It must be January. This is the month every year when football recruiting whips fans into a frenzy as coaches push the class of 2002 toward the finish line. It is easy to get caught up in this emotional roller coaster, since everyone wants the top players to sign with their respective favorite school and I can only caution Duck fans to please keep your feet on the ground until February 6th. Only then can a binding letter of intent be signed and a recruiting class intelligently evaluated.
Last night was an example of how unconfirmed and conflicting recruiting reports can start a firestorm on the Internet. Despite reports that all four of the Dream Team rated Long Beach Poly players have pledged to USC, there is still no word that Hershel Dennis or Darnell Bing have cancelled their scheduled visits to Oregon this weekend. Until a player cancels his visits, any verbal can only be considered as soft. In fact, one of those four players, OL Winston Justice, flew to Eugene on Sunday morning for his official visit. Haloti Ngata is the other big name who is rumored to be headed elsewhere, yet nobody has interviewed the player himself. Certainly BYU appears to be in the drivers seat, but this story may be far from over.
PrepStar All-America cornerback Marcus McCutcheon has returned from his visit to Michigan and had a good time. Reports are that he did receive a scholarship offer during the trip and that the Wolverines and Ducks are now his co-leaders at this time. Marcus did say that he considers Oregon the better football school. He will now take his final trip to Colorado this weekend and then after several in-home visits with coaches, including Oregon, he will make his decision.
Antwuan Smith, who is also a P.S. All-America, but at wide receiver, just returned from his Oregon visit and says that the trip was better than he expected. In addition to enjoying his Eugene experience, he also noted that Oregon has by far and away the best football facilities that he has ever seen. UCLA has been his leader, but apparently the Ducks have closed the gap and will make his decision a lot more difficult. There is a slim chance that Antwuan will take a final visit to Georgia Tech the coming weekend, but he is leaning towards making his decision before then. Hang on Duck fans, there will be a lot more highs and lows before February 6th.