Oregon vs. Washington hardly seems like a football rivalry anymore with the Ducks having beaten the Huskies in the last 11 meetings. However, the recruiting battles between the two schools remains fierce.

The class of 2015 is no different. And much like the two school’s rivalry, it has largely been dominated by the Ducks.

No position better exemplifies Oregon’s pull with its neighbor to the north than offensive line, where Rivals four-star Shane Lemieux and three-star Calvin Throckmorton turned down offers from the in-state program to play in Eugene.

Hailing from Yakima, a city more than 140 miles from Seattle, Lemieux wasn’t exactly pulled from the heart of “UDub” territory. Throckmorton is another matter. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound offensive lineman was practically plucked from Washington’s own backyard, representing a major coup for Oregon, as well as a startling reminder that times have changed in college football.

Throckmorton grew up just minutes away from the University of Washington campus, and admits that even his family was a little bit upset with his summer commitment to Oregon over the hometown Huskies.

“I think initially they might have been (disappointed),” he said. “I literally live 10-15 minutes away from the campus and their facilities. That would have been a huge bonus – to be able to play in front my family. Initially, some of my family might have been disappointed, but they came to see this was the best decision and they are fully supportive of me.”

For the towering lineman, what separated Oregon from Arkansas, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Utah and so many others wasn’t necessarily the winning tradition or the up-tempo offense.

More than anything else, Throckmorton was excited by the opportunity to learn from a coaching staff that would almost certainly be around for his entire college career. Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, a 27-year veteran of the coaching staff, has been a staple of the Ducks football program and carries a sterling reputation with current and former players alike.

“It was absolutely a huge factor when I committed,” Throckmorton said. “The coaching staff is incredible, and I really felt comfortable that everybody was there to stay. Assistant (coach) Greatwood, whenever I talk to other guys on the team, they always talk about him as if he were another father to them. He seems like a guy who not only wants you to be the best football player, but the best man you can be.”

In a college football offseason that has already seen its share of revolutions around the coaching carousel, Throckmorton sees other recruits scrambling to find the right fit after a changing of the guard and is grateful that he made his college choice before the start of his senior season.

“My whole goal, even before I committed, was to commit before my senior football season started so I could focus on my senior year and not have to worry about anything like that,” he explained. “Right now, to kind of see what’s going on with other people, it’s a great, great (decision).”

With his mind set on signing a letter of intent with Oregon on Feb. 4, the hard part begins.

In traditional offenses, offensive linemen are asked to protect the pocket on passing plays or make a particular block (or two) on a running play. Oregon doesn’t run a traditional offense, though, and offensive linemen are expected to create time for quarterbacks who like to scramble around and also make the correct blocks on the zone read.

Given all the fast-moving parts during a single football play, staying on the same page with five other 300-pound linemen, as well as a mobile quarterback and several different types of backs, can be a difficult task. Throckmorton believes that he has a leg up on most freshmen, because he has already learned how to make blocking adjustments on the fly. His high school team runs the triple-option.

“We obviously don’t run Oregon’s offense, but it’s similar (blocking) style,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to get used to it a lot quicker than some other people.”

The Ducks have commitments from U.S. Army All-American guard Zach Okun, who is already on campus, as well as Lemieux. Throckmorton, an early commit whose recruitment had died off by fall because he was so adamant that he had completed the process for good, doesn’t get the same attention as the other two.

Perhaps he should.

In a year that has seen Oregon State, Michigan, Florida and a host of other schools change coaching staffs, Throckmorton chose a school, not for flash, but for stability – just the type of reason a football program wants out of an offensive lineman.

— Andrew Nemec | @AndrewNemec 

– Click Here To Visit Article Source