“Building a Juggernaut” Part One: The Dontre Wilson commitment

Chris Charbonnier FishWrap, FishWrap Archive 13 Comments

Dontre Wilson declaring himself a Duck during an all-star game Friday

Last night, the Ducks landed a huge commitment from RB Dontre Wilson, out of DeSoto, TX. A unanimous four-star across all four major recruiting services, Wilson is one of the best backs in the country. He picked the Ducks over Ohio St. and Texas, but also held offers from the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas A&M and West Virginia among others.

Wilson is dynamite, a threat to score with every touch of the ball. He’s a playmaker with elite speed, vision and the elusiveness to be devastating in the open field. In other words, he is tailor-made to play in Oregon’s offense. He has the speed to get around the corner on the outside zone read and the quickness to be dangerous on the IZR. Watch this video and tell me you don’t see a guy who will flourish in Oregon’s offense:

Some are already questioning the commitment, wondering whether he won’t end up jumping ship before national signing day. Certainly Texas’ Mack Brown and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer will be in his ear until the ink dries next February. That said, I think it’s over. Dontre’s dad has made it clear that once he committed, that would be the end of it. He seems to be a “my word is my bond” type of kid. Much like the Amoako’s last year, Dontre comes from a strong family that pride themselves on keeping their commitments, making a change of heart seems unlikely.

Wilson joins Thomas Tyner, another blue-chip running back commit for the 2013 recruiting class. Tyner’s world-class speed and elite size have many anointing him the next great Oregon running back. While it wouldn’t be wise to argue against that possibility, especially because of his underrated vision, Tyner has battled some injuries as of late. While there’s no reason to believe these will persist into his college career, injuries seem to have a malicious preference when it comes to choosing victims. Some guys can never seem to avoid a string of random, seemingly unrelated injuries.

Worst-case scenario, Wilson acts as a really good insurance plan. Best-case scenario, Tyner and Wilson form the most deadly running back duo in college football. Either way, the addition of Dontre Wilson cannot be understated.

Some will point to Dontre’s commitment as a sign that Oregon is beginning to pull elite players from around the nation. The truth is, though, the Ducks have already established a running back pipeline in Texas dating back to LaMichael James. That “success” is actually being used a negative recruiting tool, since the last three backs to commit out of the state, Lache Seastrunk, Dontae Williams and Tra Carson, have all transferred after just one year with the team for one reason or another. Opposing coaches are surely using this against Oregon. The Wilson commitment could turn out to be huge if he goes on to have success in Eugene, helping to keep the Texas running back pipeline open.

It’s only May, but it’s entirely possible that Dontre Wilson ends up as the most important commitment in the 2013 class. Oregon’s offense is predicated on running the ball, and adding Wilson all but guarantees that the team will have elite talent at the RB position for the foreseeable future. What’s more, it keeps the Texas pipeline alive and well. Wilson’s talent and versatility adds to an already lethal collection of offensive skill position players in Eugene.

Take a look at the talent lined up for 2013, along with each player’s Rivals ranking and projected class:


4* Brian Bennett (Jr.)

3* Marcus Mariota (So.)

4* Jake Rodrigues (Fr.)


Running Back:

5* DeAnthony Thomas (Jr.)

4* Byron Marshall (So.)

5* Thomas Tyner (Fr.)

4* Dontre Wilson (Fr.)


Wide Receiver:

4* Josh Huff (Sr.)

4* Devon Blackmon (So.)

3* BJ Kelley (So.)

4* Tacoi Sumler (So.)

4* Bralon Addison (So.)

4* Dwayne Stanford (Fr.)

3* Chance Allen (Fr.)


Tight End:

5* Colt Lyerla (Jr.)

4* Christian French (So.)

4* Evan Baylis (So.)

4* Pharaoh Brown (Fr.)

If you thought Chip Kelly had weapons before, just wait. Of course star ratings and high school stats don’t apply to actual production at the collegiate rankings, but it’s indicative of the kind of talent that Oregon is now luring to Eugene.

Check back Monday for part two, where I’ll take a look how this collection of offensive talent measures up against the nation’s elite.

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