[This is the first post by Noah, who is going to be covering recruiting here at ATQ. Welcome Noah! Looking forward to your contributions. -jtlight]
Hello, Ducks fans. With a Rose Bowl victory, Chip Kelly's flirtations with the NFL, and signing day closing in, it's been an exciting month in the recruiting world. Oregon has already received verbal commitments from 18 talented players and remains in the hunt for some of the most highly regarded recruits in the country. With around 5-7 scholarships left, we take a look at some of the key targets on Oregon's radar as signing day closes in.
Arik Armstead (OL/DL) - Arik Armstead is an elite level linemen who can play on either side of the ball. Listed at 6'8" and 275 lbs by Scout.com, Armstead is the type of lineman that Oregon fans seem to clamor for every recruiting season. Tall, athletic, and beefy, Armstead would be the best lineman prospect to commit to the Ducks since Haloti Ngata (and like Ngata, he reportedly prefers to play on the defensive side of the ball). Listed as the #2 overall prospect by Scout.com, Armstead is considering Auburn, California, Notre Dame, Oregon, and USC. One thing going in Oregon's favor is that Armstead reportedly wants to enroll for Spring term, which may be difficult at schools like Cal and USC, where Spring semester is already underway. For what it's worth, the Scout.com recruiting team is currently guessing that Armstead will pick Oregon, though other recruiting outlets have contradicting predictions.
Armstead had an in-home visit from Chip Kelly yesterday. Apparently the visit went well, and he found Kelly witty. Kelly also told Arik that he could not promise that he would be at Oregon for his entire career. This sheds quite a bit of light on how Kelly recruits. Armstead is now done with his visits, and will be announcing on national signing day.
Shaquille Thompson (S) - Along with Armstead, Shaq represents the potential crown jewel of this recruiting class. Listed at 6'2" and 210 lbs by Scout, Shaq is widely regarded as the #1 safety in the nation, and a top 10 overall talent by various recruiting services. He is currently committed to Cal but has wavered since Tosh Lupoi's high profile departure to Washington. Before committing to Cal, Shaq also had Washington, Oregon, and UCLA at the top of his list. With Lupoi now on its staff, Washington would appear to be the frontrunner should Shaq decide to decommit from Cal, though Oregon certainly remains in the running. After his initial visit to Oregon Shaq complained that Eugene was too small. However, he has recently inquired with LaMichael James about academics at Oregon and life in Eugene, suggesting a renewed interest in the school.
With the turmoil at Cal, Shaq's recruiting has taken a very stressful turn, and he could end up anywhere. Chip Kelly will be in-home with Thompson and his family today..
More recruits after the jump.
Kyle Murphy (OT) - Kyle Murphy is an elite level offensive tackle and considered one of the top 50 prospects in the country by most recruiting outlets. Listed at 6'7" and 268 lbs by Scout.com, Murphy has the type of of frame that can add another 30 lbs without giving up much speed or agility. It is thought that Stanford is leading for Murphy, though Oregon and USC are right there, along with several other schools. Murphy has not announced when he will make his commitment. update: Murphy has reportedly eliminated Oregon from consideration, though anything can happen leading up to signing day.
Thomas Johnson (WR) - Johnson is one of the top wide receiver prospects in the country. Listed at 6'0" and 175 lbs, he has good size. With a 4.45 40 he also possesses good quickness, which is always a must in Oregon's offense. Johnson visited Eugene a couple weeks ago and has also taken a recent trip to Texas A&M. He will visit Cal this weekend and is set to make his announcement on signing day, February 1st. Scout.com predicts that he will choose Oregon, while other recruiting services have guessed otherwise.
Bralon Addison (WR) - Addison is another top wide receiver prospect who is currently committed to Texas A&M. He is listed at 5'10" and 180 lbs and like Johnson possesses good speed. While he has committed to Texas A&M, he is scheduled to visit Oregon this weekend, and may also be considering Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
Jeremiah (Cedrick) Poutasi (OL) - Listed at 6'5" 315 lbs, Poutasi is a massive offensive lineman, the kind of player that Ducks fans wished had been facing Nick Fairly during the NCG. Poutasi is a 4-star rated tackle by Scout.com and is currently committed to Utah. However, after making a visit to Oregon last weekend, he is reportedly reconsidering his options. In addition to size, Poutasi would also add nice depth to Oregon's rotation, with the potential to play right away, a la Jake Fisher.
Bryan Harper (ATH) - Harper is an athlete who spent much of the last year on the sidelines with a broken collarbone. He is listed by Scout as 6'0" and 170 lbs and is the type of under the radar athlete that has flourished at Oregon in the past (see: Kenjon Barner). Harper could play defensive back, wide receiver, or running back at Oregon and is also being recruited by Arizona and UCLA. He is scheduled to visit Eugene on January 28.
Chance Allen (WR) - Allen is a big, physical wide receiver. He is listed at 6'2" and 188 lbs by Scout. Allen previously commited to Oklahoma State but is going forward with his scheduled visit to the Ducks on January 27 after hosting Chip Kelly at his home on Monday. One thing going in Oregon's favor is that Oklahoma State already has three other WR commitments, so Allen may be looking for a class with a little less competition for playing time.
Shane Brostek (OL/DL) - Brostek is a big lineman who has flown under the radar. It's uncertain whether he has an offer from Oregon but he's the type of player that can make an impact on either side of the ball. Listed at 6'3" and 300 lbs by Scout.com, Brostek is also being pursued by Washington, Hawaii, and Colorado.
Dylan Ausherman (P/K) - A last minute addition to the visit list this weekend, Oregon will be hosting this punter and kickoff specialist who is currently at College of the Sequioas Junior College. He has quite the leg, and is drawing a lot of attention nationally. He has 3 years to play 2, which would fit nicely with Jackson Rice graduating after the 2012 season.
With commitments very much in flux until signing day on February 1st, check back often for updates on these and other recruits.