a fun difference.


  12. Michael Oaks says:

    I feel the enthusiasm Charles! I am telling anyone who will listen, watch out for the ducks this year! they are forming a nucleus of players that just might deliver a national championship in a couple of years! The recruiting is just that good! and it rubs off on the players, some of whom, found out right away that this coach means business and is not going to leave them out there on an island without help on the way! Got to love it. It a totally different attitude in Eugene with Willie at the helm! The confidence level is up several ticks! Go Ducks! We know you can fly; we know you can touch the sky!

    • We have a lot better chance of being better immediately with a nearly intact and experienced offense returning, and a defense that will be a ton better with the coaching we will see.

      But for the bigger prizes? You are right…a couple of years. But then look out!

  13. oregonxyz says:

    I wonder if the Ducks can get a veteran TE by way of graduate transfer for next season?

    If a player comes in for the Spring, that would be enough time to acclimate

    • Platypus says:

      Oregon still has a couple of talented TE’s on the team so it’s not an urgent need just one that they need to address next season.

  14. Florida Duck says:

    Just a little reminder for the way things really are….. USC as a rule always has the best recruiting class in the Pac 12. When was the last time those recruiting classes even won their division much less the conference? 4 and 5 star recruits don’t always equal championships. Oregon has always been able to take the 3 and 4 star recruits and we have won conference championships and have at least appeared in two natty’s. I will take Oregon’s talent level over USC’s any day. More heart, more team work, less individual spirit.

    • The talent at USC has been under-coached in the past, and we can agree on that.

      But to contend for a NC…you must have great talent AND great coaching. A team primarily of 3-stars will rarely, if ever get it done and the stats support that.

      Thirteen of the last fifteen national champions had recruiting classes averaging in the top ten, and if everyone is doing the same spread offense, the same no-huddle, and has the same facilities and diverse uniforms….then the best talent and coaching wins.

      When you get to a NC…you aren’t facing a Todd Graham; you are facing Saban, or a Harbaugh, or Urban Meyer, etc. Teams loaded with talent with the top coaches.

      We have to line up equally to play for a ‘Natty; doing it the way we have on superior coaching wins a lot of games…but the coveted NC trophy will not happen. We know this from our experience being it twice in a five year period.

      The teams playing for the NC this year had vastly better talent than Oregon presently….

      • oregonxyz says:

        presently, yes …

        2007, 2010, 2012, 2014 – the Ducks had almost enough talent to win it all

        to get there, it has to be “no weak links at any positions” — and of course, no key injuries

        Ohio St could and did win with Cardale Jones – bama couldn’t do it with Jalen Hurts

        if and when Ducks get a 2 deep on both sides of the line of scrimmage with top grade earth movers – that is when they can really challenge anyone

      • Florida Duck says:

        I agree with what you say, but my point is more about the desire of the players to be a team rather than an individual ego that we see at USC all the time. What goes on in the head of these young recruits is very unusual. I cannot explain why anyone in their right mind would want to attend Baylor with all the crap coming down the pipe. That is a mind set that would not work at Oregon. Now we have seen the recruiting ability of our new staff, next question; can they coach these players, keep them out of trouble, and keep the coaches out of the bars? I am very excited, as is everyone on this site, with the future of Oregon football. I think we picked up some talent that we have never seen here before and especially in these numbers, so I guess we sit back and watch for the results.

        • About the desire? Understood and good point.

          Going to Baylor right now is about the dumbest thing a recruit could do yet an unbelievable 27 recruits signed with them.

          What do they call that….”Natural Selection?”

          If someone does not have the smarts to see that NCAA train coming down the tracks, then that is not a player who could keep up with defensive and offensive plays, or stay out of trouble.

          The judgment is not there.

  15. Duckster says:

    Nice job CF! Hiccup’s aside, Coach T has been everything Duck fan’s could have hoped for. Pulling a top 20 recruiting class out of the dumpster fire that was the 2016 season is nothing short of remarkable. That said, I was pretty clear in my earlier convictions that the excuses given by the previous coaching staff in regards to recruiting were garbage. Find me a better place to experience the spectacle that is College Football than Autzen Stadium on autumn afternoon. Give SC and the Dawg’s their due, but watch your backs fella’s, because under Coach T the Duck’s are coming strong.

    • Well….I do not think the reasons were garbage and we will have to simply disagree.

      Our location so far away from the pocket of talent, and the lack of talent in this state are massive handicaps that are present regardless of the coach, and it does make the job impossible, but much more difficult than a college already located in a metro area with 10 million people such as LA or Houston.

      What do the states of Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oregon have in common? The population ranges from 3 million to 4.9 million (Oregon is at 4 million) but the number of 3 to 5 star players is vastly different. One year Alabama signed 18 total 4 or 5 star players that LIVED IN ALABAMA.

      That is a massive disadvantage to Oregon, as most players want to play closer to home.

      You cannot get the No. 1 recruiter in the nation (Cristobal) on your staff very often, thus I attribute our success to some very talented and unique coaches we now have on board. This is not something that Brooks, Bellotti, or Chip could overcome….it took an extraordinary staff to overcome these natural handicaps at Oregon.

      We need to enjoy this time as how long a potent recruiting staff like this is together is unknown.

  16. KingOfStreitHall says:

    lol…only if you count numbers of recruits…if schools who were limited in recruiting because they retain so many had a class of 24, Oregon would have been back in the pack…this is laughable, as is any rating that factors quantity…star avg should be the overriding factor, and in that the ducks are not “second”…not even close. Classes should be evaluated by quality, and how needs are filled. Not in how schools can pad the roster will nilly.

    • Wrong.

      We presented precisely that argument for years when we had higher quality, but smaller classes signed and we were told that it is the total picture of the class, in terms of SIZE and quality. Now we have one rare class with the size numbers and you are trying to hold it against us?

      Go troll somewhere else.

      • Brian Libby says:

        It’s all about per-recruit star averages. Some classes are big and some are small. If a team has 24 recruits one year and 17 another, it’s not a reflection of the degree of quality talent coming on board. It’s only a reflection of the number of slots available. The two things are distinct: it’s quantity and quality.

  17. David02 says:

    Perhaps this will result in stopping some of those smarmy opinion pieces by writers such as Ted Miller, who
    claim you don’t win national titles with 60K seat stadiums

    • Brian Libby says:

      I think Miller has been an astute and fair-minded writer. He’s had a lot of good things to say about Oregon over the years. And if you look at all the national championship winners of the past 30 to 40 years, he’s right. You’d have to go all the way back to 1990, when Georgia Tech and Colorado shared the title, to find a winner with a stadium capacity below 60,000. Just as we need to continue to improve the caliber of recruits coming to Eugene, so too do we need to create a big enough fan base to make a 59,000-seat Autzen stadium too small. Besides, I’ve been waiting for 15 years for them to expand the north side of the Autzen bowl to match the expansion done after the 2001 season. To me we’re half-way to becoming a true college football powerhouse able to sustain greatness year in and year out, just as Autzen’s half-expanded form indicates.

      • Brian….never have I disagreed with one of the favored long-term writers on FishDuck.com three times in one article–but there is always a first time such as now.

        This is one time that “size does not matter” as winning a national championship is about coaching and recruiting, and not the stadium size.

        As you and I have discussed–Oregon is one of the most popular teams on the U.S. for spectators, and we have a worldwide audience much bigger than usual for a team this university size would have. We can achieve a ‘Natty without increasing the bowl at Autzen.

        That being said? If the recruiting has the jump anticipated, and this staff does what we believe will occur? The winning results from that could propel the interest into a stadium enlargement handling another 15K seats. That would not surprise me….

  18. Brian Libby says:

    Overall I am quite happy with how the recruiting season turned out given Taggart coming into the process with only seven weeks to go. If I were to go strictly by results without factoring in the effect of the coaching change, I’d characterize this class as very good, and an improvement over last year, but still not great or where we need to be to compete for a national championship. Stanford had a per-recruit average on Rivals of 3.93, good for third nationally. USC always recruits well and that’s a given, but they’re at 3.71, or seventh nationally. UCLA is also ahead of us at 3.44 (14th). It’s also very cool that we are dead-even with Washington even though they won the Pac-12 and went to the College Football Playoff last year. Yet ultimately our result in 2017, a 3.33 average, is comparable to two years ago, when both Rivals and Scout scored us at 3.36, and generally comparable to a number of years past. It’s also not quite up to what Kelly was achieving at his zenith recruiting-wise. Don’t get me wrong: given how 2015 was just a year after our national championship game appearance and Mariota’s Heisman, a coach parachuting in with seven weeks to go and basically equalling that is VERY impressive. That’s why I’m hopeful that Taggart can elevate Oregon’s caliber of recruits in future years. But ultimately we have to find a way to get ourselves regular top-10 classes if we want to have a real shot at winning it all.

  19. Brian Libby says:

    Overall I am quite happy with how the recruiting season turned out given Taggart coming into the process with only seven weeks to go. If I were to go strictly by results without factoring in the effect of the coaching change, I’d characterize this class as very good, and an improvement over last year, but still not great or where we need to be to compete for a national championship. Stanford had a per-recruit average on Rivals of 3.93, good for third nationally. USC always recruits well and that’s a given, but they’re at 3.71, or seventh nationally. UCLA is also ahead of us at 3.44 (14th). It’s also very cool that we are dead-even with Washington even though they won the Pac-12 and went to the College Football Playoff last year. Yet ultimately our result in 2017, a 3.33 average, is comparable to two years ago, when both Rivals and Scout scored us at 3.36, and generally comparable to a number of years past. It’s also not quite up to what Kelly was achieving at his zenith recruiting-wise. Don’t get me wrong: given how 2015 was just a year after our national championship game appearance and Mariota’s Heisman, a coach parachuting in with seven weeks to go and basically equalling that is VERY impressive. That’s why I’m hopeful that Taggart can elevate Oregon’s caliber of recruits in future years. But ultimately we have to find a way to get ourselves regular top-10 classes if we want to have a real shot at winning it all.

    • Premise rejected. Sorry Brian.

      We turn to the average per player when we have fewer signers…and can feel good about it as Stanford does this year. But in the past we were downgraded for a lack of the SEC type of large class commitments when we signed those smaller classes.

      Now, for once, we have quality AND quantity, while having one of the nation’s the best punter, and kicker come to us as a two-star (pulling down the averages while not acknowledging the importance to the team in field position and ultimately points) which diminishes the credibility of this year’s average.

      Your premise does not accept the success of a large class attracted, along with the quality.

      For once…when we got it all in a recruiting class…I don’t think we should apologize for the success or downgrade the reality of the achievement. No excuses when we do poorly and no apologies when we do well.

      • Brian Libby says:

        Fair enough, Charles. It’s true that I probably don’t appreciate the value in a class’s size per se. It just seems mathematically misleading when I see classes ranked in a kind of head-to-head comparison and the number of recruits is prized as much as the quality of each recruit. I know Clemson got some of the best players in the country, for example, but only when you rank teams by per-recruit average do they rank highly. Yet I do also know that there are a lot of great players who get rated two or three stars coming out of high school, so it’s inherently an inexact science.

  20. Brian Libby says:


    This graph puts the year’s recruiting effort in context of the past decade. It’s an average of our star ratings on Rivals and Scout.

    • Brian….you know I love your writing and you as a friend…but I do not accept your chart. Scout.com historically is flawed and only those who have been on the boards on a day-to-day basis know what I am talking about.

      The bias against Oregon was not only palpable, but blatant for year after year. We would make jokes about how long it took a Husky verbal to be elevated from 3-star to 4, and an Oregon 4-star verbal to be demoted to a 3-star. on Scout.com….and it happened over and over.

      You simply cannot take the other sites seriously other than Rival. Currently you’ll see that 24/7 gives Oregon FOUR players that are 4 or 5-star or better is all, when Scout has seven and Rivals has nine? That is a credibility-busting fact.

      Keep in mind that I have many friends on eDuck as THAT was the original site I conversed on, and still enjoy the posters there and they are the MONSTER of message boards. At 24/7? They have the best damn recruiting and inside stuff anywhere….and I love their reporting on truly an hour-by-hour basis.

      But Rivals.com has the best recruiting rating of individual recruits and team rankings–and it is not even close.

      Hence my bias, and writing based upon it.

      • Brian Libby says:

        Charles, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying about Scout. You’d know far better than me. But I could show you a Rivals chart that’s largely the same.

  21. oregonxyz says:

    3 star recruits: yes, they lower your star average, but some of them turn into really good players

    and some 4 star guys are busts, and some 5 star guys either get injured or flame out

    so, adding some extra 3 star players not only gives you potential starters, but it also gives you depth and practice squad players

    if a 3 star linemen is huge, he is a worthy project – and if a 3 star skills player is fast, he might be able to contribute somewhere

    a better system than stars is when rivals uses a scale from 5.5 to 6.1

    a 3 star player is from 5.5 to 5.7 – the 5.7 player gets a lot more offers from better programs than the 5.5 guy

    and there are some 4 star guys who are just out of reach of 5 star status – Lenoir in this class

    and then when you sign a 2 star kicker, it lowers your avg – but then that kicker just might win you a natty with a 53 yd field goal at the end of the game

    I think this class has pieces that will do well on the field – lots of them

    there are also missing pieces – like edge rushers and tight ends, but overall, it is a very good start considering the mess of a season that was

    • Oh baby…your two star kicker comment riles me up big-time as you are right and it is so WRONG that the best in his field is not given a high rating?

      Taggart’s comment at the press conference? “I’m glad to have someone who can put it out of the end zone.” Amen!

  22. Matt B. says:

    Charles- you have captured the excitement I have for the Taggart era on paper. Well done! Great write up.

  23. Anthony says:

    Charles, I would like to thank you for your articles. I have recently become a big fan of yours and look forward to the things you share. I’m super excited about what’s going on with this program. I think the dream team of coaches may be complete come next week. I see Coach Craig being the qb coach and Co-offensive coordinator next year. I would be pretty excited with him onboard when you look at the qb’s he has coached at FSU…. Plus he’s another ace recruiter. I was curious on your thoughts about him possibly coming to Eugene???

    • I am trying to contain my excitement about the prospect of Craig being here for the reasons you listed.

      But one thing IS making me wonder about him; he left his Alma Mater where he was Co-Offensive Coordinator, because of a disagreement with Head Coach Gus Malzahn. Stuff happens like that I understand…

      But then LSU lets him citing differences with the new offensive coaching staff at LSU….and that begins to make me wonder if he is tough on the chemistry of a coaching staff for some reason? I have no facts, and nothing to base it but speculation on my part.

      I feel satisfied that Willie will know about it and will make the best decision for the program. He has already done incredibly well with this coaching staff!

  24. Matt Hummel says:

    Great article. The Taggert hiring is absolutely perfect for the evolution of the Oregon brand, time to start pairing our scheme (now copied by everyone) with some real blue-chip talent.

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