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Oregon Football

Torres' Take: The Latest in Oregon Football News and Recruiting

October 13, 2020
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Welcome back to Torres’ Take. 

Fall term is in full swing here in Eugene, albeit in unconventional fashion. While students settle in to their (virtual) classrooms, the football team has resumed practices. 

Other major conferences have been going for a while, but for Duck fans the wait is almost over. Oregon football’s Nov. 7 season opener with Stanford at Autzen is less than four weeks away. 

I might sound like a broken record here, but it’s a great time to be an Oregon Duck or an Oregon Duck fan. Both of the major men’s sports are BOOMING and poised for success, and women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves welcomed five – yes, FIVE – 5-star frosh to campus. 

You can catch my writing weekly in the Take, but I’ll also be at a lot of the news conferences with players and coaches (via Zoom) moving forward. There’s plenty to discuss, so let’s get right into it. 

Pro Ducks in action 

Justin Herbert (No. 10, Los Angeles Chargers): 264 yards, 4 TDs, on 20 of 34 passing in Chargers’ 30-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints. 

Man, when is Herbert going to catch a break, right? The Chargers fell to 1-4 on Monday, with all of their losses one-possession games. 

Herbert played lights out, becoming the first rookie to throw for four touchdowns on “Monday Night Football.” Playing without starting running back Austin Ekeler, Herbert was forced to shoulder a bit more of the offensive responsibilities. 

Herbert’s play has been nothing short of phenomenal. He’s shown great mobility in the pocket, elite athleticism, and exquisite touch on passes at every level. 

Perhaps most impressive? His willingness to take deep shots, and the accuracy he’s shown on those bombs despite facing an intense pass rush.  

Herbert’s No. 1 receiver, Keenan Allen, got injured early in the first half and did not return. It didn’t appear to matter much to No. 10, as he built on his strong chemistry with jumbo wideout Mike Williams. 

Herbie has confirmed what we already knew: He’s the real deal. Moving forward, he will need more help from his depleted offensive line and the Chargers’ inconsistent defense. 

DeForest Buckner (No. 99, Indianapolis Colts): 5 total tackles, 3 solo tackles, 1 QB hit in the Colts’ 32-23 loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

Arik Armstead (No. 91, San Francisco 49ers): 2 total tackles, 1 solo tackle in the 49ers’ 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. 

Dion Jordan (No. 96, San Francisco 49ers): 1 total tackle, 1 solo tackle in the 49ers’ 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. 

Troy Hill (No. 22, Los Angeles Rams): 1 total tackle, 1 solo tackle in the Rams’ 30-10 win over the Washington Football Team. 

Ugo Amadi (No. 28, Seattle Seahawks): 3 total tackles, 3 solo tackles in the Seahawks’ 27-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings. 

Terrance Mitchell (No. 39, Cleveland Browns): 1 total tackle, 1 solo tackle in the Browns’ 32-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts. 

Pharaoh Brown (No. 85, Houston Texans): 1 reception, 4 yards in the Texans’ 30-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Fall camp underway 

Practices kicked off Friday, and the Ducks are now deep into the camp. Media personnel aren’t allowed to attend, so whatever we have been able to glean thus far comes from Rob Moseley’s practice reports, personal interviews and limited highlights. 

Mario Cristobal has been impressed with the energy around his team, as well as the execution at the beginning of fall camp. 

“It didn't look like Practice 1 from knowing what we're doing,” Cristobal said Friday. With such an extended break between spring football and fall camp as well as losing numerous starters on both sides of the ball, that’s certainly a positive takeaway. 

Replacing safety Jevon Holland has been a major talking point over the off-season, and one name we’re hearing a lot is sophomore Jamal Hill. On the larger side for a defensive back at 6-1 and 200 pounds, the native of Morrow (Ga.) appeared in all 14 games last year. 

Boise State grad transfer Jordan Happle arrived Saturday to add depth and leadership to the safety position. Andy Avalos said he was surprised to hear a familiar voice shouting out defensive calls on the practice field, and he’s really excited to see what Happle can bring to the defense. 

Jeffrey Bassa 

Oregon’s 2021 class added its 22nd commitment Monday evening from the top safety in the state of Utah. The 6-3, 205-pound prospect chose the Ducks over fellow finalists Oklahoma State and the hometown Utes. 

What stands out the most about Bassa is the speed he possesses for a player his size. Also a track athlete, he reportedly runs a 4.5 40-yard dash.  

The Kearns High player is a 3-star prospect (0.8648 on the 247Sports Composite), but don’t let the modest rating fool you. This was a guy the Oregon coaches really wanted, and they got their man. 

ScoopDuck analysts QB11 and Mudbloodveer offer an in-depth breakdown of Bassa’s game here. Bassa becomes the second 2021 safety to join the flock, joining 4-star Daymon David of Reistertown (Md.). 

With Bassa in the fold, Oregon is likely looking to fill just two, MAYBE three spots in this class. Our man JHop offered up some names he thinks we could see serve as the cherry on top of this record-chasing group. 

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Jadarrius Perkins

Perkins committed to Oregon back in May, but what stood out about that were the offers the JUCO corner started getting just as soon as he hung up the phone with the Oregon staff. Within days of his pledge. Alabama, Auburn and Florida all came calling. 

Fortunately for the Oregon staff, Perkins is through looking at any other schools, as he tells our Kirby Hammer -- perhaps in part because of the extended recruiting dead period. But whatever the backstory, the 6-2, 185-pound defensive back is a major addition who possesses elite speed. 

Franck Kepnang 

Dana Altman isn’t about to let Mario Cristobal hog all the recruiting headlines. 

Oregon added the nation’s No. 27 player, a 4-star center (0.9887 on the Composite). The raw but physically gifted native of Cameroon already packs 247 pounds on his 6-11 frame. 

At present, Kepnang is listed in the class of 2021, but he intends to reclassify to 2020 and arrive in Eugene shortly to begin a redshirt season. 

Oregon’s front court should have some freakish size in the coming seasons. Kepnang will join 6-11 center Isaac Johnson – a 2019 pledge who is returning from a church mission -- and 5-star stretch 5 Nathan Bittle.  

Our Jacob Archer has an in-depth breakdown of what Kepnang will bring to the basketball team. You can read that here. 

Jonathan Lawson 

Altman dipped back into Tennessee to grab the 4-star forward, the 6-8 younger brother of current Duck Chandler Lawson. Larson committed to Oregon over the likes of hometown Memphis, Alabama, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Iowa State. 

What fascinates me is how Altman often gets his recruits fairly late in the cycle compared to top-tier programs. It seems like he has the ability to flip the switch whenever he wants. 

Whatever he’s doing is working, because with just three commits, the Ducks now boast 2021’s No. 8 class. The commit rating averages 0.9701.

 
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