Lately I’ve heard and read reactions from fellow fans about the 2018 recruiting class such as, “this was an unmitigated disaster” and “pretty good considering all that happened!” In the end–both opinions are correct, as it just depends upon your perspective in addressing the results. I have a usual positive spin from the predicable context angle, but I also want to suggest that this class is one of Oregon’s best ever, and was as good or better as any recruiting class that Chip Kelly brought to our beloved Ducks.
That is a tall statement, but you all know me by now; I do not make such assertions unless I have the facts or reasonable logic to back it up. So, before we get into all the qualifiers and addendums used for ranking the 2018 class, let’s look at the actual data available from Rivals.com. (I use them as only they have reliable data back to 2002) Do know that I am not going to delve into the individual names, skills or typical recruit bluster; we can collectively do that another time. Let’s examine the numbers on this class and make some valid comparisons…
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 a class, you need a core of upper-echelon players to build the team around. So, with eight being the target, let’s look at recent recruiting classes for perspective …
Let’s look at the recent year-to-year results: (From Rivals.com)
2018: 11 signed as four or five-star players!
2017: 9 signed with a new coaching staff.
2016: 5 signed. (Helfrich)
2015: 8 signed. (Helfrich)
2014: 5 signed. (Helfrich)
2013: 8 signed. (Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich)
2012: 10 signed. (Chip Kelly)
2011: 10 signed. (Chip Kelly)
2010: 11 signed. (Chip Kelly)
2009: 4 signed.
2008: 8 signed.
2007: 12 signed. (Mike Bellotti)
2006: 1 signed.
2005: 3 signed.
2004: 8 signed.
2003: 5 signed.
Coach Mario Cristobal‘s first recruiting class tied the second best ever at Oregon and was in striking range of the all-time record. The numbers also show that Coach Cristobal beat Chip Kelly in two of three full recruiting years that Coach Kelly was here, and tied his best. Holy Crap!
Pretty damn good for a rookie coach…
To Put into PERSPECTIVE…
Only 17 teams in all of college football had eleven four-star players or better as this coaching staff achieved, and our beloved Ducks had a better ranking and class at Rivals (No. 15) than quite a few other conference members and notable programs who have not had the upheaval of the last three years as Oregon.
Better than Michigan, (No. 25) Utah, (No. 38) Wisconsin (No. 39) Cal, (No. 43) Washington State, (No. 45) Colorado, (Who did not have a single four-star at No. 51) and Stanford at No. 70!
Why can’t we do as well as WASHINGTON?
Un … we did.
The Huskies, (pardon me while I turn to spit) ended up slightly above Oregon at No. 14, but both schools had 11 four-star players and 10 three-star recruits. The difference? Oregon signed an extra player in an All-American Long Snapper who was given a two star rating, and thus lowered our overall average. This also does not count the freshman DE/OLB transfer coming into Oregon (who was assumed to be a starter at Miami next year) as he was a four-star recruit out of Sacramento at this time last year.
I was sitting at the Recruiting Luncheon in Eugene, listening to the presentations and leaned over and whispered into Retired College Coach Ken Woody‘s ear, “I never thought I would see three head coaches at Oregon in three consecutive years.” He pondered for a moment and whispered back, “it’s like the Don Read/Dick Enright times again.” We looked at other and simultaneously thought, “but without the same recruiting!”
My friends, we truly do need to address the reality of the situation; three HCs in three years, a 4-8 and 7-6 record with laying an egg in our bowl game? A recruit may like Oregon and the coaches, but damn….looking at those facts and the Trojans want you? The hard choice is to join the Ducks, even if it is better for him over the longer term. If we win 10 games? It is a much different recruiting ball-game…
I think we need to truly consider how others view our situation, as we had very little respect for teams that are 7-6, and we have to earn our former status back again. Fortunately–if we have a great year next year, the respect and recruiting interest will increase incrementally with every win over seven in 2019.
This is pretty incredible lemonade created by Coach Cristobal and this staff, and I am taking the time to count my blessings, savor the players who joined us and ponder the future considering the amazing results under such arduous conditions.
I’ll be back on Friday morning as I have another article brewing, “What we Learned from 2018 Recruiting” as we have a new world of recruiting and I want to share some new thoughts I’ve never had before about this subject. As you know–the site will be having two-three articles a week, and I will always be writing once a week, so keep checking in!
“Oh how we love to ponder about our newly recruited Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
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