An axiom we savvy Oregon fans and readers of this site know, part of College Football 101, is that when it comes to talent …
“Great coaching can help players outperform their recruiting ranking, but to win championships — you must have a roster full of superior talent.”
We are all keeping up with the recruiting battles occurring and, while we are delighted with the results of the Mario Cristobal staff with the short-term recruiting (graduate transfers), we are also quite impressed with the 2019 recruiting class that is coming together.
If Oregon is going to be relevant again, we must have that superior talent.
Now, before some of you break into the “coaching matters” lecture … please remember that I am FishDuck and have created an analysis library of over 335 analysis articles about Oregon football over the last seven years. I, of all people, know the importance of coaching, but this discussion will be consigned to talent acquisition.
The challenges for Coach Cristobal are immense, as he does not have the recruiting layup that Coach Mark Helfrich had set in front of him from Coach Chip Kelly. How would you like to try to recruit to the situation described to me by Coach Ken Woody …
“I never thought I would see three head coaches at Oregon in three consecutive years.”
Add to that downer list fourteen losses in the last two years? Holy Crap!
Yet with all of that, Coach Cristobal is performing recruiting miracles at Oregon, as he is closing in to two major FishDuck Recruiting Records never achieved at Oregon before (Using the data available from Rivals.com, as they only have reliable data back to 2002).
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 …
The Year-to-Year Record
You can view the current commitments here at Duck Sports Authority.
2019: 10 four or five star verbals to Oregon thus far
2018: 11 signed as four or five-star players, as Cristobal rescued the class.
2017: 9 signed in short season with Taggart.
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 of 11 signed last February and December tied the second best ever at Oregon and was in striking range of the all-time record of 12. 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.
Pretty damn good for a rookie coach …
That record year of 2007 with 12 four- or five-star players was pretty hit-and-miss when we look at the results. Players with four stars such as Kenny Rowe, Darrion Weems, Drew Davis, William Tukuafu and Carson York really came through with careers with the Ducks that made a difference.
However, for other four-star players such as Simi Fili, Malachi Lewis, Myles Wade and Terrence Pritchett … things simply did not work out as everyone hoped. All the more reason to sign as many four- and five-star players as possible to overcome bell curve of results in recruiting.
With ten verbals for 2019 that are four- or five-star players on Rivals.com, and with an expected ten more to be added to the signing group in this next December and January, it is probable that we add at least three more highly ranked players to this class. Coach Cristobal and his staff are on track to beat the all-time recruiting record for the most in one year if they sign just three more in addition to the ten recruits already brought on-board!
Now, it is not a given this will happen since we had a great class assembled before the departure of you-know-who, and it declined. The same thing could happen to this class if the current team doesn’t have enough wins to attract the better talent. We need a good season in 2018 …
Notice also that the best two-year period of signing these higher ranked players was 2010 and 2011 under Chip Kelly, and Oregon is tied with that right now. The next commit that is four or five stars will break that two-year record at Oregon, and Matt Prehm of Duck Territory reports that two players (both four stars) are very close to verbal committing to the Ducks in the next month.
So which is more important? The one-year or two-year record?
The two year is something I’ve never talked about because we’ve never had a shot at it … but you and I know that to build a championship team, you need more than one good recruiting year. In fact, as you look at the results above, it is evident that the appearance in the 2010 NC was built by the 24 studs brought in the three years before, just as the 2014 NC appearance was fueled by the 39 coveted players recruited primarily by Chip Kelly in the years preceding that NC run.
We are pleased with the progress in recruiting, and now I am looking for the longer recruiting record, a trend of results that lays the foundation for an exciting future for Oregon football.
“Oh how we love to learn about our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
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