What is Oregon getting in Griffin?

eDuck takes a look at what Oregon is getting in Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern running back Taj Griffin after he announced his verbal commitment on Thursday.

Player: Taj Griffin

Position: Running Back

Location: Powder Springs (Ga.)

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 168-pounds

Ranking: Four-star running back, ranked No. 6 nationally.

Scouting Report:

From Scout.com National Director of Scouting Scott Kennedy -

"Both quick and fast. Quick in his change of direction and making players miss, and fast in that he can run away from defenders in the open field. Griffin has excellent vision and despite his suddenness, he actually has very good patience. He's capable of running a draw play and setting up his blocks before showing off his incredible burst. He has good hands and the toughness to run between tackles when called upon."

What this means for Oregon

The Ducks continued their tradition of landing a top running back early in the recruiting cycle but, more importantly, they continued to establish a footprint in the South region. Griffin is the sixth commitment out of the region since 2013 and second from the Peach State, along with cornerback Juwaan Williams ('13).

Griffin will join a stellar group of running backs at Oregon that includes Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner and incoming freshman Royce Freeman.

The Ducks lost running back/wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas to the NFL Draft, but Griffin possesses qualities similar to Thomas — such as his 4.4 second 40-yard time and ability to make opposing defenses look silly in the open field when he changes direction — that head coach Mark Helfrich will no doubt lean on to add that wrinkle back in to running game.

After looking at his highlights, Griffin is very aggressive in-between the tackles despite his size. But, when he gets loose to the outside he becomes more dangerous because of his penchant to change directions and run diagonally up field, racking up yards while keeping defenders out of reach.

The waiting game

While Thursday was another reminder that Oregon has no problem landing elite running backs for its up-tempo offense, the question remains whether or not the Ducks can hold on to him until he signs a letter of intent.

National Signing Day is Feb. 4, 2015. That means Mark Helfrich and his staff have to wait for another 286 days unless Griffin signs early. That could be tough from 3,000 miles away. It'd be naive to think that the other programs (Alabama, UCLA, Ohio State, Auburn have all offered him) would rule out Griffin as a lost cause now. 286 days is a very long time and it is not uncommon for a recruit, no matter how solid they say they are initially, to have second thoughts as other top programs put the push on them.

When you factor in that there's still a whole season to play before then, it opens up plenty of opportunity for Griffin to change his mind.

Two years ago, Tyner briefly de-committed after staying solid with the Ducks for months. Although he re-pledged a day later, it represented how hard it is to keep other teams out of prospect's ears for a lengthy amount of time.

The difference this time is distance. Tyner was an in-state prospect at Aloha, Griffin hails from the most football obsessive region in the United States.

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