Class of '13: Ducks Ramp It Up

13. That's the number of verbal commits that the University of Oregon had on January 16, the same morning that then-Ducks head coach Chip Kelly left to take the helm for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.

In the coming days we learned that four players from that class (San Diego based twins Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, wide receiver Darren Carrington and Texas running back Dontre Wilson) would be taking a look around and thus became "soft verbals" and could possibly be flipped to other schools. At the time, recruiting for Oregon had become stagnant, having not picked up a commit since late December.

Even before that, the Ducks were rather quiet during the football season. Despite having several visitors, Oregon only added three names to the class of 2013 in September, and went quiet throughout October and November.

A temporary decommitment from class jewel running back Thomas Tyner and a flip of offensive lineman Alex Redmond from Oregon to UCLA sparked concerns that coaching rumors involving Kelly were spooking possible prospects from committing to the program. Kelly's departure did nothing to alleviate concerns.

But, in the last two weeks, things have changed drastically for Oregon. Under new head coach Mark Helfrich, the Ducks coaching staff took a more aggressive attitude toward recruiting, sending up to seven coaches on the road to each of the commits homes to re-affirm their interest in the athletes.

Though Carrington and Wilson are still up in the air, it seems that the Robinson twins are back on board due to the visits. Additionally, Helfrich and company have had much better success closing on targets, having added four talented athletes in the last five days.

Phoenix (Ariz.) wide receiver Devon Allen broke the dry spell in a big way by committing last Friday after receiving a football offer from Oregon just days prior. He was quickly followed by Las Vegas (Nev.) offensive tackle Elijah George, who committed immediately after taking a visit to Oregon last weekend.

On Monday, Tucker (Ga.) safety Juwaan Williams committed to Oregon, revealing he had committed the Thursday before after an in-home visit from the coaching staff. The Ducks kept the ball rolling by bringing on Matthews (N.C.) wide receiver Jonathan Johnson as a preferred walk-on and got Texas quarterback Damion Hobbs to flip his commitment for the second time to join Oregon on Wednesday evening.

Surely, the renewed focus on recruiting and lack of distractions have aided Oregon not only in receiving commitments, but in pursuing targets as well. Cal commits Cameron Hunt and Johnny Ragin III are high on the Ducks priority list heading into the final week before signing day.

Hunt has raved about Oregon according to reports, and may have them as his team to beat. Ragin, a talented linebacker, comes from Wilsonville which is about an hour and change from Eugene. The Ducks chances of wooing them to their side may be elevated given the class they've been able to throw together in recent weeks and the offer that he received after an in-home visit on Tuesday night. He's scheduled to visit this weekend.

The Ducks also remain in the running for players like Alabama linebacker Zach Cunningham, defensive end Torrodney Prevot who isverbally committed to USC, UCLA verbal commit and linebacker Cameron Judge and USC respectively, TCU running back commit Trevorris Johnson and wide receiver Christian Cumberlander, a teammate of Jonathan Johnson's in prep school who was instrumental in Johnson's growth at the position.

Defensive ends Daeshon Hall and Davin Bellamy also remain on Oregon's radar.

Oregon now has 13 solid verbal commits with Hobbs' decision, 17 counting the four that technically remain soft verbals. With six spots left, there's no doubt the Oregon is a team to follow as signing day looms a week away.

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