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Oregon Football Recruiting

Torres Take: Ducks Impress Strong Group of Visitors

October 30, 2019
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Welcome back to Torres’ Take. This past weekend in college football had a lot of crazy storylines, including Kansas State’s major upset of Oklahoma and LSU barely hanging on to beat Auburn, which helped the Bayou Bengals rise to the top of the AP Poll.

Oregon had a big weekend on the football field as well, notching a big win over a Washington State team that had handled the Ducks four years in a row. It was a big weekend in recruiting as well, so let’s get caught up on all the action in Oregon football.

Washington State Game

Heading into Saturday night, not one player on the Oregon roster had notched a win against the Washington State Cougars. That's a bit of a shock, considering that in that time the Cougs won the Pac-12 North Division just once, a shared title last season. Mike Leach’s team is not on pace to match its performance from last year, when it won the Alamo Bowl.

Every Cougar team is different, but their offense puts up big numbers virtually every game. And Anthony Gordon swings his sword just like all of Mike Leach’s quarterbacks.

Gordon threw a pair of interceptions, bringing his total to 9, but he also had 3 touchdowns and 406 yards. In an attempt to ground WSU's Air Raid, Andy Avalos tried sending a lot of three- and four-man rushes and dropping seven or eight in coverage.

For whatever reason, that scheme generated very little pass rush; the Ducks registered only 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss. And that put more pressure on the defensive backs, as routes had time to develop.

The defense did snag those 2 interceptions, which may have proven to be the difference. One of them robbed the Cougsof 6 points, and another gave the Ducks 6 of their own after safety Jevon Holland weaved through the defense to the end zone.

Oregon's offensive line was a joy to behold all night, as it opened gaping holes that allowed CJ Verdell to gash Washington State for 257 rushing yards. He averaged 11 YARDS A POP.

Justin Herbert played great. While his nation-leading streak of 35 games with a touchdown came to an end, he showed how much of a gamer he really is.

I can’t think of the last time I saw the Ducks faced with a situation where they had such limited time and needed to fly down the field to win a game. For all of the criticism Herbert has received for being average in his statistics and risk-taking, he stepped up as a leader Saturday night; his play screamed, “Give me the ball and let’s get this thing done.”

What really stood out to me from this performance: This Oregon team is unselfish and will do whatever it takes to win. 

Steven Ortiz Jr.

The 4-star (0.9215 per the 247Sports Composite) 2021 cornerback was in Eugene for an unofficial visit. He had been here for the Spring Game, but this was his first regular season visit to Autzen.

The Arizona native told me his favorite parts of the visit were spending time with the coaching staff and the game atmosphere. He also met with Oregon players Thomas Graham Jr., DeommodoreLenoir and DaewoodDavis, and he came away impressed with the play of the defense, telling me he definitely will be back.

Ortiz has been active on the recruiting trail, making recent trips to Rutgers and Penn State. He has no other visits on the horizon at this time, but other offers on his sheet include California, Nebraska, Penn State and Rutgers.

So far this season Ortiz has logged 51 tackles, 1 interception and 6 passes broken up. You can watch his midseason highlights athttp://www.hudl.com/v/2BuG45.

Gary Bryant Jr.

The Ducks hosted the talented 4-star (0.9739 per 247) 2020 wide receiver (earlier ScoopDuck profile at https://scoopduck.com/s/3737/gary-bryant-jr-impressed-with-oregon) for the third of his five official visits.

Bryant is ranked the No. 8 wide receiver and the No. 7 player in California. Oregon finds itself battling a familiar recruiting foe in USC, but Arizona State, Oklahoma and Washington are also major contenders.

Bryant said he will use his remaining two officials at USC in November and Arizona State in December. The Ducks had their shot to make an impression, and it looks as if they gave him something to think about.

The 5-11 playmaker said he liked the tempo of the Oregon offense and how they get multiple receivers involved. Wide receiver coach Jovon Bouknightspent the most time with Bryant and has led Oregon's recruitment.

Bryant liked the vibe the coaching staff gave off and was able to go over his film with Bouknight. Being a Los Angeles native, it probably helped Oregon’s case that it had fellow SoCal product Graham serve as his host.

As mentioned, USC is the main threat to the Ducks here, and Bryant has a lot of friends on both teams. The Trojans lead his 247 Crystal Ball with 60% of his predictions.

The Ducks are in need of a speedster who can get behind defenses, and Bryant fits that bill with his 4.46 time in the 40. Over the course of the Centennial High’s season, Bryant has tallied 707 receiving yards, 35 catches and 9 receiving touchdowns.

You can check out Bryant’sjunior film here: .

Keith Brown

One of the recruits I’ve gotten to speak with the most is 2021 4-star linebacker (0.9487 on the 247Sports Composite). This was the FIFTH visit Brown has made to Oregon, and the third game he’s attended this season.

With the Lebanon athlete, it’s pretty simple. He goes to Eugene with his family all the time, and each time he comes away impressed with the staff, facilities -- everything. His mom loves the Ducks, and so does his younger brother.

Brown’s also has become great friends with 5-star linebacker Noah Sewell, and having another recruit that’s high on the Ducks more or less serves as a recruiting tool. I mean, it certainly isn’t hurting the Ducks' chances with Sewell.

Brown said he loves the family vibe at Oregon and has established great relationships with the entire staff. He told me that his conversations are super laid back and casual, as if he’s known them forever.

Brown was adamant that the Ducks weren’t his leader, and that part of the reason he visits is because they play schools he would otherwise have to travel to see. But playing games every Friday makes it difficult to take all the trips he’d like to during his season.

Apart from Oregon, UCLA and USC are the schools he hears from the most. He likes the appeal of the Los Angeles schools because they have great support for life after football -- and he has a lot of family in Los Angeles.

Brown is in a group chat with the UCLA coaches, so I’d wager he hears from them a lot – despite Chip Kelly’s famously passive recruiting approach. With his ranking, he is hoping to receive offers from such blue bloods such as Georgia, LSU and Penn State -- whom he has been talking to a lot recently.

Brown and his Lebanon Warriors are 6-3 on the season, which has them locked in for a state playoff spot. Oregon currently leads his 247 Crystal Ball with 100% of his predictions.

You can check out his sophomore highlights at .

Kyron Ware-Hudson

That last name might look a little familiar to Duck fans. That’s because he’s the brother of freshman defensive lineman Keyon Ware-Hudson.

Kyron is making a name for himself, as the 2021 4-star wideout (0.9024) holds offers from the likes of Arizona State, LSU, Mississippi State and Nebraska. Ware-Hudson told our Justin Hopkins that his first visit(reviewed at https://scoopduck.com/s/3731/kyron-ware-hudson-takes-in-first-oregon-game)  to Eugene was highlighted by the game day atmosphere, which included traditional songs and cheers.

On the field, he was intrigued by the number of subs Oregon throws in, as well as how many freshmen saw playing time at receiver. Having a family member on the team is a great bonus for the Ducks; Kyron said Keyon is loving his time at Oregon, and the best part for him has been the atmosphere and the family.

Kyron mentioned he is highly interested in Oregon, and he will be in attendance at the Oregon-USC game this weekend. Looking ahead, his 6-1 Mater Dei Monarchs are eyeing a big trip out east next summer, which would allow him to check out some of the SEC schools that have offered.

Per MaxPreps, Ware-Hudson has hauled in 36 passes for 466 yards and 7 touchdowns. You can check out his sophomore highlights at.

Injuries

As touched upon at Mario Cristobal’s Monday presser (summarized in full at https://scoopduck.com/s/3733/monday-mario-cristobal-press-conference), the Ducks are pretty healthy. Both of the Dye brothers should suit up for this weekend.

Making a return from injury in a big way last weekend was wide receiver Juwan Johnson. He absolutely FLATTENED two Washington State defenders – and diverted a third – to help pave the way for CJ Verdell’s 89-yard touchdown run. On top of that, he came up with two crucial catches on the game-winning drive.

 
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