BREAKING NEWS: This past Monday night, highly touted in-state offensive lineman Evan Voeller (4-Star/West Linn, OR/Rivals250) announced his commitment to play college ball for the Ducks. “I visited my top five schools and at the end of my trips I saw Oregon as the place for me,” said Voeller. “I’m excited to stay in state and have an opportunity to play for Oregon. I like the offense and I’m just really fired up.”
To say the latest edition of the Oregon spring game was one of the most impressive to date would be an understatement. While the quarterback competition between Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota heated up dramatically, we, the Duck Faithful also caught a glimpse of subtle yet encouraging spring revelations; highly touted freshman recruit Arik Armstead donned a Oregon gameday jersey for the first time, play on both sides of the line appears to be progressing, and the receiving corps (without an injured Josh Huff) is moving slowly but surely in the right direction.
Teammates and fans weren’t the only ones witnessing the Ducks move into a new era. Several Oregon recruiting targets were in attendance for Saturday’s military salute, including speedy Duck commit Thomas Tyner (5-Star/Beaverton, OR/Rivals #1-Rated RB) and budding defensive superstar Eddie Vanderdoes (4-Star/Placer, CA/Rivals150). “There were more than 40,000 people at the game and that was incredible. I talked to all of the coaches and just had a great time,” said an enthusiastic Tyner. The ever-imposing Vanderdoes echoed his fellow junior and new-found friend’s sentiments. “The game was great and I can’t believe how many people were there,” said Vanderdoes. “Forty-four thousand people at a spring game is crazy. It lets me know the fans support their team 100 percent.” (Look for Vanderdoes’ close friendship with Armstead to pay dividends in Oregon’s recruitment of the Rivals100 defender.)
Not only entertaining potential signees over the Spring Game weekend, the Ducks also extended an offer to Austin Hooper (3-Star/Concord, CA). The De La Salle defensive end joins fellow prep teammates Michael Hutchings (4-Star/Concord, CA/Rivals100) and Victor Egu (3-Star/Concord, CA) on Oregon’s shortlist. Hooper, an exceptional athlete at 6’4, 233 lbs., disrupts opposing offenses coming off the edge and has the aptitude to see time at multiple positions. (Hooper’s teammate, Hutchings, appears to have Oregon high on his list. As expected, prep teammates talk to each other constantly, and that connection could bring multiple De La Salle prep stars north to Eugene.)
A visitor during spring practices, athlete Brandon Monroe (3-Star/Rocklin, CA) liked what he saw during his time in Duckville. “Oregon’s facilities were incredible,” exclaimed Monroe. “I love how they treat the players and how they practice. They do a great job of preparing their players academically, too. They told me I was one of the top players at the safety position for them.” Monroe also added that a Ducks offer would be a “big one.” (Given Monroe’s versatility on the field, much like that of incoming freshman Oshay Dunmore, an Oregon offer is completely in the realm of possibility.)
Recently, offensive lineman Nico Falah (4-Star/Bellflower, CA/Rivals250) gave the impression that the Ducks will be in his final decision group of collegiate programs. “I’ve been talking to Oregon a lot,” said Falah. “I know coach (Steve) Greatwood is planning to come by and see me. I like Oregon a lot, and they will probably be in that final five…” (The Ducks previously offered Falah and may be a serious contender to land the talented lineman if Greatwood and the rest of Oregon’s coaching staff maintain heavy interest.)
While Falah maintains a steady dose of contact with the Ducks, wide receiver Steven Mitchell (4-Star/Mission Hills, CA/Rivals100) wants to step up his communication with Oregon. ”I’m still hoping to get involved with Oregon,” professed Mitchell. “Oregon is recruiting me…I know they take a little longer with their process.” (Mitchell’s speed and athleticism would make him a valuable asset in the Duck’s spread attack. An offer from Eugene will no doubt be extended in the coming months.)
Jack-of-all-position players are seeing Oregon as the premier destination to utilize their multiple talents. Once such prep star, Myles Nash (3-Star/Sicklerville, NJ) is drawn to the Duck’s on-field pace. “I’ve talked to coach (Don) Pellum from Oregon a few times,” said Nash, a 6’5, 200 lb. all-around threat. “Oregon is a top three program nationally and they certainly pass the eye-ball test.” (The Ducks will have to overcome distance issues in Nash’ recruitment if his interest in Oregon is genuine.)
While cross-country distance may play a role with Nash, it certainly is not cause for concern with running quarterback Anthony Jennings (3-Star/Marietta, GA). “Location doesn’t matter to me,” said Jennings. “(Oregon) has been showing a pretty solid amount of interest, and I have interest in them as well.” A lanky 6’5, 205 lbs., Jennings is already making a name for himself heading into his final prep season. Two weekends back, he received MVP honors at the Elite-11 Combine held in his home state and figures to be a top talent at the collegiate level. (Jennings seems to have no problem with the idea of playing on the west coast; let’s hope it’s in Lightning Yellow and Thunder Green if the fit is right.)
Offensive lineman Dan Skipper (3-Star/Arvada, CO) is tall – 6’10 tall. Complement that with his massive 280 lb. frame and you have one of the largest players entering collegiate football in 2013. Skipper specified that Oregon “just got my film and they will watch it right away. They said they will be out in two weeks to check me out.” (Skipper’s immense size yet surprisingly mobile style of play tabs him as a very intriguing Oregon prospect.)
(Skipper Highlights Unavailable)
For up to the minute recruiting news, please visit our friends at DUCK TERRITORY who graciously provide FISHDUCK with in-depth analysis and player-generated material. Look for my latest recruiting update next Wednesday, WTD!!!
WE, THE GREEN AND YELLOW, WE – THE DUCK FAITHFUL!!!
Mark Flores, a Salem, OR resident, is a Firefighter/Paramedic and an avid Oregon Ducks supporter. A graduate of nearby Corban University with a Bachelors Degree in English-Journalism, Flores is a Ducks football season-ticket holder (since 2010) with plans of pursuing his masters degree at the U of O. A passionate and knowledgeable Ducks fan with a heavy interest in Oregon athletics and recruiting, Flores, a former lacrosse player, brings a wealth of knowledge of Oregon teams not readily covered by the media.
Flores has over seven years of professional journalism experience, including writing for the Statesman Journal in Salem and holding the position of Sports Editor for the Hilltop News (Corban University). He brings his detailed knowledge of recruiting and athletics to the FishDuck team, and welcomes your feedback.
Author’s Note: “I do not capitalize our rival, “that other school”, nor any other institution outside of our beloved UNIVERSITY OF OREGON. WTD!!!”
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