Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Going National: Southwest Region

Interactive Map by iMapBuilder Since the arrival of Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator in 2007, Duck fans have seen not only a uniquely dominant offense, but they have seen the football program rise to unprecedented heights culminating in the 2012 Rose Bowl win. Along the way, a couple of special players from parts not normally represented on the Duck roster transformed Oregon football into a national brand. This month, Duck Sports Authority began this series on national recruiting. So far we have taken a look at every region save one. Today we turn our attention to the region which has seen the biggest impact on the Oregon football team: the Southwest Region. An area untapped prior to Chip Kelly's arrival, the Southwest is a hotbed of talent. Though Texas and Texas A&M have traditionally dominated the state with Oklahoma also getting a vast majority of their talent from the football crazy state, there were plenty of overlooked football players that were passed over by the big boys of the Southwest. We learned that the Ducks roster has undergone a transformation. Prior to 2007, this team was predominantly populated by athletes from the West Coast; especially California. Comprising nearly 70% of the scholarship players in 2007, California dominated the Ducks roster. In the 2011-12 season, though, Californians counted for only 48% of the Ducks roster. That is a significant change. The West coast had long been the dominantly represented region on the Ducks roster. Prior to the successes of Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly, that was out of pure necessity. Attempting to lure players to Oregon was difficult enough when it was just getting them out of California. Getting them from everywhere else was exponentially more difficult as Oregon did not have a brand name nationally. Let us take a look now, at how Oregon's presence in the Southwest region has changed during Chip Kelly's tenure. We begin by looking at the scholarship players from the top three states in the region (Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma) that were on the Oregon roster in 2007 and again in 2012.

Players by State
State Number %
TX 0 0.0
AZ 0 0.0
OK 0 0.0
All Others 0 0.0
State Number %
TX 6 7.8
AZ 5 6.5
OK 0 0.0
All Others 0 0.0

When Duck Sports Authority first looked at the changing recruiting trend of the Duck football coaching staff, it was clear that the roster had been impacted with players not from the Ducks normal territory. We have already seen that there were some Midwestern and Southeastern players sprinkled into the roster over the last several years. The Southwest, though, is where the Ducks have found their biggest impact over the past five years. It's not just that the Ducks got a few players out of Texas, but that the players who Oregon coaches were able to sign were impact players like...

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2013 In Depth: Interior Defense Review

As May comes to an end, recruiting will begin to pick up steam as young men travel to multiple camps and make unofficial visits to their favorite programs. Leading up to the summer cap season for football, Duck Sports Authority spent the month of May looking in depth at each position. During that stretch we looked at those with a listed offer in the Rivals database as well as a few off the radar prospects and some other intriguing athletes who have some measured interest in the Oregon program.

It is a sign of just how far the Ducks program has ascended over the past few years that the coaches have been very selective in their early offers.

Today, Duck Sports Authority looks back at the earlier articles and gives a brief summary of each position on the interior defense.

Defensive Tackle:

Jaynard Bostwick: Offered, Medium Interest

Summary: Physically imposing at 6-4, 291 pounds, Bostwick has all the tools to be a great defensive tackle where ever he chooses. Bostwick is ranked as the 8th best defensive tackle and 85th best overall player in the nation by Rivals.

DSA Odds: Low Distance may be the biggest factor for Bostwick.

Scott Pagano: Offered, Medium Interest

Summary: Pagano has very good hands and uses them to engage linemen very well. He knows how to use his hands and arms to shed the block when needed and make a play.

DSA Odds: Low Very Low Pagano has recently said that the Ducks are no longer in his top 10.

Doug Brenner: Not Offered, Medium Interest

Summary: Brenner is intriguing as a local kid from top in-state high school, Jesuit. A gifted all-around athlete Brenner has a great frame for playing defensive line and is incredibly strong.

DSA Odds: Good If Oregon were to offer Brenner soon, there is a good chance he would jump at the chance to play for Oregon.

Ma'ataua Brown: Not Offered, Interest Unknown

Summary: Brown is one of those physical specimens that make many college football fans drool over. Listed at 6-5 and 309 pounds in his junior college football media guide, Brown is leaner than you would expect.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

2013 In Depth: Quarterback

Today we finish up our series looking, position-by-position, at the possibilities for the 2013 recruiting class. All month, Duck Sports Authority took a look at every offer the Ducks had made to each athlete; their strengths, weaknesses and the odds that they would choose the Ducks. Some of those odds were very good (and semi prophetic with the recent commit of Dontre Wilson) and some were offers Duck coaches made and the prospect has already committed to another team and have virtually no chance of changing their minds.

While we strive to bring you the best coverage of Oregon recruiting, we wanted to look at each athlete Oregon has offered regardless of their status. There are some positions that have little need and some that have great need.

Today, we turn our attention back to the offense and to a position that it appears the coaches do not see a need to sign more than one player; quarterback. In fact, the Duck coaches currently have offered just one prospect. If you recall the first look series for the 2013 recruiting class, you will remember that the projection for this position in 2013 is just one player. It is possible, however, that with three freshmen and a sophomore on the roster, Duck coaches will not see a pressing need to sign a quarterback in 2013, thereby offering only truly elite prospects that fit coach Kelly's preferred style.

Cody Thomas

Status: Offered, Committed to Oklahoma

Overview: Thomas is ranked as the 9th best pro-style quarterback and 178th overall prospect for the class of 2013. The Colleyville, TX native, though, recently committed to Oklahoma. Thomas fits the stereotypical pro-style quarterback mold standing 6-5 and weighing in at 220 pounds as a high school junior.

Strengths: Thomas is a player whose height might suggest a longer throwing motion and inability to move in the pocket. To the contrary, Thomas has a motion much more compact than you would think possible. While he is not going to remind anyone of Terelle Pryor or Cam Newton with his running ability, he has good feet that give him the mobility to escape pressure and either get rid of the ball or pick up positive yardage. He will not be a guy that "takes it to the house" like Mariota in Oregon's Spring game, he will be able to use his feet effectively.

Weaknesses: Thomas plays in a spread at the high school level, but it is one of the passing variety spread teams, not a run oriented spread. While his footwork is acceptable in the pocket and scrambling from a passing perspective, he may struggle to pick up the footwork of the zone read "mesh" plays the Duck offense has become known for over the past several years.

DSA Odds: Click here to read entire story:

Friday, May 25, 2012

2013 In Depth: Corner Backs

Over the past few weeks, Duck Sports Authority has been taking a closer look at the players being recruited by the Ducks for the class of 2013. We have focused mainly on those players with early offers by Duck coaches. Unlike Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss, Duck coaches have been a little bit stricter in their early offer list.

Each article has focused on one position group switching between offense and defense for each article. This time we are going to stay with defense, though, and look at the cornerback position.

The Ducks are very young in the defensive backfield at nearly every position including cornerback. Oregon does not lose any cornerbacks after 2012 and, barring early entries, will have everyone back after 2013 as well. With six very young but talented cornerbacks returning in 2013, the Ducks do not have a pressing need at the position. However, as the younger defensive backs grow into the system, to prevent having another "all freshman" cornerback line-up, the Ducks will likely look to add a couple of players in 2013.

Let us look, now, at the current offers the Ducks have extended.

Vernon Hargreaves III

Status: Offered, Medium Interest

Overview: Hargreaves has just about every tool you would like from a cornerback; speed, vertical leap, great hip turn, closing speed. He should also have exceptional football knowledge given the fact that his father is the Special Teams Coordinator for the University of South Florida. The 5-11, 185 pound corner has offers from every major school in the nation including Oregon. Ranked the third best cornerback and 10th best overall player in the class of 2013, the five star prospect has an open mind on the process.

Strengths: Has incredible hip turn for a high school junior. Understands the game well enough to not get turned around by talented receivers. Has great timing and knows how to close on the ball. Good hands when making plays in the air and really understands how to position himself to make plays.

Weaknesses: The most noticeable weakness Hargreaves displays, even in footage from camp is that he plays with his eyes too much. He gets away with it now, but good college quarterbacks and receivers will make him pay for that in college. Though he has exceptional hip turn, he sometimes opens his hips too quickly. At the next level he may not have the time to overcome that mistake.

DSA Odds:

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2013 In Depth: Defensive Tackles

As Memorial Day approaches, Duck Sports Authority continues looking towards the class of 2013. Recruiting season will get into full swing as Summer begins to fade into fall and now is the time to continue looking deep into the heart of Duck recruiting.

We have brought you nearly every position on the team. With just a few more positions to look at we return again to defense. Today we will look at the defensive tackle position and Oregon's recruiting needs. If you recall, when we discussed the defensive tackle position in our initial first look at the 2013 recruiting class, the projection had a wide range. Part of the reason for such a range is the versatility of the current crop of defensive linemen. There are some young guys who might stay at a strong side defensive end position or move inside. Nonetheless, after 2012 the Ducks lose Isaac Remington. After 2013, however, the Ducks will lose Ricky Heimuli, Wade Kelikiipi, Taylor Hart and Jared Ebert. Duck coaches will likely be looking to add at least two more defensive tackle types in 2013 if not more.

With that in mind, let's look at who the Ducks have offered and what the chances are of those young men choosing to play for the University of Oregon. At the moment there are just two players listed at defensive tackle with offers. We will look at those two players first and then we will introduce a couple of players without an offer that might have an interest in the Ducks.

Jaynard Bostwick

Status: Offered, Medium Interest

Overview: Defensive tackles that can dominate at the college level are a hot commodity. As with all hot commodities, though, they are difficult to find. Bostwick is the kind of defensive tackle Duck fans have dreamed of since the days of Haloti Ngata. Physically imposing at 6-4, 291 pounds, Bostwick has all the tools to be a great defensive tackle where ever he chooses. Bostwick is ranked as the 8th best defensive tackle and 85th best overall player in the nation by Rivals.

Strengths: Bostwick absolutely devours ball carriers. Unlike many big men who knock a player down and watch, Bostwick smothers the ball carrier. He is very good off the line exploding from his stance through linemen. He has good hands and knows how to read blocks. He understands his assignments and is relentless in his pursuit of the ball carrier. He has exceptional hips and thick thighs that make him a very good prospect to play a nose tackle position in Oregon's hybrid 3-4 defense.

Weaknesses: Though Bostwick has good hips for the position, due to his ability to dominate players at the high school level, he tends to lose pad level too frequently. He doesn't need it at high school, but he will need to improve that at the collegiate level. He will need to work some on hand techniques as this is something else he has not had to use much in high school. His quickness keeps him from needing to engage blockers; he won't get away with that at the next level.

DSA Odds: 

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Monday, May 21, 2012

2013 In Depth: Wide Receivers

In May, Duck Sports Authority has been taking an in-depth look at recruiting for the 2013 signing class. Flip-flopping back and forth between offense and defense, we are closing in on the final positions and the Duck targets at each position. Today, we move back to offense to take a look at the wide receiver position. The Ducks roster is loaded with several very talented wide receivers, but are still looking for some of that talent to equal production.

Our first look series shows that only one scholarship player, Rashaan Vaughn is set to graduate after the 2012 season. There are two more, however, scheduled to graduate after 2013. That leaves the Ducks likely looking to add at least one to two receivers in this next class.

So, with that in mind, let's look at the players the Ducks have currently offered individually.

Robert Foster

Status: Offered, Medium Interest

Overview: Foster is rated as the 4th best wide receiver in the nation and 26th best player overall in early rankings. He has all the tools of the prototypical wide receiver; he is tall, has good hands, great vision and great speed.

Strengths: When watching film of Foster, unlike many high school star receivers, Foster plays defense. As a defender, he is very physical and not afraid to make a play. That physical attitude will serve him well at the wide receiver position as he makes plays over the middle. He is also an exceptional punt and kick-off returner. He shows great vision, elusiveness and flat speed. Foster has strong hands and uses them to his advantage when going after the ball.

Weaknesses: With a player of this caliber, there are not a lot of weaknesses to explore. With Foster, the main weakness noticeable on tape is that he lets the ball come to him rather than going to the ball. At the next level that can be the difference between a reception and first down or a turnover.

DSA Odds: Very...

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Friday, May 18, 2012

2013 In Depth: Defensive End

In our continuing series taking an in-depth look at the recruiting of each position, we once again return to the defensive side of the ball. Today we will look at the defensive end position.

In our first look piece on this position in February, we projected not much need at the position and the possible likelihood that there would be very few, if any, players taken at this position. After all, the Ducks signed five defensive end players in 2012 and two in 2011 while losing only Terrell Turner after 2011 and Dion Jordan after 2012. Looking at the Duck offer list, though, it is clear that the Duck coaches do have some players in mind that they would take at both strong-side and weak-side defensive end.

The difference is that the Duck coaches may be looking at weak-side defensive end players to fill the hybrid role currently being played exceptionally well by Dion Jordan. While the Ducks have plenty of defensive ends on the team, not many will be able to fill the void left by Jordan. Let's look at the players the Ducks have offered at the positions.

Eddie Vanderdoes

Status: Offered, Medium Interest

Overview: Vanderdoes is ranked as the 3rd best strong-side defensive end in the nation and the 21st overall player. Of the 4 offers to defensive ends, Vanderdoes is the only one listed in the database as a strong-side defensive end.

Strengths: The first thing that stands out about Vanderdoes is his size. At 6-4 and 285 pounds, Eddie already has the kind of size needed to play the strong side. In fact, with his size, strength and versatility, there are already schools telling Vanderdoes that they envision him in a hybrid role at defensive end and defensive tackle. He has the ability to play both at the next level. He has very strong hips and explodes through blockers. He is not a "one trick pony" as he displays several different rushing techniques all of which he is very effective at performing.

Weaknesses: There are usually not a lot of weaknesses with a top 25 player in the nation and that is true of Vanderdoes. On film, the only weakness visible is that Vanderdoes occasionally does not get into a very good position when he plays with his hand on the ground. He will have his hips in bad position and stand straight up.

DSA Odds: Very good

Vanderdoes has long considered Oregon one of his top three schools and has had very good comments about coach Azzinarro and the Oregon program. AS many of our readers know, Vanderdoes is friends with Arik Armstead which is a very favorable factor in his recruitment. A long time fan of the Oregon program, the odds that Vanderdoes chooses the Ducks, at this point, appear to be in the...

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012


For the past two weeks, Duck Sports Authority has been taking an in-depth look at the 2013 recruiting class position-by-position. Along the way we have revisited our initial projections for how many players will be taken at each position.

Today, we return to the offensive side of the ball and take a look at an under-appreciated asset at many schools; the tight end. In 2011 the Ducks played just two scholarship tight ends who could not have been at further ends of the spectrum if they tried; David Paulson and Colt Lyerla. Duck fans were excited about the potential that lay ahead at the position with Lylerla returning along with redshirt freshman Christian French and incoming freshmen Evan Bayliss and Pharoah Brown. The Ducks had another tight end on the roster, but Curtis White was forced to retire from football due to injuries. That marks the second tight end in two years who has had to give up football.

With that information, let's take a look at who the Ducks have offered and a couple of intriguing possibilities.

Mike Heuerman

Status: Offered, Committed to Notre Dame

Overview: Heuerman is a pretty decisive young man and had set a time for a decision which he was pretty true to keeping. He has a great frame at 6-4 and 225 pounds. Ranked the 10th best tight end by Rivals, the four-star prospect had narrowed his list down to four schools in April: LSU, Ohio State, Miami and Notre Dame. Heuerman has a brother at Ohio State and many people thought he would choose the Buckeyes. Instead, he felt Notre Dame was the right fit. Heuerman got an Oregon offer just a couple of weeks before he made his decision.

Strengths: Heuerman has good hands when catching the ball. He seems to take the right angle and makes good plays to the ball, does not let the ball get to him, he goes up and gets it out of the air. He is also a very good blocker and very effective either out of his tight end position or when split wide of sealing off his man allowing a bigger running play.

Weaknesses: Heuerman is not the crispest route runner often times with his release off the line. He tends to run stiff. As a run blocking tight end, he will definitely need to add some weight to have success at the next level. He also has a tendency when blocking to let his hands get outside where a hold would quite often be called at the next level.

DSA Odds: Click here to read entire story

Monday, May 14, 2012

2013 Recruiting In Depth: Outside Linebacker

Once again we return to the defensive side of the ball in our continuing series. the Oregon defense plays much more of a 3-4 hybrid with a "drop end" like Dion Jordan leaving the defense with three pure linebackers in the "Will," "Sam," and "Mike" positions. Though only one of the positions are a true outside linebacker, today's article will not break down the positions in this manner. We have already looked at the middle linebacker position in an earlier article leaving today's topic: outside linebacker.

Looking at the number of offers that Duck coaches have out to players listed at outside linebacker in the Rivals database, it is clear that the coaches are looking at the position as a priority. Currently there are five listed offers for the position which is the second most current offers at any position (offensive tackle leads with six).

Michael Hutchings

Status: Offered, Medium Interest

Overview: There are plenty of superlatives that can be tossed around when referring to Hutchings. HE is a four-star recruit ranked fourth at his position and 17th best player in the nation. He has been selected for the Army All-American game. As most Duck Sports Authority readers are already aware Hutchings also plays for the storied football powerhouse De La Salle in Northern California.

Strengths: You don't get ranked as one of the top twenty players in the nation without a lot of strengths in your game. The first, and most important strength is that he has great speed to go along with his 6-2, 210 pound frame. He uses his speed to his advantage in coverage. He is very good in zone coverage and has also shown good ball skills in man coverage. In run support, he has a good feel for the offense and flows with the play very well.

Michael Hutchings of De La Salle is a top target for Duck coaches
Weaknesses: When you are ranked as highly as Hutchings, there are not many weaknesses on which we can focus. The main thing that sticks out on film is that he has a tendency to tackle "high" at times. He gets away with it in high school, but in the Pac-12 those tackle attempts may lead to big gains by the stronger running backs. He looks like he needs to work a little on strength as well.

DSA Odds:...

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Sunday, May 13, 2012


I originally wrote the First Look series of articles in March for Duck Sports Authority. I had been so busy with those duties and work I had never been able to get the time to update the blog with this articles...

Now they are on here, but, of course, things change after a couple of months. So, as things change I may give brief updates. In this particular case, Fresno State lost one of their key offensive playmakers when Jalen Saunders transferred to Oklahoma.

The projection was for a fairly comfortable win, so the loss of Saunders doesn't change the overall projection much, though it will make it even more difficult for Fresno State to move the ball against the Ducks.

I hadn't paid much attention to the 2012 opponents over the last few weeks as I was working on the In Depth articles for DSA which focuses on the upcoming recruiting class. So a thanks to Rob Moseley for alerting me to the change in Saunders status.

Saunders did not make the decision until after Spring ball when he determined that the offense under their new head coach did not fit well with him and he looked around.

After making the decision, Saunders visited Washington, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma before choosing the Sooners.
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