Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning has been impressing everyone with the portal transfers brought in, and the recruiting of freshmen for 2023. At one time the recruiting class for 2022 was a dumpster fire from all the defections after Coach Mario Cristobal left, and the current coaching staff was thrown into a near-impossible situation. I was having some fun going over the best betting sites, when I began to ponder a bit about the final look of the 2022 class–and was surprised. Let’s take a look…
At one point when Coach Lanning took over–we only had three of the coveted 4 or 5-Star athletes (on Rivals.com) out of the class signed. Now keep in mind that with all the terrific recruiting done by the prior staff in recent years–Oregon has a boatload of very young talent. While a great class would be nice, a class of “projects” would fit in just fine, and if there was ever a year for that, 2022 was it.
I like the looks of a couple of 3-Star players such as Trejon Williams, a 6’0″ defensive back out of Portland who wowed a ton of observers. I also really like the 6’6″ 327 pound offensive lineman, Kawika Rogers, who was under the radar as he played on a smaller team on an outer island (Kauai) away from such powerhouses such St. Louis on Oahu. My favorite project is Justius Lowe from Lake Oswego, 6’1″ receiver with blurring football speed. These are the kind of players that Oregon won the conference with under Rich Brooks, Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly, and I was quite comfortable with this class.
I was also taking into account that these days the players are being recruited by a coaching staff for years before deciding, and the Lanning staff had none of the familiarity with the recruits. There was none of the essential legwork done from many recruit visits, and none of the usual relationship building that takes so much time to establish. A new coach is in a much bigger hole in rescuing a recruiting class than just five years ago, and I was taking that into account with my judgment of the 2022 class signed.
The Ducks ended up with the No. 24 ranking on Rivals, of which is needed to stay competitive with the elites when you consider that it would be an “off” year. However that ranking shot up from where it was in the 60s and 50s originally as the Ducks finished with seven of the coveted 4 and 5-Star players, putting them in the Top 25 for 2022 recruiting. Now my criteria for a “good” recruiting year is defined as eight of the 4 and 5-Star players on Rivals, and Lanning just about pulled it off.
Keep in mind that Helfrich did eight only once, and the best that Chip or Bellotti did was as many as 12 in one year. I have to salute him, because Mari (I leave it out because he doesn’t know what to do with the “O“) started with 12 of these coveted players in his first class, then had 14, then 12, and achieved the monster class of 2021 with 19 of these amazing players signing with Oregon to finish No. 3 in the nation on Rivals. Again, that came from years of work building relationships that paid off in Cristobal’s fourth recruiting class.
This was Just the Start?
I don’t know if anyone could have pulled off such a feat between the high school players recruited, and the amazing talent he pulled from the portal. Recall that Willie Taggart had a Top-5 recruiting class at Oregon before he left and the 12 signed for the 2018 class was what Cristobal was able to retain. I believe Lanning started with a smaller amount, and made up a ton with the short time he had to work with. I am not going to list all the portal transfers to Oregon, as fans already know them–but they sure met a lot of our needs.
In the process, the level of recruiting skill in the staff that Coach Lanning attracted is being demonstrated already as, “greatness and weakness emerge early,” with so many recruiting coups in a few short months. OL Coach Adrian Klemm getting Dave luli from Washington and USC, and then sticking the dagger with another Washington native in 5-Star Josh Conerly is pretty heady results without any of the groundwork done.
The receiver coach Junior Adams, has been killing it with attracting 6’5″ WR Kyler Kasper for the 2022 class and Jurrion Dickey for the 2023 class, and all done playing catch-up to all the opposing coaching staffs. These coaches have been operating with more than one-arm tied behind their back, but have impressed Oregon fans and dismayed our Pac-12 rivals in Los Angeles and Seattle.
The coach who has been killing it the most on the recruiting trail is probably the one Oregon fans knew the least about. Who is going to pay attention to a coach from Western Kentucky? We should, as Carlos Locklyn has nearly brought as many highly rated running backs in a few months than the prior running back coach did in a few years. Jordan James, a Georgia flip, Noah Whittington a transfer from Western Kentucky, Mar’kiese ‘Bucky’ Irving, a surprising transfer from Minnesota, and now winning the 2023 battle for a big-back in Dante Dowdell from Mississippi? Whew!
Good gosh, what will these coaches do when they have a couple of years of relationship building with the best players of the 2024 and 2025 classes? Throw in some good success on the football field and a “buzz” about the program, and it makes me quite excited about the future while acknowledging Lanning’s first recruiting class for 2022 was better than I originally thought. It is going to be great fun to watch and discuss on “the forum with decorum” because…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
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Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
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