Just as Jake Locker got schooled on a blitz in the picture above, I learned about some new aspects of football recruiting this year, none of which I particularly care for. I am developing some ways to mentally prepare for them, some FishDuck Philosophies if you will, which will help overcome the roller-coaster ride that has become the modern day norm in college football recruiting. Consider my list and see how realistic it is (or if I’m simply becoming jaded).
Ignore Stupid Statements from Media
We expect silly stuff from some people on the message boards, but you really have to tighten you B.S. filter when you read many media members’ recruiting insights, as they just don’t know. The topper for me was Austin Meek of the Eugene Register-Guard writing about recruiting results this year:
“the Ducks … finished about where they usually did under Mark Helfrich.”
Boy, that is an ill-informed boneheaded pronouncement. Helfrich had five four or five-star players signed in 2014, eight of them in 2015, and five of them in 2016, for an average of six signed per year. Coach Mario Cristobal just signed 11 of these coveted players, resulting in one of the top three classes in the history of the school. DucksInOrder pointed out yesterday in the comments section of my article that, if you looked at the teams ahead of Oregon in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings, how many have had three head coaches in the last three years ? None.
Ignore the stupid statements, and remember that these sportswriters don’t know more football than this savvy group that reads and comments on this site, and they don’t have the long-term knowledge of Oregon veterans like those steeped in experience of our beloved Ducks. Sportswriters can write better than us, but that’s it.
Talk is just TALK
We’ve heard the stories of how Devon Williams told the Oregon coaches over-and-over that he was coming Eugene, but the blather doesn’t stop there. Coaches tell players they want them, only to later tell them their position group is now full, and thus they no longer have a committable offer. In other words, it goes both ways. There is so much hyperbolic blustering in quotes from so many events, and ultimately a player that visits multiple times still goes to USC.
All those breathless interviews after visits? What a load of crap.
A verbal commitment is not a commitment at all until the prospect quits taking trips and shuts down his recruitment. The latter is something I’d like to see reported. Who has closed down phone calls and visits? That is a hard commit, and everything else is nonsense. How many “soft commits” to other schools have we wrestled away (the last kid to sign with the Ducks this year was “verballed” to Colorado during his recruitment)?
I don’t want a commit taking other recruiting trips for fun; this is business and it is not the way our organization should operate. If a prospect wants to take more trips, great! Take the trips and enjoy yourself, we will still recruit you hard, but you are not a commit, and not yet part of the Brotherhood yet.
Sign Them Early or Die
You need to wrap up as many recruits as you can in the December signing period because those who don’t sign at that time then become everyone else’s targets. This is especially true with the high-profile four or five-star guys who want to announce on National Letter of Intent Day in February, and because of their talent, everyone puts up with it. If you’re Oregon, you do not want to be competing with Alabama and USC for a recruit on signing day; we simple aren’t going to win many of those.
Our coaches will have tough decisions as they may have to take a three-star player who will sign in December and let the high 4 or 5-star guy get wooed to the big boys. Analyzing the upside of three-star prospects will become paramount, as the Ducks cannot depend on the majority of four and five-star targets to hang with them after the December signing date.
Take the highly rated guys only if they sign in December. If they still want to play the field? Fine, we are filling our class, as we’ll get enough of the highly rated players to win. Chase the highly rated ones with left-over scholarships after December 20th, but don’t make them more than just the icing on the recruiting cake.
Don’t Sweat the Three-Star Players
Funny I should this, considering my system is based on how many the upper-echelon players we sign. Yet it is true that Oregon has done well developing the three-star guys and surrounding them with a few highly skilled four and five-star guys. The best players on offense and defense–Justin Herbert and Troy Dye, were three-star players coming in. Of the signees this year, there are a couple that I’ve pegged to have high upside, but I’ll let Talent Evaluator Mike Kelly explain that in future articles, as he is better at that than yours truly by a country mile.
An In-State Player? SO WHAT.
Coaches: forget about this “building a wall around the state” and just get out there and get the best you can get. If the best is out of state and will sign early versus an in-state recruit playing games with you? Sign the out of state kid! Get the best players you can to come to Eugene, and don’t be concerned about in-state loyalties. Goodness knows that the legacy families (Molden, Cota and Winston) sure aren’t worried about it, so why should you?
Get the best player who will give you a hard commit, period. This B.S. with Oregon high school players the last two years sickened me (how many times did Cota and Hufanga visit … five, six?) … you would think as “Fish” I would enjoy all the bait dangled in front of me. I’ll gladly pass.
Subscribe! It’s CHEAP Entertainment
I wish I meant here, but I mean the three sites that do a great job reporting on Duck recruiting and updates about the team. It is the cheapest entertainment by the hour reading and pondering for the hard core fans. If you subscribed to all three? It is $30.00 a month; cut down the cable and read about our beloved Ducks!
You know me, and know that I get wound up about the Ducks and think the best for them, but this recruiting business, with all the changes and deception, requires that I take my FishDuck Philosophies concerning recruiting seriously.
How about you?
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo from Video