You are as stunned as I am.
We as Oregon fans cannot believe what the Willie Taggart staff is doing with football recruiting, as we are experiencing our own recruiting Nirvana, Valhalla, Duck Elysium or whatever your description for a result often dreamed of, but never thought was possible. Our beloved Ducks have 22 verbals on August 6th, with 11 of them being four or five star players, and a national recruiting ranking between No. 7 and all the way up to No. 1 based upon the recruiting service. For us greybeards … it truly is a dream coming true.
Oregon is closing in on a recruiting record, and it is prudent to know what it is, and how it is measured compared to the past. First–I use the rankings of Rivals.com, as 24/7.com is new at this and does not have a history going back for us to compare. Scout.com is reasonable in their current evaluations, but has years in the past where questionable reports took place due the ownership of that entity by a damn Husky. So Rivals.com is the benchmark that we’ll use with extensive stats going back.
I personally regard it as a great recruiting year when the Ducks sign at least eight players who are rated as 4-star or 5-star at their positions. This does not happen often, as Mark Helfrich had one year of eight of the 4 or 5 star players, but two recruiting crops of only five of these coveted players. Coach Willie Taggart burst on the recruiting scene in just two months pulling in nine of these 4-star or 5-star players at the 2017 Letter of Intent signing day last February, and has eleven already for this year’s signing day in February of 2018?
Let’s look at the recent year-to-year results: (From Rivals.com)
2018: 11 four or five star players currently verballed to Oregon.
2017: 9 signed as four or five star players in Taggart’s first, but abbreviated recruiting season.
2016: 5 in Helfrich’s last recruiting crop.
2015: 8 signed, but have lost Kirk Merritt, Canton Kaumatule, Travis Jonsen and Zach Okun from this class already.
2014: 5 signed.
2013: 8 signed.
2012: 10 signed.
2011: 10 signed.
2010: 11 signed.
2009: 4 signed.
2008: 8 signed.
2007: 12 signed out of a class of 29 total.
2006: 1 signed as a four or five star player.
2005: 3 signed.
So the surprise is that it was not Chip Kelly having the best year using my criteria, but that it was Coach Mike Bellotti in 2007 when Kelly was just brought on-board as the new Offensive Coordinator. So there are six months left in the 2018 recruiting season and Oregon only needs to acquire two more 4 or 5 star players to beat the record?
I think the record is going to be beaten … big-time. (Ya-think?)
Of course the question becomes how much room is left and who the Ducks are still courting. It is rumored that Oregon has room left in the 2017 class and if a few of the signees will graduate early and sign in December–they count toward 2017, with the 25 allowed to sign as 2018. This total number being tossed around is 28 or 29 total scholarships that could be granted by our beloved Ducks.
That only leaves six or seven openings; what are the remaining needs for Oregon?
Obviously the Ducks need a quarterback for this signing date, but all the most attractive candidates are currently verballed to other teams. Can Taggart’s staff flip Cameron Rising (4-star) from Texas, Colson Yankoff (4-star) from the damn Huskies, (who have another four star QB verballed as well) or Quincy Patterson (3-star 6’4″ 232 phenom) from Virginia Tech? Oregon needs one bad, and that is a lot of time for Willie Taggart to work his magic.
Oregon needs another defensive lineman or two, an inside linebacker, another corner, and from there we have players interested in Oregon that the Ducks would take in a heartbeat regardless of previous verbals at the position.
An obvious player is 5-star athlete Talanoa Hufanga from my Alma Mater, Crescent Valley High in Corvallis as he enjoys his visits to Eugene, but has not pulled the trigger yet. He is an Uber-athlete who could play a ton of positions at Oregon, although I would assume we would see him on defense where he could impact Oregon the most if he verballed.
At receiver, the massive 6’4″ Devon Williams wowed everyone at The Opening in July, and is someone who can alter games, as can Jaylen Waddle, who is more DAT-sized, but simply astonishing with his skills, as demonstrated at the recent Saturday Night Live event at Autzen.
So as I am dreamily going into recruiting La-La land–I invite you to give your guess as to how many total Oregon will sign, and how many of the coveted 4 or 5-star players you see the Ducks finishing with?
We are closing in on an Oregon record, and the future could not look brighter. Let’s soak it up and have some fun with it!
“Oh how we love to learn about our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove