The Oregon Ducks are in need of several linebackers in the class of 2016, and even with a few already on board, the program looks prepared to add three more into the fold.

Rivals four-star prospect Darrian Franklin is the only certain linebacker pledge, although both defensive end Hunter Kampmoyer and safety Troy Dye could project to the middle tier of the defense as well.

Four-star talents Camilo Eifler, La’Mar Winston and Chase Claypool are considering Oregon and are expected to announce decisions at next week’s The Opening Finals in Beaverton. There’s also athletic outside linebacker Bryce Youngquist, who said he is “90 percent” sure he will commit to a future in Eugene.

But even the most optimistic Oregon fans don’t see the trio of Eifler, Winston and Claypool all picking the Ducks, which means at least one more spot will be available for an elite talent.

That player could be Rivals five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly, who not only announced that Oregon was set to get an unofficial visit at the end of the month, but also indicated they are in line to make his next cut.

“I’m making a cut soon – a top seven, top five maybe,” Kelly said. “I’m pretty sure (Oregon) will make it. I’m planning on taking an official there, even if I didn’t get to go (this month), but now I’m sure I’ll get to go.”

The reason for his spike in interest is simple: Oregon will be desperate for linebacker talent after this season.

Joe Walker, Tyson Coleman, Christian French, Rodney Hardrick are all seniors and will be expected to register significant snaps next season.

The cupboard won’t quite be bare, but the opportunity for a five-star talent to play right away will certainly be available.

“They just don’t have a lot of linebackers. I talk to Coach (Erik) Chinander all the time, and Coach (Don) Pellum,” Kelly said. “He came to the school and told me the situation and how it was. It was just real quick, because they can’t talk long. He just told me the situation. They need linebackers and they need athletic linebackers, like me. I’m versatile and can play all around the field and they won’t have to switch out. They can keep their personnel in, work with them and perfect it that way.”

But even with the opportunity to play early in Eugene, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker, out of Clovis West High School (Fresno, California), appears to be favoring Oklahoma and Michigan.

The Ducks are a long shot to add Kelly into the fold, but with two possible chances to persuade him on campus, he will be a prime target to watch this fall.

— Andrew Nemec
[email protected]
@AndrewNemec

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