I think they're doing pretty well. It is hard to tell where they're at in November because they usually get so many guys late – guys that didn't mention them as a favorite in the preseason. For example, San Diego Mission Bay High School linebacker standout Scott White recently announced he will be visiting Oregon on December 14 and Oregon was not among his preseason favorites.
By signing day I look for them to have a pretty good class as always.
How do you think Oregon's recruiting efforts this year compare to year's past?
Oregon appears to be mentioned by a lot more players this year. The Ducks are clearly recognized as a legitimate Pac-10 power. Winning is always a big help in recruiting. The fact that they have won the conference title this year is big.
Who is Oregon most often recruiting against this year?
It doesn't look like one school stands out. I'd say the entire Pac-10.
Can Oregon' recruiting efforts capitalize on USC and UCLA having trouble this year?
I think so. I don't think it will necessarily hurt USC's and UCLA's classes. Players will always want to go to those schools because they are local and the kids grew up watching and supporting those programs. But, I see more players who are open to consider Oregon. The Ducks are getting more looks from players who are willing to consider leaving California.
Is it meaningful that Oregon has the fewest commitments to date among Pac-10 teams?
No, not really. It just means that the players Oregon is recruiting want to make their trips and don't want to make early decisions. Part of that is because Oregon doesn't recruit a lot of local players and the availability of quality recruits in state is somewhat limited this year. Oregon has big visit weekends scheduled for November 30, December 7 and December 14. They should pick up a lot of steam following those visit dates. Also keep in mind that Oregon is a strong finisher, unlike UCLA for example, who may have a lot of early commitments, but who has gone ‘O-for' the last few years in the month of January. Bellotti and staff have consistently closed on many quality kids following the dead period during the holidays.
You have commented before that it is difficult to get a read on Oregon's recruiting efforts until late in process. Is this more or less evident this year?
Yes and no. Oregon is recruiting more and more higher profile players, players who are followed by recruiting services; so that helps. But also, Oregon recruits a lot of kids nobody else has ever heard of. Kids such as Roderkus Wright out of San Diego last year who haven't been written up anywhere yet have tremendous physical abilities and/or awesome senior seasons that come out of nowhere. I suspect that the Oregon coaches sometimes encourage some of these kids not to discuss Oregon's interest in them with others or the media. Oregon doesn't want people to sweep in and steal their players. This can make visibility into the Oregon recruiting efforts more difficult to ascertain until late into the recruiting season.
Is there anything you see that Oregon could do to improve its recruiting efforts?
No, not really. The coaches are great at assessing talent. Their facilities are phenomenal. Their coaches are among the best in the Pac-10 conference if not the nation. They are winners as demonstrated by their performance on the field. Oregon is now a national name where they could go into Texas or the Southeast and get in on a kid. I think they do a great job of recruiting the west coast. The question is do they want to branch out more nationally. For example, this year they are in on an excellent linebacker from Chicago, Reggie Cribbs, who will be visiting Oregon on December 14.
Who is leading the recruiting wars to date in the Pac-10 conference?
UCLA has 17 player commitments so I'd have to give them the edge. After that it is wide-open with no other team having more than 4-5 commitments. What will be most telling is how well teams finish.
Who are the top players you see leaning toward Oregon?
Not in any order, and some of these players are leaning toward more than one school -
Quarterback Matt Gutierrez from national prep power DeLaSalle in Concord, Calif.
Tight End Joe Newton from Roseburg High in Oregon
Lineman Shawn Perkins from Pendleton High in Oregon
Defensive lineman Marlon Brisco from Morningside High in Inglewood, Calif.
Defensive back Darius Conner from Inglewood, Calif.
Running back Trestin George from St. Mary's High in Stockton, Calif.
Defensive lineman Donnie Mateaki fom Iolani High in Honolulu, HI.
Defensive lineman Brandon Ala from Kamehameha High in Honolulu, HI.
Athlete Adam Carriker from Kennewick High in Washington.
Who are some of the big-named players you see tripping to Oregon?
In addition to those listed above there is:
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata from Highland High in Salt Lake City, UT.
Defensive back Darnell Bing from Long Beach Poly High in Calif.
Defensive lineman Jake Kuresa from Mountain Crest High in Hyrum, UT.
Running back Randy Hill from McClintock High in Tempe, AZ.
Linebacker Reggie Cribbs from Hubbard High in Chicago, IL.
Linebacker Scott White from Mission Bay High in San Diego, Calif.