NOT Playoff Worthy? How CLOSE Is Oregon Recruiting Versus the Elites?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

There has been a ton of discussion about another great year of Mario Cristobal recruiting, the impact on the long term and whether it will have an immediate effect with the next football season. First, I believe it makes sense to take a close look at this past February’s signing class and determine how it ranks in the history of Oregon football recruiting. As you can see below, this is the best three year stretch of recruiting ever in all of recorded recruiting.

We see that the 2020 class tied for second all-time with the 2007 and 2018 classes for the number of coveted 4-Star and 5-Star players, yet the average quality per player set a new record. A couple of 5-Star players will move that upwards, but it also depends upon the concentration (or lack thereof) signing with other schools.

Let’s Look at the Recent Year-To-Year Results From

The bottom line is that it’s another top-ten recruiting class that is laying the base for fun football ahead for Oregon fans! What Cristobal has done in the recruiting arena almost defies description or belief from some of us Greybeard age fans who have been around the program a long time. He has raised the recruiting bar higher than ever thought possible, and demonstrates to all head coaches who follow him what can be done in Eugene, Oregon.

And some feel this bar could get raised higher yet?

Players like Micah Pittman are the core of future wins at Oregon.

For Oregon football fans, this is the-best-of-recruiting-times, and one that we are soaking up and savoring as we ponder the future with so many studs brought in over the last three years. For most of us observing … this has to be the beginning of our own National Championship run, the elusive prize that we have come so close to so many times? You cannot win it without great recruiting and great coaching and now–with the elite coaches in place to mentor some of the nation’s best talent, is now our ‘Natty run?

Looking at the chart above–my pondering of that question left me with an absolute “yes” for an answer, because an elite Offensive Coordinator in Joe Moorhead joining DC Andy Avalos merged with the best three years of recruiting has to be the Ducks’ best chance at acquiring the coveted trophy. Right?

Then I began to wonder about how we are recruiting versus the acknowledged elite of college football … are we in striking range to make our move? A couple of top-ten recruiting ranking finishes is the formula for making our NC run, and Our Beloved Ducks have achieved this, so how do we rank in recruiting against the best over the same period?

Perhaps Juwan Johnson versus Utah was not a good indicator?

Examining the results are sobering….

Oregon Recruiting versus the Elites 2018-2020

Above is a chart comparing Oregon to the established and acknowledged elites of recent college football and you can see their recruiting over the last three years compared to the Ducks. There are some that feel this chart above is disconcerting, and that there should be a lot more harrumphing than has surfaced thus far from Oregon fans. Perhaps we have simply not been aware of the chart above and how the Ducks are actually falling behind the national elites in recruiting?

A couple of things jump out at me in my first glance at the chart above:

  • Georgia is a ticking time-bomb for college football; you cannot amass that amount of talent and not achieve numerous titles eventually.
  • Good gosh Alabama is not going away.
  • Clemson has the 5-stars to keep them at the top.
  • The Playoff system is creating the “Semi-Pro” teams as we feared, with the rest of us left behind?
  • To break into the Playoffs–the Ducks would need Top-5 recruiting classes consistently. Too much for even Cristobal?
  • Is Oregon finishing at No. 5 or No. 6 in the final end-of-season polls about as good as we can expect in this new environment?

Is the Rose Bowl as good-as-it-gets?

Wait a minute … does this mean that the Ducks actually achieved their peak, the best that they can do with the recent Rose Bowl win? The truth is that the elite teams also have elite coaching, and also elevate their 3-Star players upward due to superior mentoring at their campuses. Thus, the fans of the Ducks cannot claim exclusive coaching of under-rated players; it happens everywhere, especially at the top.

So, is the upside of University of Oregon limited from this point … even with the best three years of recruiting?

There are a ton of topics here to ponder over the months from this revelation, and frankly–I am too stunned at the moment to list all of them. It is a ton to process in terms of the overall implications to Oregon football, the Pac-12 and college football in total.

Does Oregon still have its shot?

Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Truong Nguyen

Chris Brouilette, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.

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