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Oregon Football

Torres Take: Recapping Latest in Oregon Recruiting

July 8, 2020
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Welcome to another Take. I’ve been on a bit of a break for a couple of weeks, as I recently wrapped up my time in Spokane. 

As some of you know, I was working as a news producer, covering stories of the Inland Northwest. The news industry was a lot of fun, but it could also be pretty stressful, so in a way I’m glad to be turning my focus to school and Oregon athletics. 

Now, I have a much-needed break from work and some time to unwind at home before I move to Eugene next week. ScoopDuck is a big part of why I am pursuing my master’s degree in journalism, so I would like to thank everyone who has supported my writing.  

On the topic of Oregon recruiting, the Ducks built more momentum last week by adding another big name at wide receiver. And they are making moves to fill out the 2021 class. 

Many are asking what’s been going on with safety recruiting. The staff was on task the past week, sending out a lot of offers to some big names, both in 2021 and further down the line.  

Just another reminder to check out our YouTube channel, where I interview top players on the recruiting trail and Oregon commits. The latest is an interview with Ty Thompson reflecting on his experience representing Oregon at the Elite 11. 

Check out the channel! 

Isaiah Brevard 

The top story broke over the weekend when the Ducks reeled in another prep all-American wide receiver. The blue-chip prospect from South Memphis is ranked in the top 150 players nationally and is the No. 2 player in Mississippi. 

Brevard chose Oregon over in-state powers Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He becomes the third wide receiver to join Bryan McClendon’s 2021 group. 

It’s not too shabby of a first haul for the new hire, one that mind you is coming together before the Ducks set foot on the field for the 2020 season. It speaks to McClendon’s recruiting prowess, consistent with his being named the 2014 national recruiter of the year while at Georgia. 

At 6-4, Brevard has exceptional length for the position and will be a matchup problem for many defensive backs. His is a very physical style of play, a trait Mario Cristobal clearly is targeting. 

ScoopDuck has a more in depth break down available here. 

I believe the staff is doing a great job of addressing the lackluster wide receiver play that has significantly hampered Oregon in recent seasons. Look at 2018, when it felt like Dillon Mitchell was the team’s only consistent threat. And it's not just finding future stars, but assuring they have depth should injuries or difficult matchups arise. 

The Ducks now have 11 total commits ranked inside the ESPN 300. 

Among 2021 receivers, Brevard joins 5-star Troy Franklin from Northern California’s Menlo-Atherton High and rising 4-star Kyron Ware-Hudson from national powerhouse Mater Dei in Southern California. Brevard bolsters a group that many experts in the industry view as 2021’s best at that position. 

With Xavier Worthy trending toward Michigan, the last remaining WR domino to fall could very well be 4-star Dont’e Thornton, the country’s No. 2 wide receiver. He is not expected to announce until January. 

 

Here Come the Ducks 

The impact of Brevard’s commitment was felt far outside of Eugene, as the Ducks passed USC in the 2021 team rankings. Oregon now sits atop the Pac-12 and boasts the nation’s No. 5 class. 

Oregon’s average commit rating checks in at 0.9196 -- ahead of the 2019 average of 0.9070, which was the best recruiting class in program history. USC fell to No. 7 in the country, with the next-closest Pac 12 team being Washington at No. 28. The Huskies’ prize commit is 5-star quarterback Sam Huard, who was unable to compete in the Elite 11 after being exposed to COVID-19. 

If you were surprised by the haul Cristobal welcomed in 2020, you may be in for an even-bigger shock in 2021, when the Ducks hope to add elite defensive linemen JT Tuimoloau and Korey Foreman. Tuimoloau is trending towards Ohio State on 247Sports, where experts see Foreman staying closer to home at USC. 

Landing the deadly duo will be no small task, but are any of us under the impression that now is the time to start doubting the siren call of Cristobal?  

 

Quack Watch? 

With 4-star defensive tackle Keanu Williams set to announce July 11 at 5:30 p.m. Pacific, the Ducks could add to their already strong class. The commitment will be live-streamed on his Instagram. 

Williams is the No. 27 player in California and ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the nation’s No. 21 defensive end. I conducted a Zoom interview with him earlier this summer, which you can revisit here. I’d wager he chooses Oregon over a trio of other Pac-12 finalists, all in his home state of California. 

In an additional note, 247Sports Recruiting Director Steve Wiltfong announced on Tuesday that Oregon has popped up on the service’s radar in the race for the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class. Ohio State owns that distinction now with a ridiculous collection of 5-star talent, but Oregon also remains in the running for multiple 5-stars. 

 

Maason Smith  

The nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle for 2021 is down to eight schools. Oregon is among them, along with programs better known for their strong defensive lines: Alabama, Florida and LSU. 

Many experts view the defending national champion LSU Tigers as the favorite. Smith is an in-state prospect, and the Tigers rehired Bo Pelini to run their defense; he served a stint in Baton Rouge from 2005 to 2007. 

I’d say this an uphill battle for the Ducks. Like many prospects during the pandemic, Smith could opt to stay closer to home. 

Oregon may not be viewed as much of a threat, but there is one big takeaway here. With so many other positional needs being met early on, the Oregon staff clearly has been able to focus on these high-profile targets. 

Smith has not yet set a commitment date.  

 

Ty Thompson 

Thompson recently competed in the Elite 11 finals in Tennessee, where he more than proved that he belongs among the nation’s best. Heck, some may now view him as the top signal-caller in the class. 

Thompson is almost guaranteed to see another boost in the rankings. Regardless of his title and distinction, I can tell you this: Oregon has landed a PREMIER talent, and fans should be excited. 

The 6-4 slinger can make all the throws and send your jaw toward the floor. Also, he possesses supreme mobility in and out of the pocket. 

I caught up with Thompson upon his return to his home state of Arizona. You can watch that interview for free here. 

 

CJ Walker 

In a bit of basketball news, the Ducks lost a big-name player with the transfer of former 5-star forward CJ Walker to Central Florida. 

The 6-8 slasher is a Florida native who cited being closer to home as part of his reason for transferring. I thought Walker was going to be a major impact player for Dana Altman, and I think his departure will disappoint many Oregon fans. 

 

Recent Offers 

The coaches are clearly focusing on two positions with few 2021 commits in hand: safeties and defensive linemen. Here is a look at the recent offers from this past week.

 

2021 

Jaden Slocum, Safety 

6-2, 185 pounds 

Alpharetta High in Georgia 

Rating/ranking: 3-star, 0.8700 on the 247Sports Composite; No. 42 safety, No. 44 prospect in Georgia 

Other sports: State champion on the track 

Notable offers: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Michigan (23 total) 

 

Isaiah Nwokobia, Safety 

6-0, 191 pounds 

Skyline High in Dallas (Texas) 

Rating/ranking: 3-star, 0.8702 on the Composite; No. 41 safety, No. 80 prospect in Texas 

SMU commit (5/1/2020) 

Notable offers: Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, USC (34 total) 

 

Davon Townley, Strong side defensive end 

6-6, 220 pounds 

North Senior High in Minneapolis (Minn.) 

Rating/ranking: 4-star, 0.8884 on the Composite; No. 26 strong-side defensive end, No. 3 prospect in Minnesota 

247Sports crystal ball: Minnesota 100% (1/1 as of 5/21/20) 

Notable offers: Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State (17 total) 

 

Christian Burkhalter, Weak side defensive end 

6-5, 225 pounds 

Spanish Fort High in Alabama 

Rating/ranking: 3-star, rated 0.8742 on the Composite; No. 34 weak-side defensive end, No. 18 prospect in Alabama 

247 Sports crystal ball: Nebraska 100% (4/4 as of 6/24/20) 

Notable offers: Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA, West Virginia (20 total) 

 

2022 

Earl Little Jr., Safety 

6-0, 165 pounds 

American Heritage High in Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) 

Rating/ranking: 4-star, 0.9100 per 247Sports; No. 155 overall, No. 20 corner, No. 21 prospect in Florida 

Adidas all-American Bowl commit 

Notable offers: Alabama, LSU, Miami, Tennessee (26 total) 

247 Sports crystal ball leader: LSU 100% (3/3 as of 4/14/20) 

 

Keenan Nelson Jr., Cornerback  

6-1, 200 pounds 

St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia (Penn.) 

Rating/ranking: 4-star, 0.9300 per 247 Sports; No. 60 nationally, No. 9 corner, No. 2 prospect in Pennsylvania 

Notable offers: Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame (16 total) 

 

Tayvon Holloway, Cornerback 

6-1, 170 pounds 

Green Run High in Virginia Beach (Va.) 

Rating/ranking: 4-star, 0.9000 per 247Sports; No. 182 nationally, No. 22 corner, No. 9 prospect in Virginia 

Notable offers: Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee, Texas A&M (12 total) 

 

Walter Nolen, Defensive Tackle 

6-5, 280 pounds 

IMG Academy in Bradenton (Fla.) 

Rating/ranking: 4-star, 0.9500 per 247Sports; No 6 nationally, No. 1 defensive tackle, No. 2 prospect in Florida 

Notable offers: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma (13 total) 

https://youtu.be/vUVtDejgD4E

 

 
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