Oregon Ducks recruiting: Signing day primer – OregonLive.com
Wednesday marks the first day 2015 football recruits can sign their letters of intent, and Oregon is poised to bring quite an impressive haul.
Currently, the Ducks’ class is ranked No. 15 in the country by Rivals – second in the Pac-12 and 18th in the country by average stars per commit (3.36).
The class is highlighted by five-star defensive end Canton Kaumatule and Oregon’s collection of the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 all-purpose backs in the country – Taj Griffin, Malik Lovette and Kirk Merritt.
Here are five signing day questions left to be answered:
How high can Oregon climb?
The class is in the top 15 as of Tuesday afternoon, but the Ducks could still get near a top ten class.
>>> 247Sports four-star Semisi Uluave, 6-5, 305, Honolulu, Hawaii: The talented offensive lineman is down to Oregon, Texas Tech and UCLA. The Ducks made up ground with an official visit this fall, but the Bruins have held a slight lead for months. Uluave is close to Kaumatule and likes Oregon on his own, so a future in Eugene wouldn’t be a total shock.
>>> Rivals four-star linebacker Josh Smith, 6-3, 219, Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Although he’s committed to Vanderbilt, Smith appears to have late interest in Oregon. A signing day switch could be in order for the U.S. Army All-American.
>>> Rivals five-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green, 6-4, 290, Gardena, California: Long considered a USC lean, Green appears destined to wind up in Los Angeles. However, he could still shock the recruiting world with a commitment to Arizona State, Miami (Fla.) or Oregon. He commits on ESPNU at 11 a.m.
>>> Rivals five-star linebacker John Houston, 6-3, 208, Gardena, California: Green’s teammate, Houston is the more likely of the two to choose the Ducks, but is still considered a long shot. Landing either, or both, would amount to a massive coup by Oregon. He commits on ESPNU at 11 a.m.
>>> Rivals-three star junior college linebacker Jonah Moi, 6-3, 245, Riverside, California: The junior college linebacker is committed to Washington State, but could switch to Oregon if the Ducks miss out on Smith and Houston. Far from the first choice, Moi could provide depth to a linebacking corp that was underwhelming last season.
Who could flip?
Oregon fans received a small scare when three-star cornerback James Locke was offered by Texas this week, but the coveted defensive back used Twitter to announce he was solid with the Ducks:
But the incident raised a question: Who could Oregon lose?
Luckily for the Ducks, many of their top talents are already on campus, including Kaumatule, Griffin, Under Armour All-American wide receiver Alex Ofodile and U.S. Army All-American Zach Okun. Four-star cornerback Ugo Amadi and U.S. Army All-American quarterback Travis Waller are also early enrollees. That leaves very few four-star talents who are capable of making a quick change.
Recent commit Kirk Merritt is unlikely to flip in 24 hours, although stranger things have happened, and while Malik Lovette has been quiet throughout the recruiting process, his commitment has never wavered.
As far as the big names, Oregon appears fairly safe.
How will the Ducks meet their linebacker need?
The biggest area of concern on the current roster, aside from replacing Marcus Mariota, is the linebacker position. Oregon was miserable during the college football playoff and doesn’t seem to have a true impact man in the middle.
Josh Smith, who is rated as the No. 2 inside linebacker in the country by 247Sports, could very well be in play at this point for the Ducks. John Houston, however, seems like a future Trojan.
If both players head elsewhere, Moi appears to be the last option.
Any wild surprises coming?
It doesn’t appear as though Oregon is on the cusp of any crazy moves, although that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? If the Ducks miss on Green, Houston, Uluave and Smith it’s possible they have a current Pac-12 commit thinking green and yellow.
Where will this class rank historically?
Oregon has only had a top ten recruiting class once. In 2011, the Ducks put together a collection that featured De’Anthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and little-known three-star prospects Jake Fisher and Marcus Mariota. That nucleus ended up at No. 9.
Top 15 classes have been rare, but that appears to be a real possibility at this point, especially if they can add a four-star recruit late in the process.