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
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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