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Torres' Take

July 16, 2019
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Welcome to another edition of Torres’ Take.

With recruiting still in a bit of a lull, this week’s feature will pay a little bit more attention to the current football team. College football media days are upon us, and and that means it's time to really dig into the upcoming season and have some serious discussions about who’s looking good.

However, there is some activity on the recruiting front with the Ducks, so let’s dive into it first.

Alex Harrison

With Josh Fryar now off the board and off to Ohio State, the Ducks had to readjust a bit in their offensive line recruiting. One guy they’ve been pretty interested in for a while is Viewmont (Utah) prep Alex Harrison.

Rated a 3-star (0.8593 per the 247 Sports Composite), the offer sheet for the 6-4, 310-pounder won’t blow you away. But Mario Cristobal hasn’t been shy in the past about taking guys he is confident can develop into solid contributors.

Harrison's offers include Utah, USC and Washington State, and he has taken recent visits to Arizona State, BYU, Utah and USC. Oregon is definitely in the picture, as Harrison keeps in almost daily contact with the staff, most notably coach Alex Mirabal and Cristobal.

The dialogue between the two parties has progressed as of late, and the Utah product will be in Eugene for the Saturday Night Live camp July 27. He plans to release a list of his top six schools and from there determine his official visits; he said he plans to take all of the allotted five.

Quay Evans

As we’ve seen with Stephen Sings, the Ducks are mining the South for talent, particularly along the defensive front.

That recruiting tactic could be attributed to the coaching staff wanting to explore the big body types more commonly found in that region. Southerners are just different from the guys out West, and they often play some pretty hefty competition.

One guy Jhop told us to keep our eyes on a couple of months back is Quay Evans. Hailing from Chester (S.C.) the 6-2, 280-pound defensive lineman is rated a 3-star (0.8299 on the 247 Sports Composite).

While Evans' offer sheet is a little bit underwhelming, he’s received some interest close to home, including offers from such schools as North Carolina, West Virginia and UCF. Things have moved forward with Evans, and it appears he will be in town for SNL later this month.

As of right now, it seems he will be joined in Eugene by his mother, father and brother. It had looked like this was going to be an official visit, but recent revelations found the NCAA does not permit officials on that weekend.

We’ll have to monitor this one and see what comes of it.

Jason Harris

One Western state where Oregon has made a priority this cycle is Arizona, home to such prospects as Kelee Ringo, Jaylan Jeffers and Jason Harris. With 220 pounds distributed over a 6-7 frame, Harris offers a unique blend of size and athleticism, highlighted by his ability to run, jump and change direction on a dime.

Rated a 4-star (0.9402 per 247 Sports Composite), Harris has had three programs stick out in his recruitment: Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. He was in town to visit the Ducks in early May, and has since taken visits to Colorado and Arizona -- the latter being of the official variety.

Arizona could have a bit of a leg up on the Ducks, as Harris' father spent his college days in Tucson and his brother is a current Wildcat. Harris has been attending Arizona games for a while now; he attributes some of his interest to the presence of defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei.

Harris said he plans on using all of his remaining four officials, with one already being set up for mid-October to visit the Aggies of Texas A&M in College Station.

Justin Herbert

The Ducks’ signal caller has received considerable attention as of late after being added to multiple preseason watch lists, including the Maxwell Award for the top all-around player in college and the Davey O’Brien award, given to the nation’s top quarterback.

While being on all of these watch lists is great publicity for the program, it won't win Oregon a single game. What I mean by that is that, like many of you, I am looking for Eugene’s golden boy to take that “next step.”

I’m looking for Herbert to take over a game, to really be on point and rally the team behind him. He needs to make the correct reads, adjust the offense and consistently make the NFL-level throws that have put him at the top of various 2020 mock drafts.

One statistical category where I’m looking for Herbert to improve is his completion percentage. He could do only so much last year, what with the dropsies that plagued Oregon’s receiving corps, but it’d be really encouraging to see him approach 70%, or at least the upper 60s, after he topped out last year at 59%.

Yes, Herbert’s been solid. But let’s see him dominate, help the Ducks run up the score on some teams – and maybe even get Tyler Shough some valuable minutes to prepare himself for the post-Herbert era.

Troy Dye

Like Herbert, Troy Dye was is receiving preseason hype. Dye was added to the Bednarik watch list, a trophy awarded annually to the top defensive player in college football.

While Dye's focus this season isn't likely to be winning national awards, he will surely be cognizant of another honor – becoming Oregon’s career leader in tackles; he needs 121 more to surpass the nearly 50-year-old mark set by Thomas Graham. Dye has lead the team in tackles every year since joining the Ducks in 2016, and he recorded back-to back 100-tackle seasons in each of the last two years.

True Duck fans will recall that Dye came to Oregon as a safety before adding weight to his 6-4 frame to be one of the more mobile linebackers at 225 pounds. I think his change of position and success at Oregon can serve as a great recruiting point for the Ducks, as the program has developed him into what some are projecting to be a first-round linebacker.

One obstacle the team has faced in recent years on the recruiting trail is its record of putting players into the NFL. Winning isn’t the only thing recruits look at; they want to be developed.

Troy Dye is a glowing example of developing a former 3-star recruit into a tackling machine.

Breakout candidates

In case you haven’t seen it, Jhop recently debuted a new feature on ScoopDuck. The “breakout candidate” list projects who he thinks could burst onto the scene for Oregon in a big way for 2019.

Not all 15 names on the list are ones you’d expect, but the feature allows you to discuss with other Duck fans which names to watch heading into the season. Best of all, it is free, and who wants to miss out on free Scoop?

Of the talents featured so far, Jhop and I are very intrigued with JR Waters. He brings much-needed size to the wide receiver room, and he has great ball skills. I’ll have my eye on him this summer and into the fall as Oregon looks to follow somewhat of a trend we’ve seen at the powerhouse programs in football: adding length across the board.

Oregon hasn’t had much size at the receiver position since Darren Carrington, who was 6-3 and lit up the scoreboard in the 2015 Rose Bowl. Maybe Waters doesn’t start right away, but at the very least this group of receivers will raise the level of competition on offense and provide the defense with some great looks for scouting the conference’s opponents in 2019.

Pac-12 Media Days

Like many of you, I’ll read any content related to the Oregon Ducks football team. Along those lines, Herbert and Dye will accompany Cristobal to Los Angeles on July 24 to preview what the Ducks have in store in 2019.

Dye and Herbert are both class acts, and I expect them to represent the Ducks well. Apart from that, I’m wondering if any of the Pac-12’s many flaws as a conference will be discussed.

Recruits have cited the officiating as a major knock on the conference, and we all know Commissioner Larry Scott has irked fans with his management of the Pac-12 Network. What steps can the commish and the conference take to bring the Pac back.

 
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