Last week, following the first day of spring practice, Oregon head man Mark Helfrich was asked if there was a chance of adding players who had not yet signed with the program in February.
“That’s always a possibility,” said Helfrich. “There are always a couple [of irons in] the fire that way.”
Not more than 72 hours ago, unsigned class of 2014 defensive lineman Ratu Mafileo (3-Star/Honolulu, HI) broke months of silence and indicated that the NCAA has academically cleared him.
“I called coach Ron (Aiken) and told him what the NCAA said,” said Mafileo. “He was very excited and told me he would have his compliance office contact the NCAA on Monday to confirm the news and hopefully get me the paperwork.”
Mafileo, the nephew of Oregon legend Haloti Ngata, has long been vocal in his desire to suit up for the Ducks and would give Aiken & Co., a huge boost in the trenches come fall.
“[Coach Aiken] told me Oregon will take me as soon as they can clear me.”
Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Mafileo plans to officially visit the Ducks and sign a letter of intent once an offer is extended. If the buzz wasn’t already high enough, it appears that the big man has been hitting the gym after his senior season and now weighs in at a whopping 325 lbs. Coupled with an impressive wingspan, Mafielo’s 6’4 frame has long been a target of the Oregon brass.
“I’ve just been power-lifting. Coach Ron [Aiken] has been telling me they really need depth at defensive tackle. He said he loves my technique and pad level. I’m just working on my speed and pass-rush moves.”
Mafileo removed any lingering doubt about his intentions.
“Oregon is where I’m going.”
Current Oregon guard Joseph Young announced that he will bypass the NBA draft in order to play his senior season. Via his Twitter feed, Young gave We, The Oregon Faithful, all the reasons in the world to expect next year’s squad to be one of the best ever assembled in Eugene.
Young’s newest teammate and potential freshman starter, five-star Oregon signee Jaquan Lyle (5-Star/Huntington, WV/Rivals150) recently spoke on his decision to join the Ducks.
“Me and Coach Altman probably had the best relationship out of every coach recruiting me,” said Lyle. “It’s a great relationship to be in. [Oregon was] the first school to offer me [after I moved on from my previous commitment]. So, right then and there, I knew it was going to be a good fit.”
Expect Oregon’s backcourt to be one of, if not the deepest in the nation next season seeing returners Young, Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson, and the addition of Lyle to put the rest of country on their heels when March Madness returns, stay tuned!
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 every Wednesday. WTD!!!
Follow me on Twitter: @MarkDFlores
Be sure to like us on Facebook: FISHDUCK.COM
Feature photo captured from Facebook
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.
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!