The Oregon Ducks have to be pretty thrilled about the performance of their 2013 recruiting class. After some initial tension at their performance, Oregon rallied to put together what should be one of the finest Pac-12 recruiting classes this year. Noah Smith talked more about it on Addicted to Quack.
But the new head coach has so far made all the right moves. Watch his post-signing press conference: this guy knows WAY more about his recruits than anyone else out there. And notice how much he thinks the players have in common. These guys fit the Oregon football culture.
Helfrich has kept together an excellent recruiting class, one that boasts 10 All-Americans. He's hired two outstanding coordinators in Matt Lubick and Ron Aiken. And he enters the fall with a team worthy of all the hyperbole. The engine is still running in the Oregon machine.
Noah took some time to answer some questions on the Oregon 2013 recruiting class.
1. How well do you think Oregon filled positions of need in this class? Are there any places they came up short?
Oregon did an excellent job of addressing positions of need, which were linebacker, offensive line, and running back (in that order). They pulled in five O-line recruits, including two All-Americans; they grabbed three or four quality linebackers (depending on where Tyrell Robinson and Torrodney Prevot end up); and finally they nabbed arguably the best running back in the country in Thomas Tyner, and another solid back in Kani Benoit. The only "miss" I see is Dontre Wilson, which has been well documented but ultimately shouldn't affect Oregon too much this year.
2. Compare Thomas Tyner to all the other Oregon running backs. What characteristics does he take from each one?
Tyner really is a unique back compared to others in program history. He possesses the speed and competitiveness of LaMichael James, but is a better pass-catcher, a la Kenjon Barner. But he's bigger than those backs too. Though not quite the size of a player like LeGarrette Blount, he does compare favorably in size to a player like Reuben Droughns. However, I think the Oregon player that Tyner most resembles is Onterrio Smith, a player who had all the talent in the world and could have starred in the NFL, but who ultimately failed due to personal issues and a lack of maturity. In that respect, Tyner is much more like Jonathan Steward, LMJ, and Barner in terms of his maturity and humility on and off the football field.
3. If you were to rank Oregon's position in the Pac-12 recruiting hierarchy, it would be ______ because ______.
I think this is a tough question to answer. I think Oregon is better than any other team in the Pac-12 in terms of player development. Whether that means they do better at identifying under the radar players or whether they're coaches are that much better at player development than the rest of the Pac-12, I'm not 100% sure. I think it's probably a mix of both. That said, I do think they could improve at "playing the recruiting game", so to speak. The way recruiting works now is not going away any time soon, especially with the recent revisions to the NCAA rules. I think the coaches could be more aggressive in pursuing players they want to sign with them. Early results from the Mark Helfrich era suggest they will improve in that area. So, giving them a ranking based on the past few years, I'd say they are #1 in terms of on-field results. In terms of getting guys with the most stars next to their name, I'd rank them third or fourth in the Pac-12 behind schools like UCLA and USC.
4. The player I think will make the most immediate impact [other than Tyner] is ____________ because ________.
Linebacker Joe Walker. He is a JUCO transfer who showed up this semester in great shape and ready to compete. Everyone knows the linebacker recruits will get a chance to play early and I think Walker is the best bet because he's older and bigger than the other LBs recruited by Oregon.
5. Who are the under the radar recruits to watch for in this class who could be on the field sooner rather than later?
Jake Pisarcik on offense and Chris Seisay on defense. Pisarcik is a tight end who converted to offensive line in his senior season after growing three inches and putting on 50 lbs. He's athletic and has great footwork. Seisay is a defensive back who the coaching staff reportedly loves. He's got a thin frame right now but is tall for a DB and has great coverage skills. I don't think either player has a great chance to play in year one, but it would not surprise me if one or both broke the two-deep after a year of conditioning.