Oregon is now only a day away from a rematch with rival Stanford. In what promises to be one of, if not the biggest gridiron throw-down all season, the Ducks will look to capitalize on all fronts, both on the field and off.
Now, in mid-fall, the 2015 recruit class is beginning to rear its head as several big names are garnering early attention from Eugene. With a long string of successful seasons, Oregon’s BCS-or-bust mentality continues to produce wins and has elevated the Ducks into the recruiting driver’s seat for the signatures of America’s top preps.
Not a bit bashful, junior defensive end Byron Cowart (4-Star/Seffner, FL), may be defensive line head man Ron Aiken’s first commit in the class of 2015.
“Oregon has always been up there for me . . ..” said Cowart. “Oregon is my number one right now. [My mom and I] are trying to get up to Oregon to see it and check it out. If I don’t go before [my senior season], I hope I can go to [Nike’s] The Opening and then we’ll visit Oregon after that.”
With room to grow, Cowart stands an athletic 6-foot-3, 255 lbs. and could easily push three bills once under the direction of strength and conditioning guru Jim Radcliffe.
“Oregon likes conditioning, playing fast, they are always so in shape,” said Cowart. “I’m looking for coaches to push me, make me better and make me fundamentally sound. They rotate a lot of defensive lineman so you can stay fresh all game long.”
Cowart makes use of very active hands to frustrate opposing lineman and possess the speed necessary to track down running backs that break for the sideline.
“I see myself as a player that could have a big impact at Oregon,” said Cowart. “I like to think I’m fundamentally sound, but I’m always trying to get better. I’m focused on my season right now, but I want to get up to Oregon, it just seems like it would be a great fit for me. I know I could get to the next level at Oregon.”
Cowart maintains that he will not make a program decision until the 2015-16 Army All-American game, but this writer believes an announcement will come sooner, stay tuned!
Head Coach Dana Altman and Co. have secured the commitment from another top prospect from the JUCO ranks; highly-touted center Michael Chandler (4-Star/Indianapolis, IN). A 6-foot-11 big man who moves well to the basket, Chandler will enter Oregon’s lineup as a potential starter, as his size cannot be ignored.
“We really loved the atmosphere of the city,” said Chandler’s uncle, Allan. ”We were treated so nicely. It was beautiful. The academic program sold us.”
The younger Chandler’s road to Eugene has been a rocky one, seeing the sought-after high school prep center make several D-1 commitments before going the JUCO route.
“For Oregon and for us, it is a big weight off our shoulders,” said the elder Chandler. “We believe [Michael] is going to do very well at Oregon.”
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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