Dan Lanning: Best First Year Recruiting Class for ANY Oregon HC?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Recruiting

That is a very tall title…better than Mike Bellotti? Better than Chip Kelly or Mark Helfrich? Better than the recruiting monster Mario Cristobal? We have signings to record up through tomorrow, (the end of this signing period) and possibly in the February signing period as well. But if this is not the best–it will be one of the best first-year recruiting class by any head football coach at the University of Oregon. As much fun as automaty online is, I had to pull away long enough to analyze this first recruiting class of Coach Dan Lanning.

Now my criteria for measuring is different than most, as the long-time readers of FishDuck will know. I do not look at the class ranking compared to other teams, as that can be skewed by a school simply signing more players. What I look at is the number of 4-Star and 5-Star players in this class to determine the quality of talent that will help Oregon win. Years ago I determined that you needed at least eight per year to keep the team in a respectable challenging position, thus my minimum goal each year of the coveted players.

Since I am comparing stats to the past–I must use Rivals.com because the long-term stats at 247 are poisoned. How? Scout.com was bought by 247, and all the historical data was passed along to 247, but the problem was–Scout.com was owned by a damn Husky who would routinely downgrade Oregon verbals, and upgrade Washington verbals. It was not every time, but often enough to taint the numbers going back as Oregon always had more 4-Star and 5-Star players than Scout.com would give us credit for.

And being a 4-Star or 5-Star on Rivals has always been a little harder, and still is. So, I use Rivals due to the historical consistency, as I have no axe to grind for them.

Penei Sewell blocks down and Verdell cuts off of it_Tom Corno.jpg

Tom Corno

Penei Sewell exemplifies the importance of recruiting talent as he blocked down, and CJ Verdell cuts off of it in 2019.

Now how did the coaches of the past do? It goes without saying that Coaches Brooks and Bellotti did not have stellar first year classes, and you will see with a minimum of 14 of these 4&5-Star recruits already signed, (with two more verbals to get their LOIs in, and five other 4&5-Star recruits we are pursuing) Coach Lanning has already done better in his first year than the best years of Coaches Bellotti and Chip Kelly, and has tied Coach Cristobal. (See image below)

I do not regard last year as Coach Lanning’s first class because it was Cristobal’s class that he was trying to rescue. We have to look at a head coach’s first class where he had a year to fully recruit and get acquainted with the prospects. They are indicated below with the * next to the coach in his first full recruited class.

Right now with 14 signed of these 4&5-Star players for 2023,  (with two more verbals to get their LOIs in, and five other 4&5-Star recruits we are pursuing) and as many as 15+ total possible between today, tomorrow and February…Coach Lanning will tie or beat Coach Cristobal’s recruiting record for his first year.

Data from Rivals.com

In bold above are the number of 4-Star and 5-Star players signed each year.

I am still struck by how Lanning beat the best of most previous coaches in just his first year, and has matched the recruiting monster (Cristobal) for being the best recruiter. It does make you wonder that with a few years of interfacing with recruits and parents-that he might someday beat Cristobal’s incredible record of 19 of these coveted players in one year?

Screenshot of 247 Video

Ajani Cornelius, a portal transfer tackle was another key recruit signed Wednesday by Dan Lanning.

Of course many of us ask what we want in a head football coach? I want a coach who has a good game plan, excellent in-game adjustments, superb player development, an offense that is exciting and scores a ton of points. That does not describe Coach Cristobal, as recruiting is all he can hang his hat on. But if Lanning can do all those other things, and recruit as well as Cristobal?

We will see a ton of winning in Autzen. Do give me your thoughts in the forum-with-decorum because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Joe Jackson Jr.

FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…

Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!