Sunday, October 27, 2013
Oregon impresses top targets with big win
By Erik McKinney
While the state of Oregon hosted two matchups between top-25 teams this past weekend, only the Ducks received official visits from two ESPN 300 prospects.
Not only was Oregon able to turn a 14-14 halftime tie into a 42-14 victory over UCLA, the Ducks put on said show in front of John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway). For Smith in particular, the visit went even better than expected.
"I thought it was going to be all about the facilities, but it wasn't," Smith said. "It was a great feeling. The environment at Oregon's stadium is something else. It was so loud, and the fans are great people too."
Smith is the nation's No. 41 overall prospect and No. 3 athlete. It was his third official visit, as he took trips to Ohio State and Notre Dame earlier this fall. Smith has trips scheduled to Alabama and Michigan later this year before he begins to really focus in on finalizing his recruitment. After this trip, however, things are likely looking up for the Ducks. While Smith said it was too early to know where exactly this puts Oregon on his list, the two-way standout added that, "Oregon is another top school to look out for."
UCLA has been all over the local product as well, and Smith mentioned that he was also impressed with the fight the Bruins showed in the game.
Smith and Nicholson were joined on official visits by Washington State commitment Braden Eggert (Napa, Calif./Napa) and Oregon commitment Tyrell Crosby (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley), but Smith wasn't the only Southern California receiver prospect on hand.
2015 ESPN 300 prospect Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) took an unofficial visit to Oregon this weekend and is another prospect being sought after by both the Ducks and Bruins.
"It was a good game," Broadus said. "I thought UCLA hung in there as long as possible. Oregon is usually a second-half team, so I was waiting to see how both teams came out in the second half, and Oregon did what they always do."
Broadus had an opportunity to visit the campus and spend plenty of time touring the facilities and what Oregon has to offer.
"The campus was amazing and I had a great time," Broadus said. "The fans are the best fans in college football."
This was also a big enough game that reactions weren't just limited to those in attendance. Both programs are serious recruiters on a national level and both have their sights set on ESPN 300 safety Mattrell McGraw (New Orleans/John Curtis). McGraw has called the Ducks and Bruins two of his leaders, so the nation's No. 193 overall prospect made sure to watch the game and came away impressed by the two teams.
"It was a great game," McGraw said. "Both teams played hard -- Oregon just had better athletes and experience. But in a year or two, UCLA will be a top-five program in the country."