Ducks Roll Out The Red Carpet For Big-Time Recruits

Cameron Johansson Recruiting

The VIP guest list at Autzen Stadium continues to grow. The Ducks are hosting some big-time recruits, again mostly on the defensive side of the ball. The recent performance of the Oregon defense makes Eugene an appealing place for defensive players.

Two weeks ago against the Colorado Buffaloes, the Ducks made the Buffaloes’ offense look less than pedestrian, in what was supposed to be their toughest offensive test of the season. That caught the attention of highly coveted cornerback Kelee Ringo, who was in attendance on his official visit to Eugene.

The five-star recruit from Scottsdale, Arizona is the sixth-highest recruit in the country according to the 247 sports composite. There is no doubt that this kid’s mailman has been busy at his mailbox, because almost the whole country wants him to wear their hat on national signing day.

Kelee Ringo tries some Ducks gear on for size during his official visit on October 11.

Ringo named his top five on Twitter back in June: Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Ohio State and, of course, Oregon. According to 247 sports’ Crystal Ball predictor, Ringo is leaning toward Georgia, already having taken three visits this year. However, all signs are indicating the official visit to Eugene went exceptionally well.

Twitter is a great place to get the current mindset of a recruit, and about a week ago Ringo tweeted “The Oregon official visit last weekend will definitely make me do some thinking. Thank you to all the staff, players and Eugene for the amazing visit. #scoducks.” The tweet also contained edits of his photo shoots in the Ducks’ colors and uniforms.

His 247sports page describes him like this: “Long, projectable frame with muscular build. Carries 205 pounds very well. Room to add mass and maintain flexibility. Explosive athlete with terrific straight-line speed. Length to cover big receivers out wide. Highly competitive and thrives in man coverage.” It also mentions that he is a stellar track and field athlete.

Ringo could be a huge asset to an already stout defense. He shows some solid speed for his 6’2″, 205-pound size, running a 100-meter dash in under 11 seconds. The Ducks are pretty deep at the cornerback position, but with the possibility of Thomas Graham, Jr. leaving for the draft at the end of the season and Jevon Holland soon after that, Ringo would be a huge pickup.

This opportunity for Oregon to score their second five-star recruit in as many years shows how far the program has come in a short time in terms of recruiting.

Former Oklahoma Sooner commit Dontae Manning is the next major recruit the Ducks will be hosting, on November 16 along with the Arizona Wildcats. Manning is a four-star cornerback from Kansas City, Mo. With eight cornerbacks on the roster and the official visits of Ringo and Manning, it’s no secret that the Ducks are trying to develop this position for the future.

This is yet another instance where the Ducks are battling with other elite teams for a highly touted recruit. The 247sports Crystal Ball has Texas A&M as the favorite, but that could easily change after his visit to Eugene.

Manning is being courted by programs across the country.

Manning announced on twitter this week that he would be taking his final official visits to Georgia, Oregon and Pac-12 rival Arizona State. Manning is the nation’s number three cornerback and would be a huge score for the Ducks.

Manning verbally committed to the Sooners during spring ball, but decided to re-evaluate his options, decommitting and releasing his new top 10 in a Tweet on October 8. It wasn’t expected that he would give the Ducks a serious look, but scheduling an official visit to Eugene says otherwise. According to an Oregonlive article by Andrew Nemec, Manning posted on one of his social media pages that “Oklahoma will remain a top school of mine, but I feel the need to explore my options and take a closer look at other universities.” This definitely blows the recruitment of Manning wide open.

The 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback’s specs are second to none. A 247sports evaluation describes Manning as “a multi-year starter at the Power 5 level with the upside of developing into an all-conference player and potential early round NFL Draft pick.” Manning also possesses 4.4 40-yard dash speed and has experience returning kicks. Manning is also a track star at Raytown High School; to the surprise of no one, the Ducks continue their trend of attracting multi-sport athletes.

Coach Mario Cristobal doesn’t have “National Recruiter of the Year” listed on his resume by accident. Since he began at Oregon, he has had the ability to alter the night skies: what used to be three-star visits have now become four-star commits. Scoring five-star recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux last year has opened the door to going after the upper echelon in the recruiting pool. Ringo and Manning are just a couple more names to add to the list of highly sought-after recruits who are putting the Ducks on their short list for consideration.

Oregon’s newfound ability to recruit players who are capable of playing at a top level immediately is putting the Ducks in the middle of the Pac-12 championship — and the national — conversation.

Cameron Johansson
Eugene, Oregon                                                                                                                                                                  Top Photo from Twitter


Bob Rodes, the Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.

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