The Oregon Ducks football program has made a lot of history already in the class of 2019.

Cornerbacks MyKael Wright and Jeremiah Criddell are the two highest-rated defensive back pledges in program history, Tennessee wide receiver Lance Wilhoite is the highest-rated Rivals recruit to commit to Oregon since Thomas Tyner in the class of 2013, and four-star prospect Mase Funa is the highest-rated linebacker ever to pledge to the Ducks.

But that quartet of elite prospects will need help, and thus far Oregon’s coaching staff has obliged with one of the most talent-rich collections of athletes the program has ever recorded. 

With 14 commitments, however, there’s still work to be done.

Funa, for example, will need some help at the linebacker position.

Hoping to address that need, Oregon will host Rivals four-star linebacker Jared Casey on an official visit September 1 for the season opener against Bowling Green.

“I love Oregon,” he said. “The coaches reach out daily. I plan on coming down for the first game.”

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound ‘backer, out of Louisville, Kentucky, indicated that he is “very serious” about Oregon and does not consider distance a factor in his recruitment.

Aiding Oregon’s cause is his long-standing relationship with Oregon outside linebacker coach Cort Dennison from his time at Louisville.

“I talk with coach (Stephen) Field and coach (Cort) Dennison the most, but they all reach out,” Casey explained. “I knew Coach Dennison from Louisville already.”

Securing a commitment from Casey, who plans to be an early enrollee, would be a major coup for the Ducks, but recruiting sites are torn on his value.

247Sports considers him a three-star prospect, while Rivals lists him as a four-star talent, as well as the nation’s No. 13 inside linebacker.

Casey recently took part in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, and according to Woody Wommack, proved to be worthy of his higher Rivals ranking and earned the “stock steady” label as a four-star talent:

“Casey is a throwback classic inside linebacker and the type of player who flies around the field to make big hits in games,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate that well to camps, so Casey found himself on the losing end of a few reps during one-on-ones. But as a four-star outside of the Rivals250 he held his own and will have his best chance of showing what he can do on the field this fall now that he’s fully healthy from an injury that limited him last season.”

Oregon clearly wants to get bigger along the front seven, and Casey would certainly add yet another physical presence to that group.

Expect his early-season trip to Eugene to be a major factor in his eventual commitment.

— Andrew Nemec
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