Countdown to Signing Day: Target Updates
We’re just over a week away from National Signing Day, and since our last update the Oregon Ducks have made progress on the recruiting trail. While a number of former targets appear to be out of the picture, the Ducks were able to land Steilacoom (Wash.) LB Fotu Leiato on Sunday night, making him the 20th verbal commit for the class. Who’s left, you may ask? Here’s a revised look at some top targets and where Oregon stands with them. Darrin Paulo — The big offensive tackle out of Sacramento visited Oregon last weekend, but he has yet to comment on the visit since returning home. Paulo is slated to visit Nebraska this weekend before LOI day. Iman Marshall — Marshall is scheduled to visit this weekend. He is the highest ranked player left on the board for Oregon and he would be an incredible cherry on top of an otherwise great class so far. Final impressions count, but will they count enough given the gauntlet of teams (Florida State, Michigan, USC, UCLA, LSU) that Oregon is up against for the five-star cornerback’s services? John Houston — Houston had an in-home with the Oregon coaches last night. We’re still awaiting word on how that went, but it does seem that the Ducks will indeed be a factor up until National Signing Day. Houston isn’t really tipping his hand, but the trend this late in the game usually indicates that SoCal prospects will stay put at home when it’s all said and done. Will Houston buck the trend? Jonah Moi — Moi had an early in-home visit with the Oregon coaching staff on Tuesday according to his Twitter. Although late to the game with the JUCO linebacker, Moi appears to be giving the Ducks a shot and the staff isn’t squandering the opportunity. We’ll see how effective the in-home was shortly, as Moi is not listed for a visit before National Signing Day as of right now. Kirk Merritt — Nothing much has changed with Merritt. He continues to play things close to the vest and will be the most intriguing prospect to watch for Oregon fans as National Signing Day nears. If the Ducks can land the SPARQ National Champion, there will be big speculation as to what the offense can do with so young and talented weapons. Semisi Uluave — Uluave will visit California this weekend according to Ryan Gorcey, where they’ll be able to make a final pitch to the Hawaiian offensive guard. Uluave has had the Ducks at or near the top of his list, usually tied with another program, since taking his official visit in November, but Texas Tech is now a bigger factor than previously anticipated. He’ll take a two year LDS mission before playing a game of college football. Gary Baker — The Upland (Calif.) defensive end is listed to visit this weekend and Baker is expected to host members of the Oregon coaching staff on Tuesday night at his home. Oregon has certainly taken a liking to Baker in recent weeks and it doesn’t sound like a decision will come until after his official visit. If the Ducks can make a lasting impression and hold off a few Pac-12 programs, they will land another DE. Tyrone Wheatley — Wheatley is another defensive end listed to visit, but it’s difficult to gauge where Oregon fits into the picture after several teams have come on strong in recent weeks, while the Ducks have seemingly attacked other areas. Alabama, USC and UCLA seem to be a factors, as does Michigan where his father is an assistant under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Will Wheatley Sr. be the straw that breaks the Ducks’ (and possibly others’) back down the stretch? Kyler Murray — Murray is seemingly back in the picture, but how much so? There’s been a lot of talk about Texas lately and Oregon already has a quarterback with great upside in Travis Waller. And while it’s seems highly unlikely at this point that he ends up a Duck all of a sudden, anything can happen this late in the game. He took a surprising unofficial to Texas last week. Will the coaching staff use one of the last official visits to try and woo Murray? Stay tuned.
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