What's left for Oregon recruiting — summer

Seffner (Fla.) DE Byron Cowart

With summer in full swing, it’s time to take a look at Oregon recruiting and where it stands at around the halfway point of the cycle.

Coming out of The Opening, Oregon still stands at 11 verbal commitments. However, at the camp we learned where the Ducks stand with several of the top talents in the country. Let’s take a look at each position, starting with quarterback.

QB — Travis Waller has already given the Ducks his verbal commitment, but Oregon has offers out to two other quarterbacks as well that were part of Elite 11.

Four-star prospects Sam Darnold and Deondre Francois both had their moments at The Opening and both spoke about making a decision soon. Francois said he had great connections with the Oregon and Florida State staffs and believes he could thrive in the Oregon offensive scheme. He intends to visit Oregon, even if he doesn’t commit there at the end of the month.

Darnold said that every school is still in the running for him. However, he grew up a USC fan being from the area. Scout.com national analyst Greg Biggins noted that Darnold loved his time in Eugene during an unofficial visit with Oregon a couple of weeks ago and he’d have to battle with either Waller or USC verbal commit Ricky Town should he choose one of those schools. Utah is also in the running, along with a few East Coast programs.

RB — The Ducks are still in the running for lanky, speedy Texas running back Sotonye “Soso” Jamabo. The No. 4 running back in the country mentioned that he has a solid relationship with running backs coach Gary Campbell and hinted at the chance he’ll take an official to Oregon at The Opening.

Oregon also landed in the Top 5 for four-star Virginia prospect Jaason Lewis out of Ocean Lakes High School. The Ducks have offered teammates T.J. Griffin, Jahque Alleyne and Jahvoni Simmons as well, with Griffin revealing that he, Lewis and Alleyne are planning to visit Oregon together and that there is definite interest.

In-state prospect Cameron Scarlett also remains a viable option. The four-star running back has had the Ducks in the running for some time and a commitment from him would keep the Ducks streak of landing an in-state prospect intact.

WR — Oregon missed out on Stephen Johnson, who gave his verbal commitment to UCLA at The Opening. However, the Ducks won’t be short on options going forward. SPARQ champion running back/wide receiver Kirk Merritt, a great blend of size and speed, is one of the prime targets admitting that both Travis Waller and Taj Griffin are recruiting him to join them in Eugene. Merritt certainly seemed intrigued by the idea and plans on taking an official visit, but also has Texas A&M, Auburn, Alabama, Texas Tech and LSU in the running.

The Ducks also are in the Top 5 for Arkansas prospect K.J. Hill, who had a nice week in 7on7 play at The Opening. He’ll take official visits to Oregon, Alabama and Florida, and Ohio State could be another.

Ryan Newsome placed Oregon in his Top 6 a few weeks ago. Though the Texas prospect was limited at The Opening due to an injury he talked with Brandon Huffman about his interest in UCLA and Oregon. Newsome will see Oregon play twice this season, once on an official visit to UCLA and again when the Ducks host Stanford. Like Merritt, Travis Waller has his eyes set on the speedy slot receiver so the Ducks continue to be in a good position.

Outside of The Opening prospects, the Ducks also have an offer out to California prospect Jaylinn Hawkins, who told Wildcat Authority that he’ll take an official visit to Oregon as well.

TE — Could the Ducks take another tight end after the commitment of Jacob Breeland? Sure. The question is who could it be, and would that player be a true tight end? Of the offers out, the safest bet right now would be New Jersey prospect Jake Pickard, who put Oregon among his four favorites shortly after getting an offer.

Pickard likes many aspects of Oregon and the Ducks like that he can play multiple positions, including defensive end or offensive/defensive tackle (depending on weight). He plans on making a decision before or shortly after school resumes. He did tell eDuck that he’ll visit Oregon and hopes to do so before pulling the trigger on a program. Boston College, Nebraska, Virginia and Wisconsin all figure to be factors in his decision.

OL — As expected, Oregon fell out of the running for one of the top tackles in the country in Andre James after he committed to UCLA at The Opening. Since receiving a string of three commitments in as many days on the line, the Ducks have largely taken care of business at the position but they remain in the running for offensive guard target Semisi Ulave out of Hawaii.

DL — The big news coming out of The Opening was that five-star defensive end Byron Cowart not only looked as good as advertised in person, but that Oregon remained on top for the Florida prospect. Cowart is intrigued by the opportunities a school like Oregon presents outside of football, but by no means is this a done deal with in-state power Florida looming.

Cowart also touched on the package deal he desires to be a part of with top DE CeCe Jefferson and said that it’s possible that won’t come to fruition when he makes his decision next year, which could play into Oregon’s favor since Jefferson has not been offered.

Canadian defensive tackle prospect Neville Gallimore, who was one of the more physically impressive prospects at The Opening, also remains an option, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll visit Eugene.

Scout.com’s Derek Young reported this week that JUCO prospect Ulric Jones has eyes for three west coast schools, with Oregon as his clear leader. Jones intends to visit Oregon and if he commits, wants to enroll early and add some depth to the position.

Elsewhere in the country, Oregon remains in great shape for defensive end prospects like Russell Ude and Gus Cumberlander. Ude has been high on Oregon for awhile and plans on visiting while Cumberlander put Oregon in his Top 5.

Finally, Pennsylvania prospect Shareef Miller also plans to take an official to Oregon, but several other programs seem to be having a great affect on him at this point.

LB — An area that could become problematic for Oregon for the second straight year depending on how things shake out. While they have extended a number of offers, the Ducks haven’t seemed to become a clear leader for most of the prospects that have received them.

We know that Texas five-star prospect Malik Jefferson likes Oregon and plans on taking an official visit there in the fall after he spoke with Brandon Huffman at The Opening.

We know that West prospects John Houston and Cassius Peat have kept Oregon in the running so far, with Peat putting them in his recent Top 6 citing his connection with players in the athletic program and the fact that he has family in the area.

The Ducks are also in the running for JUCO prospect Percy Johnson who was once committed to Cincinnati. Four-star California prospect Khayan Thomas has indicated that he will visit Oregon at some point and the aforementioned Jahvoni Simmons included Oregon in his recent Top 10.

Simmons told Michael Clark he has a great relationship with defensive coordinator Don Pellum, and he has three teammates with offers so that could have a big impact in the future.

DB — As usual, the Ducks will not have a shortage of prospects available in this area. The Ducks learned that four-star California prospect Dechaun Holiday will include Oregon in his upcoming Top 10 and said there's a possibility he could visit in the future.

The Ducks remain to see whether or not they'll be in line for an official visit from the top safety in the West, Iman Marshall, after he revealed that could happen in the future. However, he has two lined up already and told eDuck that Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State and LSU are in the running for the final three spots with the Ducks. Four-star prospect Marcus Lewis told Scout.com national analyst Brian Dohn at The Opening that he indeed plans on visiting Oregon, as well as Michigan and Miami. Despite being a Florida commit, the belief is that Oregon in the one school that could swing him if everything goes well.

Louisiana prospect Donte Jackson still has Oregon among his top schools, but it could be tough to beat out Georgia and in-state power LSU.

Texas prospect Jalen Campbell and the aforementioned T.J. Griffin also have Oregon very high on their list. Campbell has ties with current Duck Arrion Springs and has been interested in the Ducks for a couple of years. He’s said a decision could be coming shortly after he takes official visits.

According to Griffin, Oregon has a great shot at landing teammate Jahque Alleyne because it’s his dream school.

Louisiana prospect Hunter Dale, who also has ties to Oregon as a former teammate of current DB Mattrell McGraw, recently named Oregon in his Top 10, putting them in a good position for lightning to strike twice at John Curtis Christian.

Texas prospect Holton Hill plans on taking several out of state trips, including one to Oregon. The visit will likely be an unofficial. At The Opening, Hill said he's continually building a relationship with secondary coach John Neal and the Ducks staff and enjoyed his time in the area.

The Ducks have also recently offered Hawaiian prospect Dylan Kane as well and he told Greg Biggins that he plans on visiting Eugene this month.

While Oregon does have other offers out to top prospects, these seem to be the best bets for commitments at this point.

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