Photo above of Elkanah “Kano” Dillon by Dennis Akers of SoFloBulls.com
I know you are rolling your eyes at that title, and newer readers to the site would probably accuse me of “clickbait,” and while there is some merit to that — the rest of you know my shtick. I write something semi-outrageous and then go about backing up the assertion with enough facts and reasoning to make it plausible. Trust me … this time the crazy title is on the money.
Recruiting that does not count? Have you not heard Mr. FishDuck, that Oregon is Rivals.com No. 3 in the nation with ten 4-star and fourteen total verbal commitments for the February 2019 signing? Yep, but Coach Mario Cristobal has done something in the off-season never seen at Oregon before; he just isn’t recruiting for the future — he’s trying to win the conference title now.
The Ducks only have nine seniors on the team for the 2018 season, and there are holes created by transfers and past recruiting. Because of this, Coach Cristobal went out and recruited five new players who will change this team in the fall like no other season.
The four graduate transfers joining Oregon do not get counted in the 2019 Oregon recruiting class, nor does the financial aid agreement signed with the Australian punter who is classified with the 2018 recruiting class. This is a “no-count” fabulous five, and I invite you to ponder their potential impact this season. First, I’ll start with mine.
Tim Hough (5’11” 185 lbs.) is a corner who started many games at UNLV and is highly experienced with three years of play in D-I football. His savvy can help the young corners who are also slated to start. The depth at corner is frighteningly thin, and Hough being a graduate transfer is going to help this team on third-and-long situations, as well as spelling the starters. He will play a ton …
Tom Snee (6’3″ 210 lbs.) is from Melbourne, Australia and has many of us veterans excited because he has the hang time on his punts that remind us of Josh Bidwell so many years ago. This is quite a coup to have such a freshman talent join the team and to keep him away from other programs. How the Oregon coaching staff found him and sewed him up is amazing. Again, he has four years of eligibility, and counts toward last year’s 2018 class. He is enrolled at Oregon and will be at fall camp to punt this next year!
The Ducks have not had a great punter … in many, many years, and so many have shown promise but not delivered on the field. Snee is going to be one of the fascinating players to watch in fall camp, and I will be anxious to watch for “Bidwell” heights on his boots. And as you know — a punter can also be a weapon on a cold, rainy, blustery day in November!
Take a look at the distance and hang time of these punts. The first one nearly goes into orbit!
I had the fortuitous luck to have spoken with a fellow who was a lower-level member of the Alabama athletic staff while both Cristobal and new transfer Dallas Warmack (6’2″ 308 lbs.) were on the team. He had great things to say about Coach Cristobal, such as, “He is a leader you want to follow,” and “He is intense — you’ll see those veins on the neck bulge often.”
But the most interesting comment was about Warmack as a player. He started and played in a ton of games for the ‘Tide, but simply had too many five-star offensive linemen to compete with to get the amount of playing time he wanted. I asked about whether the former Army All-American could be a starter on a Power-5 team, and he quickly answered …
“Of course — without a doubt.”
This fellow emphasized that Warmack is groomed in the physical nature of Alabama’s offensive line, and as a junior could play significant minutes over the next two years. But perhaps even more important, he could help establish the new Cristobal Culture in the offensive line. He could be an example for the others of how that ‘tude translates to the practice field and Autzen stadium.
The next transfer to ponder is Elkanah “Kano” Dillon (6’5″ 262 lbs.) from South Florida. That is pronounced El-CANE-uh. Yep … he is a big boy as tight end, but if you watch this short video, you’ll see that he does not appear slow or too bulky. He is featured in the picture at the top of the article, and he comes to us as a polished player who averaged 18 yards a catch. Holy Crap!
We needed this badly, as now we can have two or three TEs in the game with Jacob Breeland and Cam McCormick and not give up any beef in short yardage situations. I have also heard rumors that Marcus Arroyo wants to run some “Thud” formations, similar to what Jeff Tedford did when he was offensive coordinator here during the Joey Harrington years.
Imagine this athletic monster flanked out and blocking diminutive cornerbacks on Outside Zone Reads or Sweep Read plays. Or fake the block and slide past the corner to catch a Justin Herbert bullet in front of the safety in a Cover-Two? (Calm down Charles…).
His new presence helps everyone on the Oregon offense, and his athleticism fits in wonderfully with the Arroyo attack and takes some pressure off the incoming freshman Spencer Webb to perform immediately.
Now we get to the game-changer that alters my predictions for the upcoming season: Tabari Hines, (5’11” 185 lbs.) — the graduate transfer from Wake Forest. I felt that this receiving corps for 2018 was the second worst ever going into a season opener, only beating out last year’s group. Hines is coming here to be “the man” and he will be, as someone who has caught 115 passes for 1,438 yards and 11 touchdowns over his career. He is more than just experienced. He was on fire the last four games of last year with 31 receptions and six touchdowns. By comparison, our next best receiver (Dillon Mitchell) caught 42 passes for the entire 2017 season.
The impact on the offense will be gargantuan, as Hines will demand double-coverage, which will open up the other wideouts and tight ends. Thus, the passing attack will better balance the Oregon offense and open up the running game even more. We will score scads more points as a result. This changes everything for the 2018 season … all from one player who does not even count in any of the year’s recruiting rankings!
Think of it — none of these players are counted in the 2019 rankings, and I ask you, what will be the cumulative effect of all five players on this upcoming season? Huge … just huge. And yet none of them count.
We know, and we can now see what an incredible recruiting staff that has been assembled at Oregon. And this is just the start? Whoa, Doggies!
“Oh how we love to learn about our Beloved Ducks!”
Top Photo: Dennis Akers
While these transfers are going to massively impact this next season–there are other off-season surprises that bode well for the offense, and have made me change my season predictions. Next Monday I am going to go into more detail.