While dead period rolls on, the major question looming over Oregon for the rest of the 2016 recruiting cycle is this: what’s left?
Oregon has done some major damage over the course of the last year and a half to currently hold the 13th best class in the country according to Scout.com. That’s good enough for second in the Pac-12, just behind Stanford.
The Ducks have a fairly balanced class on both sides of the ball with 19 commits (10 offensive, 9 defensive) and an FCS transfer slated to come in at QB in Dakota Prukop. But there’s always room for improvement. Here’s a look at what could happen down the stretch.
Connor Murphy is obviously a big target for Oregon. The four-star defensive end and brother of former Stanford star Trent, has already taken an official visit to Oregon and came away quite impressed. But Michigan, coached by his brother’s former head coach Jim Harbaugh, is in the mix, as is USC and he has a number of official visits left at his disposal after dead period.
If Murphy doesn’t work out, there are several other options along the defensive front seven. Jonathan Kongbo, a JUCO prospect out of Arizona that is verbally committed to Tennessee, will visit Oregon next month per OregonLive.com and he already has a connection to the program in former Ducks linebacker Boseko Lokombo. Defensive coordinator Don Pellum and Ron Aiken have already visited him during the break so it’s obvious that he remains a wanted target.
Outside of Kongbo, Isaiahh Loudermilk remains an option. As does Brandon Bowen or Thomas Schaffer. All three have visited Oregon and all three, like Murphy, enjoyed their trips. However, Schaffer, an Austrian product playing in Illinois, may stay closer to the Midwest when it’s all said and done and Loudermilk, while admitting he felt comfortable at Oregon, has hinted at possibly staying closer to home.
Brian Dohn reported Oregon is still in pursuit of outside linebacker Aaron Hansford out of Washington D.C. The Ducks visited him before the dead period and he also has seen the Ducks play twice this season, one of those coming on an official visit to Oregon and the other a visit to Michigan State. Four-star Maryland prospect Keith Simms also remains an option having named Oregon in his top four.
Safety Lamar Jackson still remains a possibility but that hope seems to be dwindling due to two cancelled visits in recent months.
And then there’s Nigel Knott. The top corner in Mississippi officially visited Oregon and then basically shut down his recruitment. But a recent interview with Scout.com’s John Garcia suggests that Knott may stay in the region and not play his for his father’s former coach, John Neal, in Eugene.
Offensively, up front the Ducks are looking at Garett Bolles and Scott Lashley. Bolles, a five-star offensive lineman is the top uncommitted junior college prospect in the country according to Scout and he has already taken an official visit to Oregon. Lashley, who comes out of Mississippi, will take an official visit late next month. Lashley was impressed by Oregon coming down to offer him and told OM Spirit that he’s interested to see what life is like out of the South.
Four-star California prospect Javon McKinley seems to be at an impasse when it comes to making his choice next month at the U.S. Army All American Game according to Greg Biggins. McKinley has liked Oregon for a while and runs an offense he’s already familiar with, but will that be enough? We’ll find out in January.
Running back Kyle Porter, a Top 10 Midlands prospect out of Texas is also an intriguing option for Oregon to beef up their backfield, but it seems that mostly hinges on whether he officially makes it up to Eugene before National Signing Day.
Of course, as is the fun with recruiting, all of this could change over the next month and a half before National Signing Day. Stick with eDuck as the 2016 cycle comes to a close.