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Oregon Football

Torres' Take: Latest in Oregon Football Recruiting

August 26, 2020
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Welcome back to the Take. I’ve taken a bit of a break because there hasn’t been a strong supply of Oregon football news. 

But with the NCAA football season scheduled to start Saturday (Austin Peay vs. Central Arkansas – and I know many of you will be watching), I want to start reviewing recent headlines, give my thoughts, and maybe start some interesting discussions. 

There are finally some Oregon headlines from the past week, so let’s get to it. 

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Personal Note 

I wanted to take a quick moment to acknowledge the circumstances I find myself in. 

I didn’t think the pandemic would cancel Oregon’s fall football season. However, that’s the reality of our situation. I’ve been reflecting on my journey to Eugene to go to grad school and chase my dream of covering athletics at the University of Oregon. 

During these days of isolation, I’ve had some pretty rough times with my mental health -- and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, the more I think about it, covering this football team by writing stories and editing YouTube videos has helped me find purpose. 

When I get off the phone or a Zoom call with a recruit, finish typing up a story or upload a YouTube video, I am legitimately happy. It’s truly fun for me to help bring the stories of these phenomenal athletes to the fans. 

I don’t want to get super emotional or anything, but I really can't emphasize enough how much I appreciate every single one of you who interact with my tweets, read my stories or watch my videos.  

On top of that, I wanted to take a sec to give a huge shoutout and thank-you to the man himself, Justin Hopkins, for giving me a platform to share my voice. At one point, years ago, I was just a superfan like many of you. Now I’m on the other side of the screen. 

The circumstances may have changed, but the dream is still the same. Life goes on.  

Another 5-star for 2021 

One of the big headlines from the past week was Oregon quarterback commit Ty Thompson receiving his fifth star on Rivals. If you’ve watched his insane junior film or his throws against the nation’s best QBs at the Elite 11 in Tennessee, the upgrade shouldn’t come as much of a shock.  

For all of the phenomenal talent the Ducks have brought in recent seasons, they have yet to sign a 5-star quarterback. Thompson is that dude. 

I’m not saying he’s going to push Tyler Shough for the starting job when he gets on campus, but he certainly strikes me as the type of talent who has the potential to push other quarterbacks to transfer. He’s everything you could want in a signal-caller. 

I caught up with Thompson recently, and he told me he’s going to be enrolling in January. Of all the players, you want to arrive early, I’d put quarterback at the top. Assuming the other rating services follow suit and bump Thompson up, Oregon’s 2021 class would have two consensus 5-stars: Thompson and wide receiver Troy Franklin. 

With Thompson firmly locked in as Oregon’s quarterback of the future, I took a look at what the last five recruiting classes have brought to the position. 

 

Daymon David 

The biggest question mark remaining for the Ducks in the 2021 class is at safety. While Jeffrey Bassa is widely believed to be one possible answer, there are no guarantees in recruiting. 

So, what does the staff do? It prepares for alternative outcomes. And that’s what I think it did by offering 3-star safety Daymon David out of Reisterstown (Md). 

Don’t let David’s relatively modest rating 0f 0.8455 fool you. His 23 offers attest to his stellar play. 

After watching David’s film, I really like how loose the 6-2, 178-pounder plays and how he relishes putting his foot in the dirt to make tackles in the open field. Our Jonathan Charles recently spoke with David, and it looks like the Oregon offer certainly has his attention. 

As David works toward a decision, Oregon finds itself up against the likes of Michigan and Boston College. The Eagles might be ones to watch; they recently brought on Jeff Hafley, who has a strong résumé of developing defensive backs at Ohio State. 

 

Bryce Foster 

With Oregon having much of its 2021 class wrapped up, just a handful of prospects remain to be a “cherry on top” of this sundae. 

When you look at who Mario Cristobal has committed at offensive line, you see three studs in Jackson Light, Bram Walden and Jonah Miller. Another player the Ducks would love to add is tackle Bryce Foster, a top 10 overall player and 5-star on Rivals, and a high-level 4-star (0.9685) on the 247Sports Composite. 

With the Ducks the presumed leader for Utah 4-star Kingsley Suamataia, this offensive line haul could be among the best in program history.  

For Foster, it’s believed to be an Oregon-Oklahoma race. And we had an interesting headline emerge from Norman this past weekend when 20 recruits took an unofficial visit to Norman for the so-called Sooner Summit. 

The event was organized by prized Oklahoma quarterback commit Caleb Williams and his family, and Foster was one of many high-profile invitees. As it turned out, Foster was unable to attend, but with Williams’ tireless efforts to build the Sooners’ 2021 class, he’s sure to be in Foster’s ear.  

These photos are from the mother of Tristan Leigh, a 5-star offensive lineman who made the trip. No doubt, the event raised some eyebrows in the college football community, as the entire NCAA is still in a mandated recruiting dead period. 

 

From the looks of it, the recruits made it onto the field. I want to be clear: I’m not saying what the school did is wrong in any way, but it did grab my attention. 

Foster is hoping to participate in both track and football at the next level, and what better place to do that than Tracktown USA? It could also help the Ducks that his grandmother is an Oregon grad.  

With Suamataia a strong Oregon lean, could his impending commitment create a bit of a sticky situation for the staff if Foster wants to join the flock? Certainly, it’s a good problem to have. 

Oklahoma leads the 247Sports crystal ball with 64.7%, followed by Texas A&M at 35.3%. 

Should they play? 

That question is one a lot of people are asking themselves as high school football returns in more states this weekend, with college football scheduled to follow. As a journalist who covers sports, I don’t too often find myself faced with moral and/or ethical questions. 

This is one of those times. Here’s where I stand. 

Do I think it’s safe for players to be playing? No. The virus is still spreading, and recent outbreaks at college campuses have reminded us what we already knew: college kids will party no matter what. I also don’t believe that we as a country have shown enough progress to support a confident return.  

However, I do think that players are safer on campus than at home. On campus, they can try to hold one another accountable and remind themselves that they all have the same goal: to play college football as soon as possible. 

I’m no doctor; I just wanted to share my thoughts. Football is happening in some places, and I will watch it -- and talk about it.  

AP Preseason All-Americans 

The Associated Press released its list of preseason All-Americans and the Ducks accounted for nearly half of the Pac-12’s seven total selections.  

Offensive tackle Penei Sewell, first team: With the Pac-12 aiming for a spring season, we may have seen Sewell take his last snap in an Oregon uniform. While that’s sad news, I think his inclusion on this team is a big statement for Mario Cristobal, as it attests to his ability to recruit and develop elite talent.  

Many draft experts view the hulking lineman as the best non-quarterback player expected to put his name in for the 2021 NFL Draft.  

Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, first team: We all know how great KT played last season, as he burst onto the scene as one of the premier pass rushers. What’s really crazy is that he didn’t start until five games into the campaign. 

Many expect Thibs to be a three-and-out player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. Oregon’s efforts in California, specifically the Los Angeles area, continue to pay dividends. 

Expect the South-Central native to take a big step forward as a full-time starter after a year in Andy Avalos’ system and the development afforded by an extended off-season. 

Safety Jevon Holland, second team: The Oregon star is also expected to leave in 2021, as he has drawn heavy NFL draft buzz. The versatile defensive back made a name for himself with his ball-hawking and coverage skills. 

Holland further displayed his athleticism last season while serving as the team’s primary punt returner. He’s been a stud since he stepped on campus in 2018 and started as a true freshman. 

Holland is one of the main reasons the staff is gushing over the incredible depth in the Oregon secondary. If he is indeed done in green and yellow, Holland did enough on the field to cement himself as one of the top-tier safeties to come through Eugene in recent years. 

Ian Umlandt 

I recently expanded ScoopDuck coverage into the world of baseball recruiting. I started off with the top player in the state of Oregon for 2022: pitcher Ian Umlandt. 

I talked to Umlandt about why Oregon was the right call, his approach on the mound, and much more. You can watch that interview for free here. 

Gabe Howard 

I continued our baseball coverage with a YouTube interview with this 2024 Oregon baseball commit out of West Linn. 

Howard is a pitcher who is already throwing in the mid 80s as he enters his freshman year of high school. Like Umlandt, the staff is hoping to develop Howard into a two-way player once he arrives in Eugene. 

You can watch that interview here. 

 
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