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Oregon Football Recruiting

What Might Have Been Pt. II

September 30, 2020

You might remember my offensive write up of this a few weeks back. If not, here’s the link to it to refresh your memory before you move on.

Here's how this article works. I’ve covered recruiting for a long time. I’ve seen a lot and heard a lot of stories along the way. Some good. Some not. 

The Ducks have been in the game for some of the nation’s top talent for the last decade. Many of which have gone on to the NFL or other endeavors. 

Let me say this again, for those of you just getting into recruiting, it hasn’t always been this way. The Ducks had some really true heart-breaking moments on the recruiting trail. A number of times the Ducks went head to head with whoever was in charge at USC and lost. There were a few former Trojans on the offensive list, and there will be some on this list too. 

Without further ado, let me offer up my five biggest misses on the defensive side since 2010. Keep in mind, this isn’t biggest miss based on how successful they are in college football or the NFL. Just the ones that kind of stung the most and could have really helped Oregon. Keeping in mind the success they have had. 

This was a tough list to make. 

Top Five (In Reverse Order)

5. Dominique Easley - DL (No .4 - 2010)

Number five was tough to pick. Very tough. And you’ll see why in the others considered section down below. But Easley snuck onto Oregon’s campus for a visit. Had an absolute blast and we all thought he was going to end up a Duck. He didn’t as the SEC won out once again, but it was a fun ride until Florida crushed Chip Kelly’s dreams.

4. Eddie Vanderdoes - DL (No. 7 - 2013)

Another heart-breaker for the Ducks. By all accounts the Ducks had a massive, MASSIVE lead for Vanderdoes. They were on him early and with a lot of effort which wasn’t typical for Chip Kelly in recruiting. However Angus McClure figured out a way to muddy the waters and convince him UCLA was the place to be. This was a big throat punch to Duck recruiting in this class and easily one of the programs biggest misses.

3. Talanoa Hufanga - S/DB ( No. 88 - 2018)

If you know one of the written rules of recruiting you’ll know that locking down your best in-state talent should be priority No. 1. And even though Oregon doesn’t produce a lot of talent year in and year out, losing a guy like Hufanga, especially to an in-conference foe is a gut punch. The Ducks made Hufanga a top priority but the Willie Taggart departure opened it up for the Trojans. 

2. Budda Baker - S/DB (No. 53 - 2014)

We all remember what remains undefeated in recruiting. Baker was a one-time Oregon commit that spurned the Ducks for his hometown Huskies. At the time there were a lot of rumors regarding a ‘girlfriend’ he wouldn’t move away from. Whether true or not, it was a massive gut-punch for the Ducks and one of the biggest recruiting misses in program history.

1. Elijah Molden - S/DB (No. 179 - 2017)

While Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t family of Marcus Mariota, he was close enough. Molden was an Oregon legacy with his dad (Alex) a very notable former Duck and employee at Nike. His employment really shouldn’t have any impact on his recruitment, but it just adds to the sting that much more. Coupled with the fact Molden is not only a good player, but great person and plays for the Huskies, it’s the ultimate knock-out punch in recruiting. 

Others Considered:

Owamagbe Odighizuwa - DL (No. 17 - 2010)

Shaq Thompson - DB/LB (No. 4 - 2012)

Byron Cowart - DL (No. 3 - 2015)

Nigel Knott - DB (No. 66 -2016)

Cam Williams - DB (No. 404 - 2019)

Tre’Shaun Harrison - DB (No. 161 - 2018)




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