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Oregon Football Recruiting

Torres' Take

July 9, 2019
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It’s been a a quieter week, as you might expect during the recruiting “dead period,” and as a result we haven’t seen any recent visitors or new commitments. However, that doesn’t mean that things are slowing down on the recruiting trail.

Here's my view of what’s buzzing in the Oregon football world.

Johnny Wilson

It’s no secret the Ducks are hot on the trail of the elite 6-6 pass catcher from Calabasas High in Southern California. The 5-star (0.9860 on the 247Sports Composite) is simply one of the top targets left on Oregon’s board.

Oregon made Wilson's top 5 schools earlier this year, and he followed that decision with a visit to Eugene for the Spring Game. There were rumblings at the time of a possible commitment, especially in subsequent weeks when 4-star quarterback Jay Butterfield decided to join the Ducks.

However, Wilson has slowed down his recruitment and announced that he will be committing sometime during his senior season. He’s made some progress on his decision, as he narrowed his list to four -- eliminating Ohio State.

While Oregon might well still be the team to beat, I’d say the race has heated up a lot since his spring visit to Oregon; Texas is applying a lot of pressure and gaining steam. Wilson visited Austin twice in the past three weeks and even went as far as to delay his return on his second trip because he was enjoying it so much, according to Longhornswire.

Also working in the Longhorns’ favor is 6-6 wide receiver Collin Johnson, who elected to return for his senior season and is viewed by many as a top pass-catching prospect in next year’s NFL draft. When a player with a nearly identical body type has had that much success in Austin, it’s certainly something Oregon has to overcome.

However, not all the news surrounding Wilson is bad. He has kept strong communication with his former teammate, current Oregon wide receiver Mycah Pittman -- giving the Ducks a peer recruiter on the inside.

The Ducks also will feature a jumbo receiver of their own with NFL ambitions: 6-4 Penn State transfer Juwan Johnson. Expect Wilson to keep a close eye on Johnson's season.

Wilson is slated to visit Eugene on July 27 for the annual Saturday Night Lights camp – traditionally a big commitment weekend. Wilson also received a Crystal Ball prediction to Oregon this week from Notre Dame insider Tom Loy.

Oregon fans can hope that SNL trip goes well and the Ducks can make up some ground before Wilson starts taking official visits in the fall.

***What’s Next for Wilson?***

CJ Stroud

Oregon landed Jay Butterfield in early May, and many thought the program's search for 2020 quarterbacks was over. That could end up being the case, but with Justin Herbert heading to the NFL next year, Oregon wants to maximize its options for replacing him.

The coaches were upfront in telling Butterfield that they were all in on DJ Uiagalelei, but when the St. John Bosco standout picked Clemson, Butterfield didn’t waste time in locking down his spot. Bearing that in mind, Oregon fans are justified in wondering how the Ducks' newest QB target – CJ Stroud – might react to the idea of competing with Butterfield – and vice versa.

Rated a 3-star prospect (0.8739 per the 247Sports Composite), Stroud recently blazed his way into the national spotlight by being named MVP at the 2019 Elite 11 competition. Oregon hasn’t offered him just yet, but he already holds offers from such schools as Michigan State, Baylor, Boise State and Utah.

If the Ducks do offer, they could have the wind at their backs. They have opened a bit of a pipeline to Rancho Cucamonga High, where current Ducks Jaylon Redd and Sean Dollars attended.

It is a big story to follow. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stroud visits Eugene sooner rather than later.

2020 check-in

There were a lot of commitments as spring turned to summer, with the most recent being 3-star OL Marcus Harper.

A lot of the most recent pledges were 3-stars -- maybe more than fans would have hoped. But remember: Not every athlete can be a Day 1 contributor; some recruits need time to develop. Clearly, Oregon believes it has landed some more sleepers, along the lines of 3-stars Jackson LaDuke and Trey Benson.

LaDuke is a great hitter who’s always involved with the play. Benson is a grossly underrated back who is a great combination of size and speed.

Measured in sheer numbers, a 15-member class is a great spot to be in at this point. A couple of more guys are likely to pull the trigger around SNL. Then you really put the full-court press on guys high up on your wish list (I'm looking at you Noah Sewell, Sav’ell Smalls and Kelee Ringo).

Also – and I know nobody wants to hear it – but there are likely to be some guys Oregon doesn’t hang on to. Just keep in mind that every defection opens a spot for another good prospect.

It’s been said many times, but this staff is working its tail off. You can bet they have backup options in mind should they experience attrition or miss out on some targets.

Jaydn Ott

The lone Oregon commit for 2022, Norco running back Jaydn Ott, has announced he will transfer to national power Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.

Oregon has had some success recruiting at Gorman, most recently with 2019 defensive end Treven Ma’ae. I’m not sure if Ott will start at Gorman right away; he will join a position group that already features a rising senior in 4-star Ikaika Ragsdale and fellow rising sophomore Cam Barfield.

Gorman gets much more national exposure than does Norco, with many of Gorman’s players holding D1 offers. Ott will find himself going up against better competition; it will be interesting to see what he makes of the opportunity.

Stephen Sings

I spoke recently with the 2020 linebacker and North Carolina pledge, who said he was really excited about his upcoming visit to Oregon. Unfortunately, the 3-star (0.85 on 247) won’t be in town for SNL, which would have given the staff the chance to build off of that atmosphere.

The Charlotte (N.C.) athlete wouldn’t give me a lot of specifics about what he likes about the Oregon program – he's never been to Eugene – but he repeatedly mentioned that the Ducks are his dream school. He’s been rooting for them since he was little, watching them on TV -- but we’ve heard that story from players a lot.

The difference with Sings is that he would be coming all the way across the country to join the flock, which could speak to how genuine his interest in the Ducks really is. Apart from Oregon, he’ll be visiting one SEC power as well as a rising ACC team.

A full ScoopDuck update is on the way, so that’ll have to do for now.

Elijah Badger

The Northern California native has been on the cusp of committing to the Ducks for a while now, and the dialogue with the staff remains strong.

At 6-1 and 185 pounds, the 4-star (0.9138) is listed as a receiver by 247 Sports. But he could also become a larger defensive back, which seems to be the Oregon staff preference. He also could end up committing under the “athlete” designation, giving him some more flexibility to play either side of the ball.

The Ducks lead for his commitment, with Oregon holding all three of the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. The most recent pick came in early May from Ducks 247 insider Matt Prehm.

Our own insider Jhop has been beating the drum for the Folsom High star for a while. And with the recent commitments of Roman Wilson (Michigan) and Matt Sykes (UCLA) -- and with Brenden Rice looking like a Michigan lean -- the opportunity is there for Badger to lock up his spot in Eugene.

Jonah Tauanu’u

Like many of you, I found myself refreshing the ScoopDuck forums daily to see if the seemingly never ending saga of Tauan'u's admission had been squared away.

Well folks, it’s finally happened. The highly coveted Southern California lineman is enrolled in classes and cleared to participate in the football program along with his fellow 2019 commits.

A lot of drama preceded the offensive lineman's arrival, including a late push by USC (sound familiar?). It was crucial that the Ducks hang on to Tauanu'u, as they are set to lose four of their starting five offensive linemen after this season.

The 4-star (0.9695) could see some meaningful reps this year depending on how the games shake out. And that would only prepare him for a much larger role as a sophomore or redshirt freshman.

Not only that, but Tauanu'u is a valued peer recruiter from Southern California powerhouse Narbonne. The recruiting battle against USC and UCLA never really ends; the Ducks need to continue winning these battles if they want to return to stardom.

 
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