Thursday, February 3, 2011
Oregon recruiting wrap
By Ted Miller
The 2011 class
Recruits: 23, 21 high school players and two from the JC ranks
Top prospects: A very fast team just got faster. The nation's No. 1 "athlete," DeAnthony Thomas, was lured away from USC on signing day. He'll play running back for the Ducks, but he could end up at cornerback. Devon Blackmon is the No. 2 athlete. Tacoi Sumler provides sprinter's speed at receiver. Andre Yruretagoyena and Jacob Fisher will bolster the offensive line. Colt Lyerla might actually be the best athlete in the class.
Needs met: The Ducks wanted to restock on the defensive and offensive lines, at linebacker and at receiver. They signed five offensive linemen, five receivers, five linebackers, three defensive linemen, two running backs, a safety, tight end and quarterback. So they mostly met their needs, though the class of defensive linemen isn't as strong as the others.
Analysis: The class ranked 14th in the nation and included five members of the ESPNU 150. Some are calling this the best recruiting class in Oregon history. It's clear the Ducks have taken a big step forward as a program -- first on the field, now in recruiting. The class includes players from eight states -- California (8), Arizona (3), Oregon (3), Hawaii (2), Iowa (2), Texas (2), Florida (1), and Michigan (1) -- so the Ducks are now national recruiters. On the downside, there were some misses, most notably on the defensive line: defensive end Roderick Byers decommitted from Oregon and signed with Clemson; defensive tackle Christian Heyward picked USC; and defensive tackle Delvon Simmons signed with North Carolina. Still, Oregon's positive momentum under coach Chip Kelly continues.
ESPN recruiting grade: B