Though most casual fans judge a team’s current and future success on the on-field product and coaching, those with close knowledge of the game know that a team’s future performance starts and ends on the recruiting trail.
Coming off of three consecutive BCS births and conference championships, the Oregon Ducks had issues to address with recruiting just like every team does. Due to graduation of senior leaders and early departures from a few key players, the turnover this year was going to be high for the Ducks.
But having that recent success on the field, as well as the best facilities in the nation and a very strong fan base, has helped Chip Kelly and his staff pull high school stars from around the country to Eugene.
This year the Ducks have signed 21 players to come to Oregon in another successful round of recruiting. Of those 21 players, 9 earned All-American accolades. In all Oregon’s recruiting class is ranked around 15th by most scouts, their second consecutive season ranked in the top 15.
Over the past few years it has become clear what type of players Kelly wants in his system. He needs fast, explosive players on both sides of the ball. On offense he is looking for quickness, athleticism and versatility, while on defense he wants aggressive and speedy defensive backs and height along the defensive line.
This year was a perfect example of these trends, with a particular focus on the defensive line. Of the 21 players the Ducks signed, 5 or 6 will be defensive linemen and none are shorter than 6’6. The headliner of this recruiting class is Arik Armstead, a 6’8, 285lbs 5-star defensive lineman from Elk Grove, CA. Armstead is one of the most coveted players in the nation this season and was ranked as the 24th overall player in the class by ESPN and 4th by 247 sports. Armstead will have an opportunity to compete right away in Eugene and will be enrolling in the spring to take part in spring drills. Also of note, Armstead will also play basketball for Dana Altman and the Ducks.
A few of the more exciting players in this recruiting class will play on the offensive side of the ball for Oregon including running back Byron Marshall and wide receiver/athlete Bralon Addison.
Marshall runs a 4.38 40-yard-dash and ran a 10.67 100-meter time as a sophomore. Marshall has had a few injury problems in his career but he is expected to be 100% healthy and has a chance to see the field next season with the departure of All-American LaMichael James.
Addison is a phenomenal athlete that can play pretty much anywhere in Kelly’s offense, but most expect to see him at wide receiver. Addison was All-State 1st team quarterback in Texas and nearly led his team to a state championship single handedly. There is a talented group of wide receivers that all redshirted this season for the Ducks, but Addison may be explosive enough to find his way into some packages if he can learn the offense fast enough.
Oregon also addressed needs at tight end and defensive back with this class. With a lack of depth at tight end and the number of players needed on a regular basis to play in an aggressive Oregon secondary, these players should all have an opportunity to compete for playing time if injuries occur to returning starters.
The class as a whole averages 6’3, 222lbs which is the largest in Oregon history. The type of athlete is changing in college sports and the Ducks are the ones leading that revolution.
For a complete detailed breakdown of the Oregon recruiting class follow this link to goducks.com.
About the Author
Written by Rob Parness
My name is Robbie Parness and I am a student at the University of Oregon. I'm a California native that loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. I would love to become a sports writer someday or work in sports in any capacity.