Wait-and-See as NLI Comes and Goes

Joel Gunderson FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

It’s the easiest thing to do — to make snap judgments or knee-jerk reactions.

Those are what this world is based on (smartphone and twitter in hand.)

However, in this instance — and it’s the same every year — the results from college football’s ultimate exploitation event, National Letter of Intent day, won’t be seen for another 2-3 years, and even then, that won’t tell the whole story.

It was interesting on Wednesday, as Oregon’s class was being finalized, to hear some local reporter’s snap-reaction.  Words like “disappointing,” “underwhelming,” and, I believe, “dud” were being thrown about.  They pointed to the fact that this was the lowest overall ranking Oregon has had since 2009, before this glorious run began.  They pointed to a lack of star power, lack of defensive tackles, and lack of drama.

What they failed to look at was the biggest get from the class: Need.

Oregon needed secondary depth —  they got it in spades.  They needed receiver speed — they got it in abundance.  They needed a quarterback for the future — it (appears) they found a gem in Morgan Mahalak.

But, again, we won’t know for awhile.

What’s the point of my rambling anyway?  Because Oregon’s 2008 class was also panned by critics, and it produced both LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner.  Patrick Chung didn’t register when he signed, and I don’t think anyone is complaining about his performance.  Sure, we would have benefited from just one defensive tackle choosing Oregon, but who’s to say they would pan out? For kids 17-22 years old, the work they do in college will be far more crucial than the work they have done up to that point.  Did we sign the next Haloti Ngata?  Not on paper.  But, who knows . . . maybe there is special talent hidden in a 3-star with a chip on his shoulder.

Oh, and just so were clear — Oregon’s class was by no means a failure.  According to most scouting services, the Ducks finished between 20-25th nationally, a far cry from its Northwest rivals, and long removed from the days of settling for somewhere in the 50s.

They got a 5-star running back for the third straight year — from California, another speedster from Florida, and one of the most sought-after defensive backs.  They signed the most prolific long-snapper in the last ten years — and yes, that is huge, even if no one knows it yet.

Oregon still needs a monster defensive tackle; that’s the last missing piece from a championship puzzle.  The good part?  Everyone on the staff knows this. The bad part? Every other team knows it too, and will do everything in their power to keep those ‘monsters’ away from Eugene.

Oregon did get better on Wednesday, even if other people want to try and belittle their efforts.  How much better?  We won’t know for awhile.  But, from what we do know of this coaching staff, it’s a safe bet that we’ll be pleased with the results.  Go Ducks!

(Photo at top from Video)

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