Strengths from the Class of 2015

What are Oregon’s strengths when analyzing the current recruiting class? takes a look.

Currently with 13 commitments, Oregon has one of the deeper 2015 classes in the Pac-12 through mid-September, sitting at No. 23 according to 17 scholarships are set to be opened up after the conclusion of the 2014 season alone due to graduation, and more could possibly open up due to offseason departures, NFL Draft related or otherwise.

While the numbers will undoubtedly grow, the Ducks have managed to land in the Top 25 without a single true front seven prospect on defense.

Why then, are they so strong? Here are a few of the reasons why:

OL depth and size —

When analyzing the current state of Pac-12 recruiting, no other program can match the depth of Oregon right now. There are certainly teams that have bigger prospects on average, but those numbers are altered significantly if the team has only a couple of prospects on the line. (Utah or UCLA, for example).

Currently the Ducks are averaging about 6-foot-6, 280-pounds across the line, led by big offensive guard Zach Okun (6-foot-4, 303-pounds). With the current roster putting more of an emphasis on offseason lifting, these numbers could grow by the time these prospects eventually see the field.

The Ducks lead the conference with five committed prospects on the offensive line, giving them more depth than most conference foes by at least two players. Arizona is the only other program to have more than three verbally committed players on their line with four.

Keep in mind, the Ducks may not be done either, with Hawaiian offensive guard Semisi Ulauave (6-foot-5, 320-pounds) heavily considering Oregon along with Texas Tech and UCLA. But if the number holds, you can still chalk it up to another successful year for Steve Greatwood.

Running back versatility — The talent of Taj Griffin can’t be understated. Although he’ll miss the rest of his senior year with a torn ACL in his left knee, his first half performance in the season opener for McEachern (Ga.) showed how dangerous and dynamic he is with the ball in his hands when he found pay dirt three times in the first quarter.

He’s already declared for early enrollment at Oregon and should be healed up, if all goes well, before next season. Coupled with the dual-threat skill set of Malik Lovette, the West region’s top running back according to, Oregon has set itself up nicely at this position for the future, although Lovette could turn out to be helpful at another position along with our next prospect.

Ofodile’s big year — Oregon has recruited some players in recent years that have had big performances during their senior seasons. Thomas Tyner’s 644 rushing yard, 10 touchdown performance in 2012 for Aloha almost instantly comes to mind.

Last week, Alex Ofodile’s Rock Bridge (Mo.) squad weren’t able to pull out the win against the top team in the state, Lee’s Summit West, but the Oregon wide receiver commit put on a show in the 48-34 defeat. Ofodile hauled in 14 receptions for 286 yards and four touchdowns, prompting Upper Midlands recruiting analyst Derek Young to say it was “one of the best performances I’ve seen” on Twitter.

Of course, one outstanding game doesn’t make a player, but Ofodile has been a star for the 2-2 Bruins by posting 30 receptions for 583 yards and 7 touchdowns in four games this season, along with a blocked punt. One has to wonder that if he could put up that kind of performance in that timespan, what will he do with the rest of the season?

Battle for the throne — Travis Waller may not have been the Ducks first choice at quarterback, but he could be the perfect fit for the offense in the future. national director of scouting Scott Kennedy recently highlighted this possibility in a recent analysis of the Anaheim (Calif.) Servite four-star prospect, which also documented his growth over the past year.

Waller’s continued improvement has been on display this season as he’s tallied four touchdowns apiece through the air and on the ground through three games. This is a good sign for an Oregon team that will soon face a dilemma with the eventual departure of star quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Waller, current redshirt sophomore Jeff Lockie and freshman Morgan Mahalak (2795 yds., 38 TDs, 4 INTs passing, and 82 att., 575 yds. and 7 TDs rushing in 2013 as a senior for Marin Catholic (Calif.)) look to be the heirs to the throne as of now, so there will be no shortage of intrigue behind center once Waller arrives on campus next season.

DB depth — Much like Greatwood, secondary coach John Neal is having another terrific year on the recruiting trail. All three defensive prospects have the aggressive edge that the secondary has become known for with cornerback James “P.J.” Locke III and safety Dylan Kane named as top ten prospects in their region at their position.

Despite the Ducks lacking defensive talent in the front seven, the trio of Locke, Kane and cornerback Jihree Stewart bring toughness to the table and they will join an already deep secondary in 2015.

Stats collected from ESPN, Rock Bridge Football, Whittier Daily News, HS Scoreboard The Buzz and the Columbia Tribune.

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