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Oregon Football

Zooming: Race for the Top Class

July 30, 2020

Jonathan Charles and I compare Oregon and USC’s classes, preview fall position battles and preview a possible Pac-12 championship rematch 

Oregon hasn’t made many friends lately on Pac-12 fields of play. That’s because Mario Cristobal and his team aren’t looking for buddies; they’re chasing championships. 

In today’s football, rivalry doesn’t always end when the whistle blows. We’re seeing more and more that rivalries continue off the field onto the recruiting trail. 

Take, for example, Oregon and USC. 

When the Ducks’ program flipped the switch in recruiting under Cristobal, the program climbed dramatically in the class rankings. And things exploded with the 2019 class, led by such Los Angeles area gems as Kayvon Thibodeaux and Mykael Wright. 

Even before that, Oregon and USC duked it out before De’Anthony Thomas flipped from USC to Oregon in 2011. And Thomas Graham was a Trojan commit before ending up at Oregon in 2017. 

Remember last year, when USC finished 55th in the recruiting rankings? Well, now the Trojans are putting more of an emphasis on recruiting and hold the nation’s No. 7 class. 

Who said the off-season was boring? 

Back on the field, Oregon will need to replenish a cupboard depleted by graduation with another high caliber freshman class, as well as develop the talented underclassmen who have been waiting in the wings. Two of the focal points of fall camp will be sorting out the linebacker situation and dividing playing time among a loaded defensive back group. 

Lastly, it’s rumored Oregon will add a 10th conference game against the Utah Utes, last year’s Pac-12 South champions. Will the Utes regress after losing a heap of talent? Or are we underestimating Kyle Whittingham’s ability to get the most out of his players?


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