The Oregon Ducks’ head coach Willie Taggart has been hitting the recruiting trail hard for prospects in the 2018 class. While traveling across the country looking for talent, it’s nice to have one of the nation’s top-100 recruits close to home in Oregon. It is especially nice when that player doesn’t have a set position in high school, because he can fill a need wherever there might be one on the field. When a player means that much and does so much for their team, he gets ranked simply as an athlete.
Talanoa Hufanga (Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis, Ore.) is the highest rated player in the state of Oregon. Landing Hufanga is perhaps the most important recruiting priority for Oregon in 2018. This 4-star athlete stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs close to 200 lbs. He will make an impact at whatever position he plays, however, with his closing speed, hitting power and his ability to pick the right pursuit angle, I see him becoming one of the best safeties in the country. Keep in mind that he still has another season at the high school level to perfect his skill set.
In the video below, watch how quickly he diagnoses the play, picks the right pursuit angle and uses his speed to stop the play.
Hufanga has many schools offering him scholarships on both sides of the ball. He possesses too much talent to go unnoticed and has more than 20 offers from schools all over the country. Besides Oregon, he has offers from Oregon State, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Washington, and now Alabama has joined in as well. It will take some superior work from the Oregon coaches — and maybe a little luck — to get him to commit to the Ducks. But landing an athlete like Hufanga could have the Ducks competing for a national championship again very quickly.
Another highly sought after in-state player is OT Dawson Jaramillo. This 4-star physical specimen from Lake Oswego High School measures in at 6-foot-5, 295 lbs. 247Sports ranks him as the nation’s sixth-best tackle.
Usually when you find a defender flat on his back, it is Jaramillo who put him there and is keeping him there. He fires off the ball quickly and is a great blocker in the second level of the defense. Keeping his pad level low, he’s like a road grader in the run game. His quickness and good hands would be a major addition to the Ducks’ passing game.
The State of Oregon is putting out some outstanding football players at the high school level and, like Hufanga, Jaramillo is too talented to go unnoticed outside of the state. His top-5 schools are Oregon, TCU, Washington, UCLA, and Oregon State.
On an unofficial visit to Oregon’s Junior Day, Jaramillo said he couldn’t help but think things were different with the new coaches. “Talking with the guys who stayed from the old staff, everything about the day was just different,” said Jaramillo. “There was just more energy. It was a good different. Nothing against the old staff because I really liked them, but this felt better.” He said that was one of the biggest impressions.
Jaramillo was one of six Oregon in-state prospects from 2018 on campus. “It said a lot that they wanted to have just Oregon kids there,” said Jaramillo. “They could have had a ton of kids from all over in, but they said they wanted to do it for Oregon kids. I think that stands out. I liked that.”
Meeting with Oregon’s offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal was perhaps the part of the day that stood out the most for Jaramillo. “Getting to sit down with him and just get to know him better, see how he prepares his unit and what type of offense they want to run at Oregon, that was big for me,” said Jaramillo. “I think something that really stood out was how he’s got this bible of every player and how prepared he can get his team before games.”
Top Photo from 247Sports
Special thanks to Duck Territory at 247sports.com for sharing this information with FishDuck.com; check out their trial subscriptions for the best up-to-date daily information on Oregon recruiting.
Norm Hightower is a businessman, sports enthusiast, avid outdoorsman, and lifelong Ducks fan that resides in the State of Oregon. He has a wealth of sports knowledge and experience when it comes to football and many other outdoor sports. He’s also a managing partner, writer and editor for Gridiron Media Group LLC and Ramstalk.net.
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