Bellotti Introduces the 2009 Class

Eugene – Oregon Head Football Coach Mike Bellotti introduced the names of 24 student-athletes that composed the 2009 football recruiting class. Twenty of the new faces will come from the high school ranks while four others are junior college transfers. Two of the junior college players are already enrolled at the University.

"We signed 20 high school players and four junior college athletes to this point," said Bellotti in his opening remarks to media at the Casanova Center. "There may be more coming down the road."

Bellotti said that this is a very good recruiting class that addressed the most urgent needs the Ducks have in preparing for the 2009 season and the quality will be determined on the field of play. Fifteen players are coming from the state of California, while the rest come from eight other states and the province of British Columbia. (Click here Commit List for the names.)

Bellotti also indicated that two additional junior college players thought to be Lavasier Tuinei and Tyrece Gaines could join the class and are now dealing with NCAA eligibility or admissions to Oregon.

Fourteen defensive players dominated the class and Bellotti feels that the concerns of depth, particularly at defensive tackle have been lessened. Defensive tackle Terrance Montgomery and end Zac Clark are already in school and will participate in Spring Drills in April. Linebacker Bryson Littlejohn is now finishing classes at Sierra College in order to enroll for spring term and participate in the April workouts.

None of the high school athletes are early graduates and won't report to school until at least the start of summer session in June. The question of academic eligibility was raised but Bellotti is confident that all of the signed players will make it into school.

"There are a couple who are not NCAA eligible at this point," commented Bellotti. "I don't foresee any problems, this maybe one of the best classes in that regard that we've signed."

Bellotti felt that the junior college players would see playing time this season and mentioned that wide receiver Diante Jackson could see a chance at early playing time as a true freshman.

One player Bellotti could not discuss was Bryce Brown, the nation's No. 1 player, which Oregon is a finalist for his services. A source very close to Ducks described Brown as the "very best player" he's seen and was sure Brown will win the Heisman Trophy regardless of where he goes. Besides Oregon, Tennessee, USC and Miami are the finalist in Brown's recruitment.

This year, as last the Ducks are in on the top player in the country and while Bellotti would not talk directly about Brown, the coach did say this year was different in that the Ducks were able to get the top player in the country to visit. The coach also made it clear that getting the attention of recruiting top players in the country was fine, it was time for the Ducks to start "closing the deal" on those players and getting them signed to play for the green and yellow.

"It's nice to be talking to the best players in the country, it's even better when you get them," observed Bellotti. "I'm excited because we are one of the finalist, one of the two or three out of all the teams in the nation. But those things are only as good as your ability to close the deal."

Bellotti also mentioned that he will meet with President of the University Dave Frohnmayer and Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny in March to get an expanded understanding of the job he will eventually take on, Athletic Director for the University of Oregon. However, Bellotti laid out no timeline when he might assume his new duties.

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