Big-Ten Bound Ducks Hot on the Recruiting Trail

Ryan Robertson Editorials

Seventeen days before early signing day and Oregon appears to be in a fantastic spot on the recruiting front. Currently sitting at second in the Big-Ten, how is the Ducks current class preparing them for the move to their new conference?

Class Strengths

Adding more pass rushers has been a key in this class. (Photo by Tom Corno)

Perhaps the most important position for Oregon to improve at, defensive back, sees the team with several strong commitments right now; Dakota FieldsAaron Flowers, Sione Laulea, and Ify Obidegwu are all highly coveted recruits who will likely contend for playing time right away in Eugene. Laulea in particular coming from the JuCo ranks is poised to be a potential impact player on a defense who needs more depth at cornerback.

The Ducks front seven is also getting several major impact players. The headliners are five stars Aydin Breland and Elijah Rushing, but Oregon has several other players in the front seven who are sure to be big-time athletes during their time in Eugene. Currently, nine of the 24 committed players are in the front seven.

Overall, the defensive recruiting effort has been top notch this season, with eight of Oregon’s top ten ranked recruits being on that side of the ball. Ensuring the team builds not only quality starters, but also depth, on defense is key Being able to stop the run against Michigan while also having the defensive backs to contend with Ohio State, Washington, and USC is of significant importance, and it appears that Dan Lanning knows it.

Oregon needs to get better at the point of attack to compete in the Big-Ten. (Photo by Tom Corno)

Offensive line is also producing solid returns for the Ducks. JacQawn McRoy and Fox Crader are both in the top 200 players in 247 sports rankings while Devin Brooks and Trent Ferguson provide some depth to the group.

Wide receiver sees four players committed to Oregon, with them in a strong position for a fifth player. Assuming Troy Franklin declares for the draft, and a couple of other players hit the transfer portal, Oregon needs to add the depth to their group seen in the class right now.

Getting a quarterback in every class has become increasingly important with the advent of the transfer portal. Building a strong QB room is almost impossible, so having enough players to field the team ends up being the primary concern. Luke Moga is currently committed to the Ducks, and the three star has been outspoken about his love for the team on social media. Bringing in a player to fill out the room who wants to be on the team is vital in this day and age. Hopefully Moga is able to eventually get himself into games, putting that enthusiasm to good use!

What Needs Work

If Bucky Irving goes pro, Oregon will be thin at running back. (Photo by Tom Corno)

When your class ranks seventh in the country, there are rarely many glaring holes. That being said, there are a couple of areas where the Ducks could stand to add another player or two to the class.

The Oregon tight end room hasn’t been injured this season. That seems like a major development, because the Ducks don’t have much in the way of depth at the position this year. With A.J. Pugliano committing during the conference championship game on Friday, the Ducks finally have a player in the mix. However, If Terrance Ferguson declares for the NFL draft like some people think he will, Oregon could be in just as much of a tight situation come next season. Adding a transfer at the position would go a long way toward shoring up the depth.

Running back could also do with another player. Currently only Da’Jaun Riggs is slated to sign in a few weeks, and he is expected to take a year or two to develop. Bucky Irving is a strong contender to enter the draft as well, and with Noah Wittington coming off of a major injury, Oregon would do well to bring in another young back. Fortunately Jordan James should be back, and he has been outstanding all season, additionally the Ducks were able to get their two true freshman some repetitions throughout the season, so they should have some depth, provided no one transfers out. Adding another back would end that concern right now.

Kicker has mostly been a disaster this season. After briefly turning his career around, Camden Lewis has reverted to struggling throughout the season. Given his struggles, it is surprising that Grant Meadors hasn’t been given an opportunity to kick once or twice. If the coaching staff doesn’t see him as better than what Lewis has been this season, Oregon needs to focus on adding someone who can take over kicking duties.

How They Stack Up

Oregon’s coaches know how important recruiting is. (Photo by Tom Corno)

As stated above, Oregon is ranked second in the Big-Ten for 2024 recruiting rankings. Only Ohio State is ahead of the Ducks, and their pair of five-star wide receivers are going to terrorize the conference for years to come. Fortunately, Lanning has recruited the secondary well. If he is able to develop the young defensive backs coming in alongside the ones already on the roster, Oregon will be in a strong position to contend with the Buckeyes.

On the other hand, the front seven recruiting is on another level in Eugene at the moment. After getting pushed around on the defensive line against Washington on Friday, it is imperative that Oregon continue to improve not only along the trenches, but on the second level of their defense as well. Adding the level of talent coming in is vital entering a conference where teams are known for knocking each other around on the lines of scrimmage.

Any concerns are currently on the offensive side of the ball, where Oregon needs to keep adding playmakers and lineman in order to score on the coveted defenses of their new conference. The increase in physicality in the Big-Ten also ensures that Oregon needs to continue adding quality depth to their roster, or risk running out of gas in late October every year.

No doubt, Lanning is aware of any potential issues in the class, and is planning to address them in the soon-to-open transfer portal. Hopefully he can find his next wave of guys there.

Ryan Robertson
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Top Photo By Tom Corno

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