The University of Oregon football coaches will have one last summer camp before August, when they host the Saturday Night Live recruiting camp on Saturday afternoon, July 29. The exciting part about this camp is it is free and open to the public. That’s right! No charge! The football staff wants to get the word out about this event so the fans can make it successful.
Where Is the Camp Being Held?
The event initially was scheduled to take place at the Practice Fields Complex. However, due to the amount of interest and positive buzz, it has been moved to Autzen Stadium. This proves how great the Oregon Ducks’ fan base is. Parking is free at the stadium. The parking gates will open at 3:00 p.m., and the West Gate Tunnel of the stadium will open at 3:30 p.m. Fans will be directed to priority seating upon entering Autzen. (Before 3:30 p.m., the fans are encouraged to tailgate and mingle with fellow fans.)
When Does It Start?
Registration for the recruits is from 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. The fans are encouraged to start entering the stadium when the gate opens at 3:30 p.m. to be sure the entire fan base is there when the players run onto the field at 4:00 p.m. The showcase is from 4:00 p.m. to 6:25 p.m.
What Are They Doing at This Camp?
This is a camp for elite high school football players from far and wide who have serious interest in Oregon. There won’t be any testing (i.e. 40’s, vertical jump, etc.) nor any pads. Individual teaching by position coaches will take place along with individual drills and one-on-one competition (no contact). There will also be some group drills and pass skeleton competition activities (also no contact). The prospects that don’t have scholarship offers yet will be working their tails off to earn one before they leave town.
Why Is This Camp Open to the Public?
“This is our premiere summer recruiting event,” Coach David Kelly tells FishDuck.com. “The fans’ role in recruiting,” he continues, “is very influential.” He says to be sure to get autographs from the “stars of the future” and prove that Oregon has the best fans in the country. “We want this to be a Big-Time summer football recruiting extravaganza!!”
This is an opportunity to “beat” Nebraska before the season even starts. The Friday Night Lights camp held in Lincoln earlier this summer had over 6,700 fans cheering and supporting many of the same prospects coming to Oregon. If Oregon shows more support than the Huskers in the summer, getting a win on the field in September will be all the sweeter.
Who Will Be There?
FishDuck.com has received the list of confirmations. There’s always a chance of last-minute cancellations or even additions, but currently 63 athletes from the classes of 2018, ’19, and ’20 have confirmed. Eleven of the current 15 committed players for Oregon have confirmed that they’ll be there, including long-distance trips from running back Jamal Elliot from North Carolina and defensive end/linebacker Jonathan King from Florida. Traveling all this way proves their commitment to Oregon: these are unofficial visits, so the university does not pay for travel or food and lodging.
Here are some of the big names that the coaches have high interest in, or that could make a significant impact in the future.
There are some questions at quarterback after Travis Jonsen transferred. Now, with only two scholarship QB’s on the roster, Oregon has the leverage to make a nice selling point for any superstar slinger. Three of the seven QB’s planning to attend SNL are in the 2018 class. Jordan McCloud from Florida may have the most potential, and has the only known offer prior to the camp.
Committed RB’s Elliott and Travis Dye will both be there, and there will be two others, both from Nevada. Tawee Walker is in the 2019 class. Ikaikai Ragsdale, in the 2020 class, is coming from Bishop Gorman, the top high school in Nevada. The Oregon staff is developing a relationship early in his recruitment.
There will be wide receivers galore. Athlete commits Braden Lenzy and Tre’Shaun Harrison, both great receivers, will be at the camp. Oregon is also looking at collecting a few more for the next signing period. The main targets this year are long, rangy WR’s, with the exception of the electrifying Jaylen Waddle out of Texas. Most say that Oregon won’t get Waddle out of his home state, but his confirmation to attend SNL puts the Ducks a little bit closer.
Other 2018 WR’s who will highlight the camp are Chase Cota (Oregon, still injured and likely will not participate), Miles Battle (Texas), Michael Ezeike (California) and Isaah Crocker (California). Arjei Henderson is the highest ranked WR attending from the 2019 class. His offer list is very impressive, and he was once committed to Oklahoma. Henderson will be joined by Texas 2019 WR Trejan Bridges.
There will be four tight ends in attendance on the 29th. Spencer Webb is the sole TE committed at a position that needs to build up depth. Teagan Quitoriano may be on “Quack Watch” at camp to join Webb in 2018. Patrick Herbert will hopefully be a future TE in 2019.
The offensive linemen will be a group to keep an eye on at this camp. There will be some great talent showing up. I would love to see Penei Sewell from Utah and Steven Jones from California on the Oregon campus next year. If the staff adds just these two with the others currently committed, Coach Cristobal will be set. These two linemen could compete for starting roles as freshmen.
The bad news is there are only three defensive linemen signed up to be in Eugene in the next few days. The good news is one is already committed (King). King will be joined by fellow Floridian Malcolm Lamar, who has a good friend and high-school teammate on campus already in freshman Darrian McNeal. Lamar would be an amazing asset and come in with the opportunity to break into the two-deep rotation. The third DE is another Bishop Gorman stud, Adam Plant.
Two of the three linebackers that will be at SNL are already committed. MJ Cunningham (Oregon) and Adrian Jackson (Colorado) will be helping JUCO target Bryant Pirtle Jr., get acquainted with the campus.
One key cornerback to watch will be Verone “V3” McKinley III out of Texas. V3 was just on campus a few weeks back with his whole family. (This time only his father will join him.) Two unofficial trips from Texas by the McKinleys in such a short time frame is a good sign for a potential “Quack Watch.”
The four safeties are very exciting and possibly the most talented group overall. The only five-star attendee is Talanoa Hufanga, who is traveling just a few miles south on I-5 to come to camp. Hufanga’s addition to any school would make an immediate impact. He can play receiver really well and even QB, but anyone who has watched his film and seen the way he hits will want him on defense. He has great instincts and the speed to close gaps quickly. It’s great to have his name on this list!
With need of a long snapper after this season, there will be a few on hand for drills.
Who Won’t Be There?
An NCAA rule (which is changing on August 1) does not allow ex-players to interact with recruits on the campus, so don’t expect Marcus Mariota to make an appearance. Don’t let this discourage you from attending this open camp, though. The kids traveling from Florida and Texas and other locations would love to see thousands of Oregon fans showing them the love and support they would get each game day to feel more at home.
This camp is going to be lit! It’s cool! It’s free! Oregon fans need to come and support the future and current Ducks, and the staff that has genuinely reached out to the community. I will be driving down to attend, and would love to shake hands with you all who join me. The fans are the most crucial part of the success of this camp. “If Nebraska can get 7,000, Oregon should get 10,000+!”
Oregon Recruiting Analyst
Follow me on Twitter @buzzbrother2