But, under new head coach Mark Helfrich and with a renewed focus on recruiting, the Ducks finished strong and accumulated a wealth of talented players.
Here is a breakdown of some of the notable headlines:
Shocking Surprise: In the initial draft, this was going to Devon Allen. But, signing day proved to be another surprise for Oregon fans with Torrodney Prevot, a 6-3, 214 pound four-star defensive end out of Texas who was a longtime USC verbal commit. Down to Texas A&M and Oregon, Prevot chose the Ducks and became the lone defensive end for them in the class. Mark Helfrich sees him as a Dion Jordan type player, which is saying a lot given how much Jordan grew and flourished in Oregon’s system.
Best Crop: Wide receivers. Remember the names Devon Allen, Darren Carrington and Tyree Robinson. Three four-star athletes with the ability to stretch defenses and still thrive in Oregon’s blocking system.
Allen holds state records in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles in Arizona, where he was a dual-sport star at Brophy Prep in Phoenix. His concentration and hands have been lauded, but the Ducks got this speedster for his ability to break loose down the sideline. Brought in as a deep threat, Allen will try to be what De’Anthony Thomas is to the slot position in Oregon’s offense, but a bigger target at 6-0, 190 pounds.
Carrington has incredible upside with his athleticism. At 6-2, 175 pounds he has plenty of speed, but his ability to go up and get the ball may be his best attribute. He and Allen will no doubt stretch opposing secondaries and have the potential to be lethal threats for Oregon sooner than later, something new wide receivers coach Matt Lubick must be salivating over.
Robinson was primarily a basketball player up until his senior season and applied that skill set to the gridiron. At 6-2, 200 pounds, Robinson isn’t afraid to go over the middle to get the ball and is shifty enough to shake defenders and turn marginal plays into big ones. However, it is unknown if he will play offense or defense when he gets to Oregon. For the purposes of this article, we will lump him in with Carrington and Allen. Robinson became one of the premier athletes on the west coast quickly and his reaffirmation to the Ducks, along with twin Tyree, was one of the big sighs of relief on signing day.
Biggest Relief: This could’ve gone to the recovery of the entire class after Kelly left, but we’re going to go a little further back for this one. Thomas Tyner has been the jewel of Oregon’s recruiting class since day one. But, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses throughout. In October, Tyner, who had already racked up 10 touchdowns and 646 yards rushing in a single game earlier in the season at Aloha High School, announced that he had decommitted from Oregon in order to visit other schools.
For 36 hours, Tyner was the talk of the west coast as speculation built on what factored into his decision, but he quickly re-established his verbal commitment to play for the Ducks. Already in a bit of a recruiting lull, losing Tyner, the lone five star recruit Oregon had, would’ve been devastating to the class, especially with what followed a few weeks later when offensive lineman Alex Redmond flipped to UCLA.
Biggest Disappointment: There was plenty for Oregon fans to fret over during the recruiting process. Losing offensive lineman Redmond to UCLA was a shocker, but perhaps the long, drawn out saga of Desoto (Tex.) running back Dontre Wilson caused more of a kerfuffle. Wilson was a longtime Duck commit but began to look around after Kelly left.
The coaching staff made an aggressive push to keep him with Oregon, but he spurned them for Ohio State on live television, going as far to say that Kelly’s decision to leave the program was “wrong”. Urban Meyer certainly got a steal with Wilson, but the way he left will leave a sour taste in some Ducks fans mouths.
Overall: This turned out to be a strong class for Oregon. Obviously, Prevot was a wonderful surprise for the Ducks, but they were able to fill key spots on the offensive line and picked up three possible playmakers at wide receiver. Jake Pisarcik could be an under the radar steal for Oregon and the addition of Cameron Hunt, who was committed to Cal until signing day, really completed the offensive line class. Local Oregon prospects Doug Brenner and Evan Voeller shouldn’t be ignored either.
Chris Seisay looks to be a breakout player in the making in the secondary and should be complemented nicely with the maturity and talent of Juwaan Williams if he indeed plays safety.
Though an extra linebacker would’ve been nice, there is nothing to scoff at with junior college transfer Joe Walker, Danny Mattingly and Tyrell Robinson. Walker should get a shot to play right away given the slight lack of depth at the position and Mattingly and Robinson will develop into solid players in the Oregon system.
The Ducks also addressed concerns in the kicking game with North Carolina kicker Matt Wogan. Wogan has a boot for a leg having nailed a 58-yard field goal in high school and reportedly has the ability to kick from 65 yards. This will be a welcome addition for Ducks fans who have been frustrated with the lack of solid legs under Chip Kelly.
And of course, all eyes will be on in-state favorite Tyner to see if he is the next great Oregon running back, as he has been touted. Given the status of the class a month ago, the Ducks should be extremely pleased with how things fell into place.