While the Oregon Ducks are past the midway point in this seasons rebuilding year (3-6 overall), the 2016 recruiting class could still provide some hope and encouragement for Duck fans.
Heading into this weekend, the Ducks are hosting a mix of offensive and defensive prospects, including a trio of four-star cornerbacks, a duo of four-star defensive tackles, a three-star running back, a three star quarterback, and a three-star wide-receiver.
1. Thomas Graham
One of the top prospects on the Ducks’ radar is top cornerback Thomas Graham. The four-star cornerback is currently ranked number eight in the state of California and 54 overall nationally.
Although being heavily recruited by Oregon Secondary Coach John Neal, it looks like UCLA, Notre Dame, Arizona, and USC are all favored over the Ducks for Graham’s services. Hopefully Oregon’s defense can step up this weekend in order to make a lasting impression on Graham.
2. Jaylon Redd
Another top cornerback in the 2017 recruiting class is Jaylon Redd, who recently committed to the Ducks on September 26th. Redd is currently a four-star recruit who is ranked 23 in the state of California and 203 overall nationally.
Even though Redd had offers from schools like Michigan, USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and more; he has stayed true to his commitment to the Ducks. This weekend’s visit should firm up his commitment, while providing his insight and perspective to other visiting recruits.
3. Elijah Gates
Another top prospect that has been on the Oregon Ducks’ radar is four-star cornerback, Elijah Gates. Gates is currently ranked 31 at his position and 262 overall nationally.
Although Oregon has been pursuing the California native for some time, it seems that he will stay in-state, favoring UCLA. Hopefully the Ducks will continue to pursue Gates’ services and the team will impress him this weekend.
4. Martin Andrus
With Oregon clearly needing help on defense, Oregon Defensive Coordinator Brady Hoke has been focused on recruiting three-star defensive tackle Martin Andrus. Currently, Andrus is ranked 20 among his position and 351 nationally.
Since the Ducks are without a defensive tackle commitment in this year’s recruiting class, Andrus would certainly bring key talent to help strengthen the defense next year. However, Oregon needs to gain major ground in order to beat out USC (who is the current favorite for Andrus’ services).
5. Popo Aumavae
Another top defensive tackle that Oregon is hosting this weekend is three-star Popo Aumavae. Although being overshadowed by Martin Andrus, Aumavae is a solid prospect; ranked 26 among his position and 379 nationally.
Although being heavily recruited by Oregon, Michigan, and Washington, Aumavae, has been silent about his recruiting interest. However this could change if his visit goes well on Saturday.
6. Bryan Thompson
After continuing to strike-out on receiving commitments for the wide-receiver position, Oregon continues pursuit of three-star wide-receiver Bryan Thompson. Thompson is currently ranked 45 in the state of California and 392 nationally.
Good thing that Thompson is heavily interested in playing for the Ducks. However, Boise State is trying to silently creep up and steal Thompson, vying to make him their third commitment in this years’ recruiting class. Hopefully Oregon can impress Thompson this weekend to get a commitment out of him.
7. Cyrus Habibi-Likio
Even though Oregon has already received a commitment in the running back position in this year’s class (three-star CJ Verdell), the Ducks continue to show interest and pursue three-star Cyrus Habibi-Likio. Habibi-Likio is currently ranked 47 among his position and 775 nationally.
Even though Oregon was a tad late in Habibi-Likio’s recruitment, the Ducks are still in the mix along with Washington State. Hopefully Oregon Running Back Coach Gary Campbell can recruit Habibi-Likio heavily in order to add another commitment in the running back position.
8. Hendon Hooker
The Ducks are still without a quarterback commitment in this year’s recruiting class, and some are worried that Oregon will not get one with two months remaining. Nevertheless, there is still hope as Oregon pursues Virginia Tech Commit Hendon Hooker, who is ranked 11 among the quarterback position and 375 nationally.
However, with Justin Herbert looking to be in control of the Oregon offense for the next three years, it may be difficult to convince Hooker to switch his commitment to the Ducks. But, as we all know, commitments sometimes mean nothing. If Oregon Quarterback Coach David Yost can convince Hooker that he would receive more training and development at Oregon and be the future quarterback after Herbert, the Ducks could get their first commitment in the quarterback position for this year’s recruiting class.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of the prospects that Oregon is hosting this weekend. Let’s hope that the Ducks come away with an impressive win against Stanford on Saturday to aid in Oregon’s recruiting campaign.