Winston has Ducks on top after visit

Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic linebacker La'Mar Winston discusses what stood out to him about his unofficial visit to Oregon and if they did enough to become his leader.

A week into spring football, the Oregon Ducks have to be feeling pretty good about their future stock of student-athletes. Already, they’ve landed two prospects in three-star offensive tackle Jacob Capra and four-star defensive back Troy Warner and on Friday, four-star in-state linebacker La'Mar Winston took an unofficial visit to Eugene.

No, Winston did not give the Ducks a verbal commitment during the trip, but the 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect did reveal he now has a leader.

“The visit put Oregon on top of my list,” he said.

Winston, who was accompanied by teammate and 2016 Oregon verbal commit Brady Breeze, said he enjoyed every aspect of his visit and felt at home. But one thing stuck out above the rest.

“If I had to give a specific event, the one that I enjoyed the most was going and meeting with the coaches individually and talking to them,” he said. “They were just basically explaining to me everything about the program and the academic center. That was the best part for me.”

Head coach Mark Helfrich, defensive coordinator Don Pellum, outside linebackers coach Erik Chinander and recruiting coordinator Jim Fisher each spent time with Winston and answered any questions he had about the program.

His time with Helfrich and Fisher centered around his impressions of the program while his time with the defensive coaches was spent discussing how he’d fit in and his chances of early playing time.

“They see me fitting in great,” he said. “There were two other linebackers visiting and neither one of them had offers because they wanted me to come. That was huge for me because it was showing that significant interest and I liked that a lot. Another thing that was X’s and O’s wise that they talked to me about was my chance of playing my freshman year. The chance of me playing is high, like me putting in the work and competing. I definitely can compete. I just need to be strong enough and that type of stuff.”

Winston tried to see as much as he could on the visit, but admitted that he and his family weren’t able to see everything. He watched practice on Friday and was impressed with the tempo at which it was conducted. Later, he met with some of the players.

“I was very comfortable out there,” he said of his time with the players. “I didn’t feel like I didn’t fit in at all. They were accepting and welcoming.”

Winston’s impression of the facilities was just as positive.

“Every single facility was, like, state of the art down to the nutrition director and stuff like that,” he said. “It was perfect. It was all great. That’s my first time going there and for a first time experience it took a toll on me.”

California, UCLA and USC will all receive visits from Winston over the summer and he indicated he likely won’t take any other visits until the fall because of his AAU basketball schedule. He said that Michigan and Oregon will definitely be getting official visits.

As far as a decision, Winston is in no hurry.

“I’m not going to rush it,” he said. “But the sooner I can know the better.”

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