Oregon’s gridiron brass are taking a page from their hardwood compatriots in the scrutiny of JUCO transfer targets. Wide receivers’ coach Matt Lubick, as well as former Oregon quarterback Nate Costa, are hot on the trail of junior college route-runner Riley Smith (2-Star/Ventura, CA).
According to Smith, “I’ll probably be up at Oregon’s camp in June. I’ve been talking with Nate Costa from Oregon and he told me about the offering process and how it’s different. They really want me at camp and he says I’m definitely an offer-caliber guy.”
Smith, at 5’11, 185 lbs., was an enigma coming out of the prep ranks — with obvious athletic talent, yet not a defined position at the D-1 level. Now entering his final phase of junior college, Riley will have two years of eligibility and will enroll early to get a jump on his chosen system.
The recipient of a recent Oregon offer, island-based athlete Vavae Malepeai (3-Star/Mililani, HI) is almost a lock to end up in Eugene.
“Oregon offering is just crazy, it’s been a crazy week already,” said Malepeai. “My uncles graduated from Oregon a while back. We went to a lot of games growing up. Oregon has always kind of been my dream school, basically. Obviously my teammate Rex (Manu) is going there and I’m related to Marcus and Matt Mariota. I grew up with Matt and we are pretty close and I know he’s going to be enrolling at Oregon too.”
A lean 6’0, 190 lbs., Malepeai is a lean, sure-tackling force at the second level who doubles as a running back on offense. Oregon will host Malepeai sometime this fall for an official visit and can expect a commitment soon thereafter — stay tuned!
Top photo by Kevin Cline