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Oregon Football Recruiting

Torres' Take: Latest Oregon Recruiting News

January 1, 2020

The Ducks are in Southern California for the Rose Bowl, where they have the opportunity to make some noise. They’re also waiting on decisions from several major prospects, including one whom I believe is their best chance at adding a big-time defensive back: Dontae Manning. 

Let’s hope they can get it done Wednesday on one of football’s biggest stages. We also have some updates on a couple of recruits, so let’s get into it! 


Keanu Williams  

The front seven was a major reason the Ducks’ defense took a big step forward this year. Oregon is going to lose Gus Cumberlander to graduation and could lose Jordon Scott should he chose to declare. 

One of Oregon’s 2021 options along the defensive line is 6-5, 285-pound strong-side defensive end Keanu Williams. Our Jonathan Charles spoke with the 4-star (rated 0.9078 per the 247Sports Composite), who said he’s hearing most so far from Nebraska and Stanford. 

The Clovis (Calif.) native hasn’t been to Eugene yet, but the Oregon coaches have been down to see him. Williams said he likes the staff, and he noted that they’ve had great interactions. 

The No. 25 player in California also holds offers from such prestigious programs as Michigan, Tennessee and USC. He doesn’t appear to be eager at the moment to take early visits, preferring to do most of his exploring with his five official visits. 


Victory Vaka 

Oregon is looking to bring in another Jordon Scott-type of defensive tackle in 2021, and one possibility is 4-star (0.9246 on the 247Sports Composite) defensive lineman Victory Vaka of Westlake Village (Calif.). 

At 6-3 and 315 pounds, he possesses the requisite bulk and better length than Scott. He recently released a top-5 list that included LSU, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and Utah. 

At the moment, the only visit Vaka has planned is to Oregon on April 10, with the rest to be figured out later. The main Oregon recruiter Joe Salave’a, and the Southern California native said he talks to him on a daily basis. 

The No. 19 player in the state of California also holds offers from Tennessee, UCLA and Vanderbilt.   


Niuafe Tuihalamaka 

Yet another prospect from Southern California the Ducks are after early is 2022 4-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka from Bishop Alamany in Mission Hills. He’s already listed at 6-1 and 230 pounds, which is an ideal size for a linebacker. 

Tuihalamaka recently received an offer from Penn State, which he said was a dream school. He’s looking at visits to Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Oregon. 

Oregon signing the top two linebackers in the 2020 class, Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell, caught his attention. He said that he thinks a lot of recruits now view Oregon as one of the top programs in the nation. 

Tuihalamaka is only a sophomore, but it never hurts to get a jump on the nation’s top talents. He is rated a 4-star (0.9000 per 247Sports) and is ranked as the No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 7 player in the state of California. 

The Ducks appear to be in a great spot with Tuihalamaka, giving them a chance to make an even bigger impression on the pending visit.  


Rose Bowl 

The Ducks have the chance to cap off a very special season with a Rose Bowl victory on Wednesday. 

For a team that began the year with college football playoff aspirations, winning the Pac-12 and the Rose Bowl would still be pretty awesome. The Badgers are 3-point favorites, so expect this to be a close one. 

I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this offense to see if Marcus Arroyo lets Justin Herbert run the option and rip the ball downfield like he did in the Pac-12 title game. It’s No. 10’s last game in a Duck uniform, so why not pull out all the stops? 

I’m also hoping to see minimal screen plays and lots of power running, what with CJ Verdell coming off the best rushing performance of his career. If Oregon can impress, it will be a major recruiting bonus for Southern California prospects. 

Freshman wideout Mycah Pittman returns to the field after breaking his wrist against Arizona, and he will add another dimension to this receiving corps. He plays a lot like Jaylon Redd, but Pittman has better size and overall ability – and he seldom drops passes.  

While the Oregon coaches are in SoCal, they’ve been able to bring in some important recruits to watch practices. They got some one-on-one time with longtime 2021 commit Anthony Beavers, as well as their latest addition, WR Kyron Ware-Hudson. Some of the other prospects they were able to bring in were 2021 3-star defensive back Zakhari Spears, 2022 4-star quarterback Maalik Murphy and 2022 4-star defensive back Domani Jackson. 

Mario Cristobal said that he feels California is a home state, and his staff has made the fertile recruiting ground a major priority. If the Ducks play well Wednesday, it could create even more positive recruiting momentum.  


Thoughts on the playoffs 

The semifinals were entertaining, with one game that was a nail-biter and another that was a blowout. 

I know LSU was favored to win big, but holy cow: Who expected that much of a beatdown? Joe Burrow likely cemented himself as the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft by tossing SEVEN first-half touchdowns. 

How much closer would this game have been had the Tigers faced Georgia? And I couldn’t help but watch that game with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth; can we all agree the Oregon defense would have done a better job than Oklahoma?  

The other semifinal was one for the ages. And if I’m being honest, I couldn’t be happier that Ohio State lost, given that the Buckeyes beat Oregon in the 2015 national championship game. 

Clemson is absolutely unreal; should the Tigers win the national championship, the Tigers could go two full seasons without losing a single game. I picked Ohio State because Clemson hasn’t faced an elite opponent all year, but oh boy, was Clemson ready. 

It’s hard to decide who is the better quarterback between Trevor Lawrence and Burrow, but Lawrence flat-out competes. Burrow puts up insane numbers every game, and I can’t wait to tune in to the national championship. 

I’m going to give the edge to Clemson early because of their defense and more experience in big-time games, but I think it’ll be a great game.  

Do the playoffs need to expand to eight teams? I’ve heard more concerns lately that another round of games could result in more blowouts, such as the one we saw with Oklahoma. 

In general, I’m one for more football, but if it doesn’t produce good games, I might be more inclined to keep it at four. 

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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