If anyone omits speed from a brief description of Oregon Football, that person needs to head to the nearest media outlet for a checkup. As far as formalities go, if someone already hasn’t beaten me to it, let’s just forgo any type of waiting and call our beloved University of Oregon, Speed-U. There’s no denying the obvious; Duck Football is built around “getting around the corner,” “making half the defense miss,” and “scoring untouched.”
In Rivals No. 1 Rated Recruit Robert Nkemdiche‘s case, I’ll be sure to add “blistering speed off the defensive edge” to the list of “pace-related” descriptors. The two-way star out of Loganville, Georgia is drawing comparisons to the likes of NFL legends Lawrence Taylor and Bo Jackson. As a junior, Nkemdiche tallied 19 sacks playing defensive end and rushed for 17 touchdowns lining up at running back. The 6’5, 270 lb. monster runs a 4.5 forty. Yes, a 4.5 forty. To call him a once in a generation player would be undermining his talents. Currently, Nkemdiche is thought to have five programs, including Oregon, on his short list. What may come into play significantly is Coach Chip Kelly‘s proven disciplinary style both on and off the field.
“When I look at schools, I start with the coaches and how they discipline their kids. Then I go to the players and (see) how I interact with them, and then I look at how early I can play.”
– Robert Nkemdiche
Check, check, and check. In three years at Oregon, Kelly has stepped up and taken disciplinary action to mold struggling players; As teammates, the Ducks are known as some of the most supportive around largely due to their family-centered mentality; Lastly, let’s not beat around the bush, Nkemdiche could line up for Oregon THIS fall…
Landing Nkemdiche’s blend of speed and power could be a crowning recruiting achievement for Oregon due to the impact that a player with his skill set offers.
While still early in the 2013 recruiting season, Oregon continues to be linked with some of the nation’s fastest prep players. Thomas Tyner, Rivals #1 rated and arguably the fastest running back in the country, committed to extending the long line of speedsters in Eugene; but who else will line up on alongside the vaunted Aloha, OR product? A highly concentrated dose of top-end speed from all areas of the nation has taken notice and, if landed, promises to be one of the fastest recruiting crops ever seen at Oregon.
Wide receiver/athlete Steven Mitchell (4-Star/Mission Hills, CA/Rivals100) is garnering comparisons to current Oregon TAZR De’Anthony Thomas, and for good reason. The 5’11, 170-lb. Mitchell is untouchable in the open field and takes a page out of DAT’s book with seamless cutbacks and breakaway speed (4.5/40). As well, the slashing runner is an excellent student (3.60 GPA) and currently has the Ducks as his “number one school” and plans to attend Oregon Junior Day.
Wide receiver Devon Allen (4-Star/Phoenix, Arizona/Rivals250) may be the next Jeff Maehl in waiting. Standing at 6’1, 190 lbs., Allen is almost a mirror image of the “Maehlman” and could bolster a group of youngsters who have downfield threat capability (4.5/40). Allen possesses excellent return-game mechanics and with added weight, could be a significant cog in Oregon’s machine. Currently, Allen does not have an Oregon offer, but that could change with a solid senior campaign.
Wide receiver Shelton Gibson (4-Star/Cleveland Heights, OH/Rivals250) is simply a homerun threat every time he touches the pigskin (4.4/40). The lanky 6’1, 175-lb. route runner has great hands in traffic and runs laboriously after the catch. Gibson currently has Oregon in his Top-3 destinations for college ball and recognizes, “They just have speed. Everyone on the team has speed, and that’s why I’m looking at Oregon.”
Offensive Tackle Evan Voeller (4-Star/West Linn, OR/Rivals250) is the latest prized recruit to come out of Monmouth County. The behemoth 6’4, 285-lb. Voeller is a mammoth in the trenches and possesses excellent sealing ability in the run game. Oregon has not officially offered but will no doubt do so in the coming months.
With pre-season hype and uncertainty regarding Oregon’s 2012 quarterback depth chart, a signal-calling recruit might offer a slight change of pace for we, the Duck faithful. Sefo Liufau (4-Star/Tacoma, WA/Rivals250) is the latest scrambling passer to take a look at what Oregon has to offer. Extremely athletic and mobile at 6’4, 215 lbs., Liufau towers over his prep line and can instantly read defensive coverages, making him an ideal choice to run Kelly’s zone read. Liufau’s stock started to rise from the recruiting abyss at the U.S. Army Junior Combine, where his large frame and ability to pass on the run caught deserved attention. Still passing relativity under the radar entering his senior season, expect Liufau to show up on Oregon’s short list as his final prep season progresses.
Coach Dana Altman‘s hardwood crew is making waves despite a patchwork roster. As of Tuesday morning, the Ducks sit in fourth place in the Pac-12 with half a game separating third and fifth place overall. A first round bye and Pac-12 Tournament championship title are very attainable goals for this Ducks team. Look for Oregon to make a late-season surge with a birth in the NIT or the Big Dance on the line.
Aiming towards the future, the upcoming 2012-13 season may be the first realization of what a completely overhauled Ducks team looks like. Altman’s squad responded well to the recruiting woe of 5-Star recruit Jabari Brown’s departure from Eugene. Youngster Johnathan Loyd and seniors Garrett Sim and Devoe Joseph elevated backcourt play in the current campaign, but even still, new faces will be needed to supplement the interior going forward.
Shooting guard Nick Wiggins is becoming an interesting possibility for the Ducks as he can score in bunches and has an uncanny ability to get to the rim. The 6’6, 190-lb. shooter is spending his second year in the junior college ranks at Wabash Valley and may join Oregon this winter. Currently, Wiggins indicated that Oregon and wichita state are among the favorites to land his services, and he plans to take an official visit to Eugene once his season ends.
(Disclaimer: Video contains profanity).
There are days where by complete chance, you stumble upon internet gold. At the beginning of the week, I really needed a dose of “internet precious metal.” I was in a terrible mood, had a case of the Mondays, and was seriously considering taking a bat to an oil drum sitting in my backyard to relieve frustration.
Enter Kenjon Barner, mood improvement extraordinaire.
This past November, various media outlets reported an “unbelievable locker room scene” following the Duck’s 53-30 housing of host stanford. Over the previous three hours, Oregon brought the hammer down on a hapless cardinal team and laid andrew luck’s Heisman hopes in a grave never to be heard from again. Now, how does this relate to me? I wasn’t looking for anything particular online, save for some pump-up tunes and a solid Ducks highlight mix, when “Oregon after the stanford game…” flashed across my monitor.
“Well I can’t go wrong here…”
Pure internet gold.
(Disclaimer: Video contains heavy profanity but is nonetheless an enduring testament to our beloved Duck’s relentless drive to win and win well.)
“How the !@#$ do ya’ll feel?!?” – I feel great Kenjon, I feel great!
For up to the minute recruiting news, please visit our friends at DUCK TERRITORY, and look for my latest recruiting update next week, WTD!!!
Mark Flores, a Salem, OR resident, is a Firefighter/Paramedic and an avid Oregon Ducks fan. Prior to the fire service, Flores, a graduate of nearby Corban University, spent over seven years in professional journalism including a stint at the Statesman Journal in Salem and held the position of Sports Editor for the Hilltop News (Corban). A career transition however never dampened his love of writing and FishDuck is now his source to share his love of Mighty Oregon. Flores brings detailed knowledge of Oregon recruiting to the FishDuck team and welcomes your feedback.
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