Recruiting Update: Oregon Owns the West

Mark Flores Recruiting 31 Comments

The summer recruiting cycle, the year of our lord 2020; Oregon is navigating uncharted waters in the recruiting river. The past two decades have seen a monumental shift in how the business of college football is undertaken and in the present, few programs are excelling quite like our beloved Ducks.

Gone are the days of “…maybe a solid core of three stars recruits will get us by.” Gone are the days of “…wow, we have a couple of four stars coming!” Gone are the days of “…we’re in the mix for a five star!?!?

Yes my friends, gone are those days!

One cannot stress the importance of what is transpiring on the Oregon recruiting pond. Pipe dreams have become reality and Eugene’s newest pledge is evidence of a blossoming collegiate superpower. Much has been made of our southern neighbors recent decline and the lengths that Oregon’s coaching staff has gone to plant a green and yellow banner in the heart of Los Angeles.

That banner, now more than ever, waves strongly in the hearts and minds of the west coast’s elite.

The aforementioned southern California prospect plucked from the tree, strong-side defensive lineman Keanu Williams (4-Star/Clovis, CA), further solidified Joe Salave’a’s position group with his commitment this past Saturday.

I want to sweat equity, speak into existence, and work into reality. I will be furthering my academic and athletic career at (the) University of Oregon,” said Williams.

A junior standing 6’5 and checking in at 295 lbs., Williams fits the mold of an athletic trench defender who can pursue in space when called upon.

His addition to the stable speaks volumes of the point-man (Salave’a) who led his recruitment, beginning with very early interaction in the recruiting cycle.

Twitter

Defensive lineman Keanu Williams committed to Oregon over USC, UCLA, and Stanford.

Our relationship is (based around) development and getting better as a person and a player. We both want (for me) to be successful on the field,” said Williams. “He really is going for (my) development as a young man.”

Oregon beat out USC, UCLA, and Stanford for the California-based prep in the latest installment of the Duck’s one-sided recruiting battle with the west coast.

Not to be outdone, however, was head coach Mario Cristobal’s latest incursion into his former SEC stomping grounds. Wide receiver Isaiah Brevard (4-Star/Southaven, MS) had been a long-speculated Oregon lean and made his intentions known on Independence Day choosing Oregon over the likes of Georgia, Texas A&M, and Florida State.

“…I’d like to thank God for allowing me to play the game that I love. I would like to thank my family, coaches, and teachers for helping me through this process. With that being said, I (will) be finishing my education and academic(s) for the three to four years at the University of Oregon,” said Brevard.

A big body receiver at 6’4, 200 lbs., Brevard will have the ability to become a premier outside threat and take over redzone situations with his size.

Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

Wide receiver Isaiah Brevard added his talents to Oregon’s incoming receiver corps.

Oregon’s count at wide-receiver now stands at three with that of Brevard and fellow commits Troy Franklin (5-Star/Menlo Park, CA) and Kyron Ware-Hudson (4-Star/Santa Ana, CA).

The long-standing saga that is 2020 No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman (5-Star/Corona, CA) continues to develop with his recent announcement that includes seven programs he will be considering moving forward.

Taking on the who’s who of college football (Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Howard, and USC), Oregon appears to be very much in the mix due to both obvious and below-the-surface wrinkles.

Foreman has long been linked with fellow defensive line blue chipper Maason Smith (5-Star/Houma, LA) and the pair have been said to be a package deal under the right circumstances. What’s of note particularly concerning Smith is how Oregon has entered the fold and appears to be commanding attention from the southeastern-based prospect. Prior to Foreman’s decommitment from Clemson early this year, Smith was not known to be seriously considering Oregon.

Via Twitter

Maason Smith prepares for a junior season playoff appearance.

That appears to have changed given the presence of Oregon in Smith’s recent Twitter announcement highlighting his program interests heading into the fall. Smith has not yet been to Oregon, but the aforementioned Foreman had much to say about his time in Eugene.

That was an amazing trip,” said Foreman. “I went with some of my teammates and we all had a great time. I visited before so I knew what to expect. When we came out of the elevator, I told my guys, ‘it’s about to get really loud’ and as soon as the doors opened, the whole staff was there screaming and yelling.”

Smith’s recent Twitter musings indicate that his eventual decision will be coming sooner than later. Expect Foreman to concurrently announce his program of choice, or very soon after, stay tuned!

Mark Flores
Salem, OR
Top Photo Credit: Kevin Cline

 

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

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Douglas Mai

Wouldn’t that shock the football world if Oregon snagged both those dude’s. Love it and see Ed Borgeron’s face after they brought him from the louisiana Mud after he tried to suffocate himself lol. Go Ducks Go Ducks!

Yankee Peddler

New subscriber here. I enjoyed your article, Mark. I will say it is a bit intimidating posting as this is obviously a very knowledgeable group. Having said that, let me jump in and say what CMC and staff are building appears to be akin to what Clemson has built. I say that in terms of “talent acquisition” and the chasm Clemson has created between themselves and the rest of the ACC.

Mack Brown appears to be resurrecting NC’s recruiting efforts, but the next tier down would be Miami and FSU who have a long way to go in the rebuilding process. The rest are Wake Forest, VA, NC State, GT, Syracuse, BC who are filled with three stars and as a result have become just games on the schedule.. We have SC and UW still in the hunt, but the talent gap is widening with the rest of the conference who will begin to look like “games on the schedule”.

This is particularly true in terms of the enormous size and physicality being built in the trenches. No where else in the conference is there anything close. Examining SC’s top 10 recruiting class this cycle and it is perfectly constructed for a 7 v 7 tourney. Most of their trench guys are low – mid 3*.

For recruiting juggernauts like Clemson, tOSU and to a lesser degree OU, it will take an upset of major proportion to keep them out of the playoff each year. If a kid goes to play in the the SEC, he could play on a top 10 team for 4 years and not get to the playoffs having to deal with UGA, Bama, LSU, , FL, Auburn and to a lesser degree A&M.

We are not there yet, but we are probably 2 top 5 classes ( ’21 & ’22 ) away from being where those three teams are each year. I’m sure this is not lost on CMC and is part of his recruiting story. It’s a nice time to be a Duck fan!

Charles Fischer

We have discussed the concept here of Oregon becoming the “Clemson of the West” with a weak conference primarily, a couple of challengers, but potentially a much clearer/easier path to the Playoffs if the recruiting continues.

But your explanation is the best I’ve seen, and like BDF below…I want to welcome you and encourage you to post your thoughts often. This is a great example of why I want to see all opinions on a topic, because often I get the opportunity to learn from others–as we did with yours. Championship post–welcome!

Yankee Peddler

Thank you, Charles!

BigDucksFan

An interesting way of looking at it Yankee, when you said the talent gap is widening with the rest of the conference who will begin to look like “games on the schedule”.” I never heard it put that way before but I think you are correct. The Ducks problem is last year we lost a game to one of those “games on the schedule”, Arizona State. Which only means for now, until we can get that mental error fixed we need to treat all games with respect.

Like you said “We are not there yet” but we’ll get there. By the way welcome, I’ve enjoyed your comment, keep them coming.

Last edited 3 months ago by BigDucksFan
duckcardinal

Delightful piece Mark, a perfect tonic for these turbulent times with a savory blend of insights and optimism.

As per the comments by Santa Rosa and 30 Duck, there are some Class Five rapids ahead for finishing and retaining the 2021 class, and I won’t sleep easily until I see all the 2020 recruits successfully enrolled.

That said, it seems UO is in as strong a position as any in the Pac12 for weathering the Covid related storm. The Moorhead, Chance, and McClendon hires have already bore fruit on the recruiting trail, and their strong histories of developing talent is no small part of that success. Even now, all three appear to be upgrades at their positions. Contrast that with the flux in staffs @ USC, ASU, UW, & UCLA and all the uncertainties that come with that.

Plus, regardless of what kind of partial – or even null – season unfolds for 2020, UO is riding on the momentum of being defending Pac12 and Rose Bowl Champions, with stirring performances in both games. USC and UCLA are in ‘make good’ seasons for both their coaching staffs. The loss of all OOC games will certainly hurt UCLA as they had 3 winnable games lined up, and USC has lost showcase games vs Bama & Notre Dame, where even good losses would have gone a long ways in validating their trajectory (though I did love the recent “gale winds out of LA” comment).

So, while it may be a Disneyland E-Ticket type ride this season, I like our chances of coming out smiling!

Last edited 3 months ago by duckcardinal
30Duck

You know, this article by Mark is great; it has acted like a great point guard, facilitating comments all over the place. Duckcardinal’s last paragraph took me back to the talk of the Ducks success under Chip being possible because USC & Washington were, “down”

Guess what? The Ducks are leading the Pac again…and USC & Washington & Stanford & UCLA and Arizona, Colorado are down. USC has actually been down since Pete jumped off the ship and found dry land in Seattle. Washington was able to snap the 12 game losing streak to Oregon when the Ducks were TOTALLY DISCOMBULATED and are even now working on another losing streak I feel Stanford is heading to pre Harbaugh & UCLA will always be a basketball school…and that currency is devalued. The fact is Oregon is on top again and looking down at everybody else.

Jon Joseph

KUOO – THE station in Eugene. THE place where lead jock, Master Mario, just keeps the hits right on a comin’.

Thanks Mark, good stuff indeed.

J Duck

Howard LOL

Jon Joseph

Keeping Cris? Consider, always on the hot seat Gus Malzahn makes $6M+ per annum at Auburn.

Best believe that Mario is on a whole bunch of big time ADs radar screens.

30Duck

Absolutely Mario is on the short list across the country, so I’m very glad that for now Mario seems to be completely invested in building Oregon into an elite program. Of course that means Oregon can’t become complacent. Ohio State kept it going after Urban left, But Oregon isn’t Ohio State. Yet.

Santa Rosa Duck

Good article to start the day Mark! We are entering a year of major upset regarding our football program. Is there a season, no season, partial season? Mario is going to have to work even harder in keeping this all together because it is quite possible that football will not happen for 12 months. Some recruits may wander. We have a great HC and we must keep him. GO DUCKS!

30Duck

There certainly is going to be an upheaval in not only our football program, but all programs. That being the case, as you stated in your post, keeping Cristobal is imperative as, with the unsteadiness, shakier programs will see recruits falling away, while those with a sturdy foundation encourage retention. In Mario I trust!

NJDuck

I agree. I am amaze as to what Cristobal and company are building at Oregon! Oregon needs to do whatever they need to do to keep them here at Oregon. They are building something very special. Go Ducks!

30Duck

Thanks very much, Mark, a 5 * article. I think you understated it a bit in your, “Gone are the days” What’s gone is the self pitying, exemplified in the attitude of the coaches that high level recruiting just wasn’t going to happen at Oregon. The local talent wasn’t deep enough, the location was too remote, on. The litany was long, Chip, “hated” to recruit.

Taggart showed that it didn’t have to be that way; and as part of his culture rebuild, Cristobal has made recruiting the foundation of the program. Columnists in LA opined about how pathetic it was to see Oregon taking the formerly preordained Trojan recruits to Eugene, Oregon! Having Oregon’s hat on the table now gives the recruit cred…and it’s absolutely gutting the Husky howlers.

Jon Joseph

And the sorry recruiting carries on in LA. Chip needed those 3 canceled, G5, OOC games.

Haywarduck

While I agree Chip didn’t like to recruit, his recruitment of DAT changed the program. We stole an elite talent from sc and turned him into a star. Taggart leveraged this success, and then Cristobal has taken it to another level, but Chip showed what a top recruit could do when they came to Oregon.

This recruiting success can be traced back a ways, not just to Taggart or Chip. The program is where we are, because of the the many who have come before (and Uncle Phil and Penny)!

Last edited 3 months ago by Haywarduck
Douglas Mai

No offense to your comment but we clearly got the better of it when slick face willie left town. That guy really didn’t do anything except blow smoke out the side of his face. So posters in the future lets try not to talk about slick face willie because that guy doesn’t deserve to be talked about and Oregon dodged a BIG Bullit on that one. Yes and none of this doesn’t ever happen if Phil Knight isn’t in on everything done here. I mean we all smell a Championship and not just in Football but all the other top sporting programs and I’m not a supporter of the rich but Mr Knight I would hope would be alive for Oregon to reach that height.

DonealDuck

Chip actually recruited quite well at Oregon. In 3 of his 4 years, he had the 12th or better class in the nation, not only bringing in DAT, but also the likes of Armstead and Buckner, NFL talents. Since then, i think his reputation has hurt him in recruiting, along with what seems to be an ever increasing ‘crusty’ manner.

You are absolutely correct that ‘Chip’ is still ‘recruiting’ better to Oregon at the present time than to his own UCLA team. There is a reason that so many of today’s high schoolers have Oregon as their ‘dream school’ from when they were impressionable kids watching the exciting Oregon team and uniforms on TV at that time.

Charles Fischer

Sorry, but I disagree. Achieving 12th when we were the hottest team in America is drastically under-performing the potential; imagine what Cristobal would have done with that.

Chip wasted what was an exemplary coaching staff at Oregon, and now he realizes at UCLA just how good the Oregon assistants were.

Haywarduck

I guess I don’t understand how Chip wasted an exemplary coaching staff? I agree he walked into a coaching staff he took advantage of, and didn’t understand how lucky he was, but he didn’t waste their talent. He actually, on the field, taught them how to coach, and prepare at a high level.

He still has a couple on those coaches on the UCLA staff and they still underperform at recruiting, as they had at Oregon before Chip got here.

I agree Cristobal has leveraged what came before at Oregon and what was at Alabama. He couldn’t do this at FIU and was fired. Cristobal is a very good fit for Oregon. He isn’t some miracle worker and I hope he doesn’t get that idea like Chip did.

Haywarduck

Didn’t mean to pile on, I can definitely agree to disagree, and admit I have been proven wrong many times. I do think it is an interesting topic of what is possible when you have a weakness, but otherwise are killing it.

Both of these coaches under discussion seem to have weaknesses which have held them back.

DonealDuck

exactly

DonealDuck

and exactly how did Chip ‘waste’ his coaching staff? It was basically the same staff as Belotti and Helfrich had, and the staff both won more games and also recruited better under Chip than under either Belotti or Helfrich. And Chip always was highly creditive to his staff. I see absolutely no evidence that Chip ‘wasted’ them.

I still credit Belotti as the ‘architect’ and original believer that Oregon could win a national championship, and it was his belief and goal of doing such that he brought Chip on staff, but there is absolutely no evidence on any front that Chip ‘wasted’ his assistants. Now Helfrich, on the other hand…..

Charles Fischer

The topic was recruiting, and in my mind–Chip did not push the staff to achieve the results he should have achieved. Finishing in the top-five in the nation multiple times on the field should have been matched by recruiting results, and it was well known that the use of Social Media was not implemented as well as other aspects with that coaching staff that should have been.

Or you and I will disagree. No big deal.

DonealDuck

Seems to me, Charles, you are criticizing Chip for not recruiting at the present ‘Mario’ level, which before Mario, no one, my guess is in reality not even you, thought was possible at Oregon. Chip’s assistants certainly did not believe it was possible to recruit to Oregon at a ‘Mario’ level, and that has been well documented.

Charles Fischer

Doneal….Chip sold them on a number of items, such as the offense, the rapid plays, the noise during practice, and he could have sold the assistants on great recruiting results. How was Willie better at that than Chip? How could that be?

Because Willie wanted to.

Tell you what Doneal….you win.

You want to win an argument, and that is not what we are about here. We share our opinions and learn from each other, because despite what each of us think….we each end up being right about half the time. I used to be pretty confident in my assertions, but have been proven wrong enough to be humbled by it all.

I do not claim to have absolute knowledge and wisdom, but if you want to–fine. You win, and we simply disagree, as it is not a big deal to me.

DonealDuck

The comparison should be to the recruiting up to that time, not to Mario. It was the best recruiting Oregon had ever had up to that time.

And most of the assistant coaches were the same assistants both Belotti and Helfrich had, which were well known to be ‘operating in the past’ as far as not only recruiting ‘systems’ but in the ‘belief’ elite recruiting could ever be achieved at Oregon, ie: see ‘Scott Frost’. There is a huge gulf of a difference in recruiting belief and ability in the assistants now as compared to who Chip inherited at Oregon.

I am not saying Chip was a great recruiter. But let’s not say how absolutely terrible he was, when he had the best recruiting classes at Oregon until Taggart and Mario cleaned house and brought in a whole new staff.

And as I stated below, Chip’s time at Oregon continues to ‘recruit’ better to Oregon today than Chip himself actually recruits to UCLA. When today’s high school kid recruits were young formative kids, Oregon was ‘Chip Hot’, and became these kids’ ‘dream school’, which iS helping MC and staff’s recruiting today.

BigDucksFan

Wow, thanks Mark for keeping us up to date with the Ducks fantastic recruiting. Recruitment at Oregon continues to be a great story that one can read about over and over and it never gets old. Great things have happened already and more are on their way.

It’s a good day to be a Duck.