So the Ducks have another disjointed football recruiting year? Lovely. Last year, the new staff and did the best they could in a short period of time and put together a great class, but this year was set up to be an epic LOI (Letter of Intent) day in February. After looking at the fall-out of verbal commits and considering what may still happen … I’ve concluded that Mario Cristobal has a shot at setting the Triple Crown of recruiting records at Oregon this year. Let’s see what I mean …
If Oregon has a shot at breaking three recruiting records, then it is prudent to know what they are and how they are measured and compared to the past. First, I use the rankings of Rivals.com, as 24/7.com is a new site and does not have the history for us to compare. Scout.com is reasonable in their current evaluations, but has in past years published questionable reports due to the entity’s ownership by a damn Husky.
I consider it a great recruiting year when the Ducks sign at least eight players who are rated at 4 or 5 stars at their positions since, historically, it does not happen often. Regardless of whether you sign 18 or 28 players in February, you need a core of upper-echelon players to build the team around. So, with eight being the target, last year’s nine 4- and 5-star recruits looks that much more remarkable, especially considering the tight window the coaches had to work with. Let’s look at recent recruiting classes for perspective …
2017: 9 signed as four- or five-star players. (Short recruiting season)
2016: 5 in Helfrich’s last of three recruiting classes.
2015: 8 signed.
2014: 5 signed.
2013: 8 signed.
2012: 10 signed.
2011: 10 signed.
2010: 11 signed.
2009: 4 signed.
2008: 8 signed.
2007: 12 signed out of a class of 29 total.
2006: 1 signed as a four- or five-star player.
As you can see, the 2007 class was extraordinary in overall numbers and was the best year in Oregon history for the coveted 4- or 5-star players.
How is the upcoming 2018 class looking? At the moment, after all defections, the Ducks sit with 18 verbals, of which 10 are 4- or 5-star players. It would appear as though Cristobal’s staff may have one or two of the de-commits re-committed verbally to Oregon, and the Ducks are the favorite with number of highly ranked players. The incredible receiver, Devon Williams, has stated that he is visiting the Ducks at the Las Vegas Bowl and has a great relationship with 4-star quarterback verbal, Tyler Shough of Phoenix. Oregon is a finalist for 6’5″ 349 lb. 4-star offensive guard Penei Sewell, as well. These examples that make me quite confident that Coach Cristobal’s staff will achieve the record of 13 highly-ranked players or better.
The second recruiting record that the Ducks are chasing is the quality of the class or the average star rating for the entire group when signed. The large 2007 class above had an average of 3.24, which is about the norm for recruiting classes at Oregon over the last decade. The record was the 2011 class, which had a 3.57 star average rating, a record the Ducks are targeting as “the bogey.” Can they do it?
The 2018 class currently sits at 3.53 and was higher before the de-commits. Still, there is a long way to go before the February 2018 final signing of this class, although the new early signing week beginning December 20th is approaching. Justin Hopkins of ScoopDuck.com believes that up to 15 players will sign early, thus allowing the coaches to focus on the remaining scholarships. The majority of recruits the Ducks are pursuing are rated at four and even five stars, which gives them a shot at raising that average to a new record.
Keep in mind that we can’t get snooty about three-star players. So many of these athletes are under-analyzed, and the Oregon coaches see great potential in some of them. Five years ago, the Ducks had three-star players such as Kiko Alonso and Marcus Mariota, who were the heart of the offense and defense, just like current three-star players Troy Dye and Justin Herbert. The rumblings are that Coach Cristobal is very excited about the upsides of a cornerback, linebacker, and running back who are verbally committed to Oregon and listed at 3 stars. In those cases, it’s OK to miss the record to get them!
We’ve discussed how the Ducks have a chance to sign more than the record of 12 4- and 5-star players and how Oregon has a shot at exceeding their best average star ranking ever. The third jewel of the “Triple Crown” of recruiting is the total number of recruits signed. Usually, this is a non-issue because you can only sign the number of players you have openings for. But Oregon has room in last year’s 25-player limit and thus can have early enrollees this year count toward last year’s class (February of 2017), which opens room for more scholarships for February of 2018.
The record number of recruits is 29 in 2007, and based upon the recruiting math calculated by our friends at ScoopDuck.com, Oregon may be able to sign 30 or even 31 total players depending on the number of early enrollees.
Coach Cristobal has a genuine opportunity to break three Oregon recruiting records this year … After all that has happened, this staff could achieve the Triple Crown of recruiting? We were all dismayed to see the recruiting class begin to fall apart ten days ago, but this staff is making some pretty darn good lemonade from this situation. Give him a full year without interruptions and look out!
Everything in recruiting is going to be just Ducky come February …
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo: Kevin Cline