- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
Under Chip Kelly, the Oregon Ducks have arguably become the hottest program in college football, both on the field and in recruiting.
Since Kelly first arrived in 2007, the Ducks have flipped LaGarrette Blount (Florida State) Darron Thomas (LSU), De'Anthony Thomas (USC) and Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) in recent years, proving they can go against the best and convince some of their top prospects to switch their commitments and ultimately sign with the Ducks.
The Ducks have become the trendy program out West, if not the entire country. By playing hard to get, or as Kelly calls it, "doing our due diligence," the Ducks leave kids yearning for an offer and a visit to campus.
In each of the past two years, the Ducks have convinced Michigan commitments to flip. In 2011, Oregon got Michigan native Jake Fisher despite a late push from the Wolverines and Florida. Last year, Ohio native and long-time Wolverines commit Pharaoh Brown spurned Michigan and a host of other schools when he signed with the Ducks.
The 2013 class seems no different with the Ducks in hot pursuit of long-time Wolverines commit Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington).
While there is no concrete evidence to support this thought since Conley has been committed since March.
Conley is fully aware of Hoke's policy of not allowing committed prospects to visit other schools, but recently spoke with Hoke and the Wolverines' staff and let them know of his plan to visit Ohio State and Oregon -- whom he recently called his "favorite school" -- despite the fact he might lose his spot in the Michigan class if he chooses to do so. After Oregon visited him at his school last month, Conley stated that the Ducks told him they have a similar policy to what Hoke and Michigan use.
The Ducks don't like to extend official visits to committed players, so Conley might need to decommit from the Wolverines before being offered a trip to Eugene. The most likely scenario is that the Ducks will agree to trip for the No. 62 player in the ESPN 150, knowing that his visit to Oregon would signal that he is no longer officially committed to Michigan. The Ducks also told him that if he does visit, that they would understand that he is no longer locked into Michigan and a scholarship offer would be his for the taking.
Discounting Ohio State, which recently offered the 6-foot-1, 170-pound athlete, is always a bad idea -- especially with Urban Meyer at the helm. If the Ducks do host Conley and give him a long-awaited offer, it looks as if it'd be three straight years of raiding the Wolverines' recruiting class.