Is the state trending up or down?

Last week, the initial Scout 300 list for the class of 2015, which provides an overview of the top high school football recruits in the nation, was released. Even though there is no shortage in talent, the state of Oregon was unable to place a single athlete on the list.

While Oregon is not a football hotbed, compared to the likes of Georgia or Texas, the state has produced some quality talent over the past decade, leaving some to wonder if 2015 will be a down year. Washington was able to place six athletes on list and even Idaho was able to put an athlete on it. Despite Oregon being able to put together solid classes in the past few seasons (including a top-heavy class in 2013) the question remains, "Why was Oregon left off the list? "

"Looking at the early returns on the 2015 class, I don't see a lot of elite in-state talent in Oregon," National Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman said. "There's going to be guys that get recruited; there's going to be guys that get offered; there's going to be some quarterbacks in that state that are going to get recruited like (Roosevelt quarterback) Kimane Domena, (Lakeridge quarterback) Eric Dungey and (West Salem quarterback) Cade Smith, but there's no Thomas Tyner in that mix right now."

Tyner, currently a freshman at Oregon, spearheaded that 2013 class along with current teammate Evan Voeller, as well as BYU's Brayden Kearsley. But, even though there isn't an Oregonian on the initial list, Huffman doesn't think Oregon is trending downwards in terms of talent overall.

"No question it's grown in talent," Huffman said. "Last year was a good year for the state of Oregon with top-tier talent, but the depth wasn't really that great because once you got past a lot of those guys, there weren't a lot of heavily recruited guys. This year, there's not that top end talent from last year, but I think the depth is greater."

Still, there seems to be a negative connection between state of Oregon athletes and recruiting at-large. One of the state's top 2014 prospects, Southridge wide receiver Jordan Morgan, told Huffman of a conversation he had with Ohio State coaches recently, which shed a little light on the perception by some of football in Oregon.

"He said part of the reason they wanted him to come to camp was because he was from Oregon and they just weren't sure about the football that those guys play out there," Huffman said.

The negative stigma doesn't seem to attach itself as strongly to the state of Washington, which Northwest Elite Index's Jordan Johnson and Huffman agree is due to a perception that Washington has a different way of approaching football, giving them an advantage in being seen earlier.

"In Washington, you get a lot of these big camps that a lot of the younger guys are getting up to, so we're getting to see them earlier," Huffman said.

"When we go do our events in Seattle from January through March, and then we do them in Portland, the intensity level is different," Johnson said. "In Washington, they take their football seriously. Not that Oregon doesn't, but it's a different atmosphere."

Having worked with several of these athletes personally, Johnson believes that there are a number of players that will break out during their junior seasons. While Domena already has offers from Portland State, BYU and Colorado State, there are a few others poised to breakout, including Central Catholic running back Cameron Scarlett and Jesuit running back Chase Morrison.

"Cam Scarlett, because of his size (6-2, 205) is really under the radar, especially with how fast he is," Johnson said.

"(Morrison's) going to go off this year with Jesuit," Johnson said. "He'll get the ball 30 times a game running with Joey (Alfieri) and behind him. The line isn't what it was last year, but he'll still go for a couple of thousand yards and 30 touchdowns."

Johnson also had positive words to say about West Salem wide receiver Keegan Hlad.

"I love Keegan," Johnson said. "I think he's the best receiver in Oregon."

Despite their overall absence, Huffman thinks it is too early to worry about Oregon players on the list. Joey Alfieri, a Stanford verbal commit, just cracked the 2014 Scout 300 after wowing schools during camp season, where he was one of ten finalists for the coveted SPARQ championship. At the end of the day, it is a cyclical process.

"I don't think there's reason to be concerned," Huffman said. "The one thing that we have said more and more about the 2015 list is that it's not going to look at all like the Scout 300 list in February 2015."

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