No Chip? No Problem
Many fans across the college football landscape kept their eyes glued to their monitors last Wednesday as the top prospects across the land signed their National Letters of Intent to indicate where they would be continuing their educational and athletic careers. Coaches made last minute moves, players flip-flopped between teams, and moms even ran away with their son’s National Letter of Intent because of separation anxiety.
Yes, the 2013 National Signing Day had it all.
One of the teams that many people all along the West Coast were paying attention to was the Oregon Ducks (yes, that includes you too, Bob Condotta). As it is well-known by now, Chip Kelly left Oregon this offseason to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving Mark Helfrich and company to continue to forward the Ducks’ football program.
During Kelly’s time with the program, he built them into a recruiting powerhouse. After his departure, however, many believed the Ducks would not be able to haul in the top-tier recruits that they had during his tenure. And though Dontre Wilson may have flopped to become an Ohio State Buckeye (a move that was made because he wanted guaranteed playing time, which he may not have gotten at Oregon behind Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner), Oregon maintained a solid recruiting class while bringing in the pieces they would need for the future.
Let’s recap the top 5 commitments the Ducks received on National Signing Day, starting from No. 5 and working our way down to No. 1.
No. 5 – Evan Voeller
Eval Voeller was a huge get for the Ducks as they were able to bring in an extremely talented offensive lineman from in-state and keep him from heading out of Oregon territory.
The Ducks needed offensive lineman just about more than any other position this year. After not recruiting an offensive lineman last year (they switched Arik Armstead to play defense), Oregon was looking for their next group of young men that would eventually become their starting offensive line. Voeller fit the bill perfectly.
The young star is one of the more promising prospects at his position and was rated as a four-star prospect, within the ESPN 300, and was the No. 9 offensive guard by ESPN.com.
No. 4 – Cameron Hunt
For all of the same reasons that Voeller was a great pickup for the Ducks, Hunt was just that as well. In fact, signing Hunt was an even bigger get for the Ducks as they took him away from the California Golden Bears at the last minute while solidifying their recruiting class.
Hunt was also a nice addition as his signing may indicate that the Oregon staff, and especially Mark Helfrich, still has what it takes to recruit great players.
No. 3 – Tyree and Tyrell Robinson
We are grouping both Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson together as it only feels appropriate to do so (after all, they are twins). The Robinson brothers were two of the biggest signings for the Ducks as they are both great athletes and were considering attending the University of Washington (you escaped a close on there, boys).
Tyree is one of those players that the coaching staff will absolutely love. He has a broad set of skills, is a quick player, and will likely slot into a defensive back or wide receiver position. He’s a ball-hawk and will be exciting to watch as he progresses through the years.
Tyrell looks to be the part of yet another great Oregon linebacker. He has a little more size that his brother and is very physical at the line while demonstrating the speed it will take to hang with speedier tight ends and wide receivers.
No. 2 – Thomas Tyner
Thomas Tyner sits at No. 2 for the sole reason that he has been a Duck for quite some time. And while there was some speculation as to whether or nor Tyner would look at other programs after the departure of Kelly, the running back from Aloha, Oregon continually reaffirmed his pledge to the Ducks.
Tyner is one of the top backs in the nation, if not the top back. He was ranked as the second-best running back by scout and will pay huge dividends in Oregon’s spread attack with his speed and ability to make moves in the open field.
No. 1 – Torrodney Prevot
In a recruiting class that lacked true defensive players, Torrodney Prevot was an absolute jewel for the Ducks. Not only is he one of the top defensive ends in the nation, Prevot switched from USC at the last minute to sign with Oregon, an indication that the Ducks can still pull top recruits away from a legendary program like USC.
Prevot was the third player in as many years to flip to the Ducks after being a near certainty for the Trojans. De’Anthony Thomas, now one of the nation’s most explosive and exciting players, flipped in a last-minute decision that shocked the nation two years ago while Arik Armstead did the same thing last year.
Prevot capped off an extremely impressive Oregon recruiting class that filled all the holes the Ducks needed to address.
Though programs sometimes do emphasize allowing their younger players to wait a year before proving themselves on the field, it will be very interesting to see whether or not any of these players are able to find playing time this year, especially with Helfrich’s attitude of playing the best player available.