NSD: Oregon wrap-up

Oregon wrapped up National Signing Day on Wednesday with two new commits, no decommitments, but left some with a few questions left to ponder. Chief among them, did they do enough?

This will be a discussion that depends on your outlook. Some will defend the class for its depth in certain areas, while some will point out that the Ducks failed to cash in at positions where they needed it most.

First lets examine the positive. For the second straight year the Ducks have accumulated a 20-man class littered with talent. For the second straight year they've landed a five-star running back.

Secondary coach John Neal was able to land a five-man defensive back unit that is full of upside and could see multiple players on the field sooner than later. And from linebacker to offensive tackle, there is plenty of talent that will have an impact at some point in the future.

Mattrell McGraw and Khalil Oliver, the two defensive backs that committed on Wednesday, both bring versatility and skill with their styles of play.

McGraw comes from John Curtis Christian, a program that spits out titles the way Alabama spits out huge NFL prospects. He's competitive and can play just about anywhere in the secondary, telling eDuck last week that he could start as a nickel or dime back in an effort to get him on the field sooner.

Oliver is a bigger defensive back and could develop into a pseudo DB-linebacker type down the road. He will run the 110-meter hurdles at Oregon as well, showing that he's not just big, but fast and a player you want putting pressure on the ball.

They join Arrion Springs, Glen Ihenacho and JUCO transfer Dominique Harrison who, according to a tweet from OregonLive.com's Andrew Greif on Wednesday, has reportedly wowed teammates so far since arriving in December and projects to play early. And speaking of JUCO transfers, Haniteli Lousi and Tui Talia, both four-star athletes, should bring some help to the offensive and defensive lines respectfully.

Behind them are a pair of 300-plus pound offensive tackles in Tyrell Crosby and Braden Eggert, and recent defensive tackle Austin Maloata, who reportedly weighed in at 291 pounds according to eDuck's Erik Skopil, giving the Ducks some needed size on the defensive line.

The Ducks continued to add depth to their running back unit with five-star running back Royce Freeman and Florida speedster Tony James. The two are poised to create a thunder/lightning combo in the backfield once James fully recovers from a broken ankle suffered at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl last month.

Freeman scored three touchdowns in the U.S. Army All-American Game last month, showing the effectiveness of his six foot, 230-pound frame in short yardage situations, while James brings a little more versatility to the position, telling eDuck earlier this week that he saw himself in the mold of a LaMichael James or Kenjon Barner.

Other solid pickups including four-star linebacker Jimmie Swain, the nation's top long snapper in Tanner Carew, and four-star quarterback Morgan Mahalak are reasons why Oregon finished with a Top 25 recruiting class this season according to Scout.com.

"With the exception of receiver and linebacker, Oregon did a great job in this class, with balance throughout and key pieces at certain positions," Scout.com National Analyst Brandon Huffman said. "A four-star quarterback with a similar career arc as Marcus Mariota, one of the premier running backs in the country, three impact offensive tackles and a great safety trio highlight another top 20 class for the Ducks."

That's not to say the negatives don't stand out. Trey Lealaimatafao's commitment to LSU signified that the staff weren't able to land the big time defensive tackle that the class was missing. John "Juju" Smith's decision to stay home and go to USC disappointed many fans who were hopeful that the Ducks were able to get the inside edge as had been speculated going into Wednesday afternoon.

Group Wednesday's activity with other missed opportunities at defensive tackle and Budda Baker's January decommitment and subsequent commitment to rival Washington and there's no doubt the final stages of the process weren't as rosy as earlier ones.

But, we won't know anything for sure for a few years. Not until this group sees significant field time can we truly and accurately judge how much talent the Ducks assembled on Wednesday. Until then, it all depends on your outlook.


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