Assessing Oregon’s 2012 recruiting class
Yesterday wrapped up months of recruiting when the 2012 class announced which schools they would be playing for during their college careers. The University of Oregon made out pretty well with 21 recruits, three from ESPNU’s 150, seven four star recruits and seven three star recruits. Headlining Oregon’s incoming recruits is four star defensive end Arik Armstead. Originally committed to USC (sound familiar), Armstead ended up signing his letter of intent to Oregon. He told the Sacramento Bee (quoted in the Washington Post) that he liked how he never felt pressured by the coaches; Chip Kelly’s honesty; and how Oregon never bashed another program.
In 2011, Oregon lost top defensive players Casey Matthews, Brandon Bair, Spencer Paysinger, Talmadge Jackson III and Kenny Rowe. The team’s defense during the 2011-12 season was good, but not great. Fortunately the lack of a strong defensive presence was overshadowed by a high octane offense, which dominated opponents’ defenses. Next season, Armstead will play a big part in the Duck’s defense, along with four star safety Reggie Daniels, three star outside linebacker Brett Bafaro, three star safety Eric Amoaka, and three star defensive ends DeForest Buckner and Alex Balducci. Oregon has not been known as having a big team, but the Armstead comes in at 6’7″ 280 lbs.; Buckner comes in at 6’7″ 230 lbs.; and Balducci comes in at 6’4″ 255 lbs.
On the offensive end, Oregon is losing tight end David Paulson and go-to receiver Lavasier Tuinei. Luckily, Chip thought of that when going on his recruiting trips. He pulled in two four star wide receivers: Bralon Addison and Dwayne Stanford III. He also pulled in two four star tight ends: Evan Baylis and Pharaoh Brown. And just to make sure the Ducks stay stacked at running back, Oregon signed four star running back Byron Marshall. With LaMichael James declaring for the draft, De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner, who decided to stay at Oregon for his senior year, will likely start next season (although that’s not definite). But it’s nice to know that Oregon has great backups in Tra Carson and Marshall.
Darron Thomas declared for the draft, which has left the quarterback position wide open. Bryan Bennett played last season and he played well. He has a strong arm and can run. However, coaches do not promise starting quarterback positions to the backups. Bennett will compete for the starting position with true freshmen Marcus Mariota and incoming four star recruit Jake Rodrigues. Rodrigues comes in as the No. 12 quarterback out of high school, and he has a strong accurate arm and can get rid of the ball quickly.
According to ESPN, Oregon’s recruiting class ranks No. 18. behind Stanford and USC, who rank No. 12 and 13, respectively.