There is no doubt that the Ducks added plenty of skill talent on offense on signing day. It's as if they weren't already loaded at those positions already. They pretty much piled on by bringing in explosive running back/slot receiver types like Taj Griffin, Malik Lovette, and Kirk Merritt and even added an explosive runner at quarterback, Travis Waller, to boot.
Oregon fans have to be happy that they reloaded so well on offense in this class. On defense? They probably weren't as thrilled.
The Ducks signed only one blue chip defender, 5 star defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule, so on paper, it's not the haul that Oregon fans wanted to see after witnessing their defense being unable to stop Ohio State in the national championship game.
In going through the class though, I think there are three lower ranked defenders who could develop into very good players for the Ducks in the future. For one of them, I think the future means immediately this fall.
3 star JC linebacker Jonah Moi
Moi was committed to Washington State before flipping to the Ducks right before signing day. It wasn't the kind of flip that grabbed a ton of national headlines and likely got lost in the shuffle with what UCLA and USC did the next day, but Moi could make a bigger immediate impact than any other defender in the conference.
Junior college transfers always tend to be under the radar, so it's not surprising that Moi was rated as a 3 star player. His film screams 4 star to me though. He has blue chip talent.
He's an instinctive player that always finds the football and plays with a swagger. He's a fluid player in coverage and shows the potential to be a devastating blitzer. I think he will contribute right away this fall and that the Ducks got a steal in Moi.
3 star defensive tackle Rex Manu
The former Stanford commit plays a position that doesn't typically have a lot of 4 and 5 star players. He's a nose tackle that should grow into a perfect fit as a zero technique player in the Ducks defense. I can understand why he and other players like him are not highly rated, but Manu really is a player who has the potential to develop into a very good player in the right scheme.
I think the Ducks run the kind of scheme where he can be a very good run defender in the middle of their defense. He's already strong at the point of attack, plays well against the double team, and he's only going to get bigger and stronger. As a senior, he looked much quicker off the ball and continued to play with the kind of fire and effort that I think is going to make him a player at the next level. He likely is never going to be the kind of guy who racks up a ton of tackles for loss, but he should eventually be a very good starter for the Ducks.
3 star linebacker/safety Fotu Leiato
Leiato may be "internet famous" for his highlight tape that basically shows him destroying several unfortunate high school football players, but that still didn't earn him blue chip status as a recruit.
While he certainly should be a core special teams player that can impact the game with his physical play immediately, there is some uncertainty about his future position at the next level. The biggest reason why Leiato isn't considered a top recruit is because he is a bit of a 'tweener. He plays inside linebacker at the high school level, but is built much more like a safety. He also is much more of a blitzer that thrives on attacking rather than someone who has to read and react versus the run.
I think he can be more than just a big hitter and I see a move to strong safety the can play as a big nickel. I'm not sure if he'll ever fit into a traditional role in the Ducks defense, but I don't doubt that he is likely going to end up being one of the Ducks best eleven defenders that can play somewhere in the Ducks defense and eventually make an impact.