Recruiting — Without a linebacker
If you take a look at what Oregon has accumulated in terms of talent from the 2015 recruiting class, they’ve been successful at most positions. Six of the Ducks 2015 commitments are the top players at their position in their state. Five are members of the Scout 300. Three are U.S. Army All-Americans. The offensive line has been loaded with talent since June after a string of early verbal commitments. The secondary has three verbal commitments that promise to add talent and depth. The Ducks have landed a possible candidate for their quarterback of the future in Travis Waller. They’ve landed one of the top running backs in the country in Taj Griffin. At wide receiver they have a blend of big play talent and versatility in Alex Ofodile and Malik Lovette. And, three talented defensive line verbal commitments in a row has quelled worries about the defensive front seven. Well, most worries. The Ducks still have a gaping hole in their recruiting class and it sits at linebacker. It’s not for a lack of trying, but with a limited number of prospects at the outside and inside positions and most passing over Oregon up to this point, it seems that last year’s worry about landing defensive linemen will transfer over to another position. There are still options out there. Davon Durant, John Houston and Tevis Bartlett are a few of the names and new names are sure to pop up as senior tapes make the rounds and Oregon, as evidenced by Durant, has no qualms about delving into the junior college ranks. The Ducks landed only one true linebacker last season in Jimmie Swain, and even though the Ducks are losing only two players on the two-deep to graduation in Tony Washington and Derrick Malone, they’re slated to lose four more linebackers to graduation after next season in Joe Walker, Tyson Coleman, Christian French and Rodney Hardrick. That is a lot of experience and success to make up for at a crucial position. Guys like Swain, Danny Mattingly, Johnny Ragin and Torrodney Prevot will be tasked with carrying the program forward at linebacker, but they’ll need depth behind them and there’s not a lot of that. It’s crucial that Oregon makes a dent this season and lands a couple of prospects. It isn’t the end of the world if that doesn’t happen, but they’re setting up for a thin year in 2016 if so. There’s still over two months until National Signing Day and with the limited amount of official visits they have left at their disposal, the focus shouldn’t be on a big play skill guy. Even at Oregon, where offense is king, it’s the defense that wins championships. If the Ducks want to continue that success, it starts with filling up that front seven this year.
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