In what as a whirlwind in the later half of February, Oregon seemingly appears to have settled in for the 2021 recruiting cycle. While the departure of cornerbacks coach Donte Williams stings on multiple levels, Oregon brings home a former member of the flock in that of up and coming position man Rod Chance.
After spending last season in Minnesota where he was key cog in the Gopher’s dramatic turn of fortunes, Chance heads back to Oregon where he held a analyst position during the 2018 season. While known for his defensive mind, Chance is also making a name for himself on the recruiting trail having been directly involved in the signatures of out-of-state prospects that would traditionally have been a stretch for Minnesota. Appearing to already hit the ground running in Eugene, Chance is building a bridge back to the heart of Ohio… more on that later.
Spring practice is upon us. With it comes Junior Day in Eugene and its no coincidence of how impactful the first weekend in March can be. Oregon’s push to keep a stranglehold on the west coast recruiting pipeline is at full tilt as some of the biggest prospects out west are on campus.
Local standout Keith Brown (4-Star) has already pledged his commitment this past November but no doubt needs to be courted util signing day. The 6’1, 220 lb. linebacker out of Lebanon, OR is rapidly making moves on national big boards after accepting an invite to the 2021 All-American Bowl. Brown will look to close out his prep career with coming fall and figures to add another star to his resume with a strong senior campaign.
Regarded as one of the nation’s top prep receivers if not the best out right, 2021-class member Emeka Egbuka (5-Star) is becoming the talk of the national recruiting scene. With some of the fastest wheels (4.42/40-time) and the ability to be a playmaker at virtually every skill position, Egbuka will look to build on what was a stellar junior season where the fleet-footed prep netted 35 total touchdowns. Oregon figures to heavily focus on Egbuka as this will be the Stealiacoom, WA product’s second visit to Eugene after being in attendance for last year’s spring game.
Fellow wide-out, Troy Franklin (5-Star), will join Egbuka over the weekend in what is shaping up to be a battle of top talent on the outside edge. While Egbuka has top-end speed, Franklin edges his competition in the creating separation and finding areas to work in tight spaces. As a junior, Franklin’s offensive production was not eye-popping but given his undeniable physical skills, will no doubt be a very potent weapon at the next level.
While not in town for this weekend’s camp, rising midwest corner Devonta Smith (4-Star) has set an official visit next month. While a great a distance separates him from Eugene, Smith’s connection to Oregon should not come as a surprise.
“Well firstly, it was a big coaching change with (Rod Chance),” said Smith. “We had the best relationship.”
Smith is a do-it-all defensive force that racked up 72 solo tackles and 5 picks to boot in a junior season capped off with a state title.
“(Oregon is) doing some big things. I’m telling if not this year, the next two years they will be in talk for the playoff run and this here is also my dream school and I can’t wait to touch down in Eugene…”
Check back next month to catch more recruiting updates and analysis of spring camp, stay tuned!
Top photo credit: Kevin Cline
Mark Flores, a Salem, OR resident, is a Firefighter/Paramedic and an avid Oregon Ducks fan. Prior to the fire service, Flores, a graduate of nearby Corban University, spent over seven years in professional journalism including a stint at the Statesman Journal in Salem and held the position of Sports Editor for the Hilltop News (Corban). A career transition however never dampened his love of writing and FishDuck is now his source to share his love of Mighty Oregon. Flores brings detailed knowledge of Oregon recruiting to the FishDuck team and welcomes your feedback.
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