On Wednesday, Oregon suffered a blow to its 2016 recruiting class when Sachse (Tex.) cornerback Jared Mayden de-committed.
Citing a lack of stability among the coaching staff as the main cause for his de-commitment in an interview with Greg Powers, Mayden appeared to have handled everything with class when notifying Ducks secondary coach John Neal of his decision.
But this wasn’t the first time that Mayden, the top cornerback in the Midlands region and a four-star prospect to boot, had flirted with the possibility of de-committing after announcing his decision to be a Duck at The Opening back in July. But this time around it took.
This will obviously sting for Oregon, who had worked its way up near the Top 10 in the Scout Team Rankings with Mayden attached. Now, they’ve lost arguably their best commit and, for the second year in a row, a talented prospect from the state of Texas.
However, this seems to be an ongoing trend on a yearly basis for Oregon. Including 2016, the Ducks have lost a touted prospect in each of the past four cycles. Last year it was Texas DB James Locke, who bolted for Austin to play for the Longhorns.
Two years ago, the Ducks received happy news when Bellevue (Wash.) athlete Budda Baker suddenly announced his commitment in December, only to go back on it weeks later and end up staying in-state to play for the University of Washington.
And don’t forget Dontre Wilson, the four-star running back that flipped to Ohio State following Chip Kelly’s January departure to the NFL in 2013.
The point is, it’s all part of the game. Oregon likes to preach the next man up philosophy with its football team. While it can be argue that didn’t always work out on the field this past season, in recruiting you’re left with no other option.
If anything, this makes the end of the process even more intriguing for Oregon. What will this mean with the pursuit of Nigel Knott, one of the top uncommitted prospects in the country who has already visited Oregon and who’s father played for Neal at Ole Miss? Will they make a late push with one of the other uncommitted cornerback prospects they’ve offered or perhaps try to flip one already committed to another program? Will they go the JUCO route?
Oregon will have options, even if they are few and far between. Mayden’s absence will be noticeable, but they key is holding on to the rest of the class. Several have already taken advantage of early enrollment, but for those who haven’t, Oregon needs to ensure there won’t be any more damage done to a class that has already seen multiple other de-commitments.