With the bowl season entering the home stretch at the same time as high school All American games are played out across the country, football recruiting is set to get very exciting. Oregon currently has 13 verbal commitments and is expected to take 18-19 players total in the 2013 class. While it has been a relatively quiet fall, the Ducks have some nice pledges so far and are fielding the exact kind of players that have thrived at Oregon under Chip Kelly: athletic, versatile players with speed who can play a variety of positions.
The Ducks have also addressed positions of need by picking up three offensive line commits after no underclassmen O-line commits last year. They have shored up the running back position with two of the best RB prospects in the country in Thomas Tyner and Dontre Wilson, and have also addressed the linebacker position with two four star athletes and junior college transfer Joe Walker.
With the official signing period coming in February, here is a look at several other players who could end up at Oregon:
Thomas Duarte: Duarte is a TE/WR hybrid player from Mater Dei high school in California. The Ducks already have one TE commit in Johnny Mundt but it is believed that Duarte could play either TE or wide receiver at Oregon. At 6-4, 225 he possesses great size to play either position. It is thought that UCLA and Oregon lead for his services, though Oregon's chances may have gone up with Marques Tuiasisopo, who was UCLA's TE coach, moving on to coach quarterbacks at Washington.
Miles Jack: Jack is a four star linebacker who is committed to UCLA but expected to visit Oregon sometime in January or early February. While he has been committed to UCLA for a while, the fact that Don Pellum has continued to actively recruit him suggests that Jack's situation is fluid. A late commitment from Jack would fit right in line with Oregon's recent trend of flipping committed players late in the recruiting process.
Tarean Folston: Folston is a four star running back from Florida. He is a smaller back at 5-9, 185, but possesses the speed and shiftiness that work so well in Oregon's spread offense. Notre Dame is the other school in contention for his services, but the Irish have been thought to be behind Oregon for some time. Duck fans have to feel good about the fact that Gary Campbell is on his trail as Campbell usually gets his man.
Leon McQuay III: Safety prospect Leon McQuay is widely considered one of the top players in the nation. The five star player from Florida visited Oregon in October and his family has continually said that the Ducks remain at the top of McQuay's list. McQuay is reportedly very interested in music, so much so that the school's music program may influence his decision as much as the football program. He is also considering USC, Florida State, Vanderbilt, and Michigan.
John Ross: Ross is a four star WR speedster from California. He has been thought to be an Oregon lean since his visit in early October, but has continued to listen to other schools and has also taken visits to Oregon State, Washington, and UCLA. Ross is a Bralon Addison type player: slightly undersized for the WR position but very fast and athletic. He is also being recruited by Gary Campbell.
Oregon also remains in the hunt for a variety of other top talent, including LB Peter Kalambayi (committed to Stanford), OT Nico Falah (committed to USC), DE Austin Hooper, OL JD Hinnant, OL Thomas Oser, and junior college QB Tannery McEvoy, among others.
While some have speculated that rumors of Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL are affecting Oregon's class, the recruits themselves continue to say that they are more concerned with their position coaches and the school itself. The Ducks have closed strong in recent years and if recruits' comments are any indication, there is every reason to believe that will hold true this year. As always the recruiting process is extremely fluid this time of year so don't be surprised if more names pop up and there is a late surprise or two at signing day.