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Oregon Football Recruiting

Torres' Take: Recapping Latest Oregon Recruiting News

March 3, 2020
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Welcome back to the Take. It’s been a big week in recruiting developments, as Oregon’s 2021 big board is starting to come into focus. Meanwhile, some future pro Ducks got after it at the NFL combine and performed quite well. 

Let’s get caught up. 

Devonta Smith 

It’s pretty straightforward with Smith. The growing feeling is that if he doesn’t commit to Ohio State during his visit at the end of the month, he could very well end up a Duck. 

When I spoke with him, he emphasized the strength of his relationship with new Oregon cornerbacks’ coach (Rod) Chance. Chance was the first Power 5 coach to offer Smith, and I don’t think that’s lost on him. 

I think Smith is grossly underrated as a 3-star prospect. After all, he does hold almost 30 offers, including some of the nation’s bluebloods. 

For now, Ohio State leads in the 247Sports Crystal Ball. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Oregon begins to gain some momentum. 

Miller Moss 

The 4-star Under Armour All-American quarterback is drawing interest from just about every major program in the country. Signing a quarterback is Job 1 in any class, so Oregon needs to do just that for 2021 -- preferably sooner rather than later so as to set the tone for the other recruits. 

Moss told our Jonathan Charles that he thinks he could find his school “within the next couple of months.” He has been linked with such Pac-12 teams as Cal, Stanford and UCLA. Outside of the West Coast, he is being pursued by Auburn, LSU, Miami and Northwestern, among others. 

With Moss being from the Los Angeles area, the Ducks need to fight off the usual foes: UCLA and USC. In Jake Garcia, the Trojans already have a 2021 quarterback committed, but as you know, that could change at any time. And if Garcia decommits, I would view the Trojans as a bigger threat than UCLA. 

Cal leads Moss’s Crystal Ball with 40% of predictions. 

Jersey numbers for early enrollees  

Oregon Football tweeted a video of the number assignments for the class of 2020 early enrollees. Fans can now put a name to each number. 

LB Noah Sewell: 1 

QB Jay Butterfield: 9 

S Bennett Williams: 15 

S Jared Greenfield: 24 

DE Bradyn Swinson: 44 

OL TJ Bass: 56 

OL Jonathan Dennis: 66 

DL Jake Shipley: 90 

Troy Dye 

It was recently revealed that Troy Dye played the last four games of the season with a torn meniscus (an important piece of cartilage in the knee). I think that demonstrates not only his determination, but also the physical toll that his playing style took on his body. 

At an NFL Combine media availability, Dye was pressed about reports of “failed drug tests,” which he repeatedly denied. There are no mentions anywhere on his draft profile of failed drug tests, and I’m not too sure where that reporter got his information. Dye was one of the most mature, natural-born leaders on Oregon’s team, and he doesn’t strike me as the kind of player that would jeopardize himself or his team in that manner. 

Due to his recovery efforts following his knee surgery in January, he didn’t participate in the NFL combine or the Senior Bowl in Mobile (Ala.). 

NFL Combine 

The Ducks sent seven players to Indianapolis, although only six participated due to Dye’s injury. 

Some of the highlights included Juwan Johnson running his 40-yard dash in the 4.5s, Jake Hanson hoisting 33 bench press reps, and Justin Herbert “making himself some money” -- in the words of one analyst -- during the throwing drills. 

I love seeing this many Ducks invited to the combine. It doesn’t guarantee that any of them will get drafted, but it does show is that the program is producing more NFL-level talent than in years past -- and that resonates with recruits. 

I personally would love to see Herbert go to a team like the Chargers, who have a lot of young, talented offensive weapons, a solid run game and a decent defense. He’s falling in some mock drafts, but I don’t think it’s the worst thing that can happen, because better teams have the lower picks. 

Bottom line, Herbert did himself a favor with his performance at the combine, which also featured a 4.68 40-yard time (official) and a 35.5-inch vertical jump.  

Victory Vaka 

The 4-star defensive tackle (6-3 and 315 and rated 0.9233 on 247Sports Composite) announced that he will be taking his official visit to Oregon on September 12 -- the date of the Ducks’ clash against Ohio State. 

Vaka is clearly the staff’s top West Coast prospect among interior linemen, and he would be a welcome addition to the CaliFlock. Oregon is competing with Arizona State, Florida, LSU and Michigan. 

Vaka recently announced that he will be committing and signing on the December early signing day. For now, he has two Oregon trips scheduled before then (April 10 and September 12). 

The Ducks look like they’re in great shape here. 

Tony Grimes  

The Ducks are pursuing the nation’s No. 1 cornerback, who hails from Virginia Beach (Va.). 

Between now and the end of the summer, the 5-star is looking to take trips to Clemson, Georgia, UNC, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ohio State, USC, Oregon, Texas, LSU, South Carolina, Virgina, Alabama and Virginia Tech. That is a bunch of visits, but it’s great that Oregon is once again one of only two West Coast schools in the picture. 

Grimes told ScoopDuck he values most highly the relationships he builds with the coaching staffs, as well as their ability to develop him into a first-round draft pick. 

For now, Georgia leads the 247Sports Crystal Ball with 50% of the predictions.  

Aaron Feld 

There’s not much to update here, and that could end up being the news. 

The latest reports are that Alabama is negotiating with Indiana’s David Ballou to fill the strength and conditioning job that opened when Scott Cochran left for Georgia. It's not a done deal, but the danger that Feld would end up in Tuscaloosa appears to have waned. 

Feld has made an indelible impact while in Eugene, and he certainly seems very happy with where he’s at. Should he stay at Oregon, he would likely be in line for a pay bump. 

Recent Offers 

2021

Aaron Armitage: 6-4, 242 pounds, strong-side defensive end, 4-star (0.9219 per the 247Sports Composite) 

Blair Academy, Blairstown (N.J.) 

No. 13 SDE, No. 2 player in New Jersey 

Offers of note: Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State 

Crystal Ball leader: Notre Dame, 50% 

Junior season highlights 

Xavier Worthy: 6-1, 160 pounds, wide receiver, 3-star (0.8800 on the Composite) 

Central East High, Fresno (Calif.) 

No. 63 WR, No. 43 player in California 

Offers of note: Arizona State, Michigan, Tennessee 

Junior season highlights 

Yanni Karlaftis: 6-3, 203 pounds, outside linebacker, 4-star (0.9240)  

West Lafayette High, West Lafayette (Ind.) 

No. 17 OLB, No. 2 player in Indiana 

Offers of note: California, Penn State, Wisconsin 

Crystal Ball leader: Purdue, 50% 

Junior season highlights 

Hunter Barth: 6-2, 200 pounds, safety, 3-star (0.8366) 

Queen Creek High, Queen Creek (Ariz.) 

No. 59 S, No. 13 player in Arizona 

Offers of note: Iowa State, Pittsburgh, USC 

Junior season highlights

 
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