Signing Day is upon us once again. Oregon is fortunate to be in the running for a good number of blue chip recruits. Every year fans across the country covetously scan recruiting lists dreaming of a class full of 4 and 5 star prospects. And as signing day nears and passes, fans imagine how each of these coveted prospects will lead their school to glory.
But then, once the ink is dry and the LOIs are all faxed, all those shiny prospects become actual players on the team. Some highly rated players excel, while some struggle, and others never make it to campus. To put this year's crop of blue chip prospects in perspective, I wanted to see just how often players pan out, and how often they tend to disappoint. The following is a list of all 4 and 5 star prospects to sign with Oregon since 2002. The ratings are from Rivals, since I tend to prefer their rankings to Scout and others, and to include others would have been a lot more work. The 2002 cutoff happens to be the earliest class that Rivals has recorded online, but it also gives us a round decade of prospects. The players are then divided into groups depending upon their ultimate performance - those that were worth the hype, those that fell short of the hype but still made meaningful contributions to the program, and those that were busts. Since many recent signees remain unknown, those are noted where applicable. And of course we all remember Terrance Kelly and Todd Doxey. Player ratings are based upon my own opinions, so feel free to disagree. EDIT: In rating players, I looked solely at what they did for the Ducks, so transfers who blew up elsewhere are still counted as not worth the hype for others. For instance, it doesn't matter what Seastrunk does at Baylor, and I wish him the best there, as he's already a washout for the Ducks.
On to the list:
The 5 Stars: Haloti Ngata, Chris Solomona (JC)
The 4 Stars: Aaron Gipson, Albert Toeaina.
Worth the Hype: Haloti Ngata.
Solid Contributor: Aaron Gipson, Chris Solomona.
Not So Much: Albert Toeaina.
The 4 Stars: Dennis Dixon, Johnny DuRocher, Victor Filipe, Ryan Gilliam, Lance Broadus.
Worth the Hype: Dennis Dixon.
Solid Contributor: Victor Filipe.
Not So Much: Johnny DuRocher, Ryan Gilliam, Lance Broadus.
The 5 Stars: Cameron Colvin.
The 4 Stars: Terrell Jackson, Jerome Boyd, David Faaeteete, Willie Glasper, Jacob Hucko, Terrance Kelly, Aaron Klovas.
Notable Others: Max Unger 3*, Jeff Schwartz 3*, Patrick Chung 2*.
Worth the Hype: None.
Solid Contributor: Cameron Colvin, Jerome Boyd, David Faaeteete, Willie Glasper, Jacob Hucko.
Not So Much: Terrell Jackson, Aaron Klovas.
We'll Never Know: Terrance Kelly.
The 5 Stars: Jonathan Stewart.
The 4 Stars: James Finley (JC), Nick Reed.
Notable Others: Walter Thurmond III 3*(low), Ed Dickson 3*, Jairus Byrd 2*.
Worth the Hype: Jonathan Stewart, Nick Reed.
Solid Contributor: James Finley.
The 4 Stars: Fenuki Tupou (JC).
Notable Others: Brandon Bair 2* TE, Spencer Paysinger 2* WR, Jordan Holmes 2*.
Solid Contributor: Fenuki Tupou.
The 4 Stars: Malachi Lewis, Carson York, Todd Doxey, Simi Fili, Anthony Gildon, Darrion Weems, Drew Davis, Myles Wade, Terrance Pritchett, Kenny Rowe, Terence Scott (JC), Will Tukuafu (JC).
Notable Others: Jeff Maehl 3* DB, Casey Matthews 3*, David Paulson 3*(low), Eddie Pleasant 3*, Mark Asper 2*.
Worth the Hype: Drew Davis, Carson York, Kenny Rowe, Will Tukuafu.
Solid Contributor: Malachi Lewis, Anthony Gildon, Terence Scott, Darrion Weems.
Not So Much: Simi Fili, Myles Wade, Terrance Pritchett.
We'll Never Know: Todd Doxey.
The 4 Stars: LaMichael James, Justin Thompson (JC), LaGarrette Blount (JC), Darron Thomas, Hamani Stevens, Nick Cody, Dion Jordan, Chris Harper.
Notable Others: Kenjon Barner 3*, John Boyett 3*, Josh Kaddu 2*.
Worth the Hype: LaMichael James, LaGarrette Blount, Darron Thomas, Dion Jordan.
Solid Contributor: Nick Cody.
Not So Much: Justin Thompson, Chris Harper.
Too Early to Tell: Hamani Stevens (will be a RS Sophomore in 2012 after taking a Mormon mission).
The 4 Stars: Tyrece Gaines (JC), Cliff Harris, Diante Jackson, Bryson Littlejohn (JC).
Notable Others: Michael Clay 3*, Boseko Lokombo 3*.
Worth the Hype: Cliff Harris.
Solid Contributor: Bryson Littlejohn.
Not So Much: Tyrece Gaines, Diante Jackson.
The 5 Stars: Lache Seastrunk.
The 4 Stars: Bryan Bennett, Erick Dargan, Curtis White, Dontae Williams, Nick Rowland, Ricky Heimuli, Dior Mathis, Ryan Clanton, Josh Huff, Keanon Lowe.
Notable Others: Terrance Mitchell 3*, Hroniss Grasu 3*.
Worth the Hype: Josh Huff, Ricky Heimuli.
Not So Much: Lache Seastrunk, Dontae Williams, Nick Rowland.
Too Early to Tell: Bryan Bennett, Erick Dargan, Curtis White, Dior Mathis, Ryan Clanton, Keanon Lowe.
The 5 Stars: De'Anthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla.
The 4 Stars: Tyler Johnstone, Rahsaan Vaughn, Jared Ebert, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Devon Blackmon, Tacoi Sumler, Christian French, Anthony Wallace, Andre Yruretagoyena.
Notable Others: Jacob Fisher 3*
Worth the Hype: De'Anthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla.
Too Early to Tell: Tyler Johnstone, Rahsaan Vaughn, Jared Ebert, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Devon Blackmon, Tacoi Sumler, Christian French, Anthony Wallace, Andre Yruretagoyena.
To quantify the above list, here are the totals arranged in a handy chart.
Oregon's recruiting has thankfully been on an upswing in recent years, so a large portion of the blue chip recruits signed in the last decade have not yet proven themselves on the field, but have plenty of time left to do so.
A fair number of the recruiting busts never made it to campus. But as a head coach, Chip Kelly has yet to have a signee fail to qualify, which bodes well for the current class compared to the decade averages.
Signing 4* and 5* players is a good thing. But every recruit isn't guaranteed to come in and change the program. On average, over the last decade, these blue chip recruits have become blue chip players for UO about a third of the time. A third of the time they have fallen short of the recruiting hype but still made good contributions in a Ducks uniform. And then, a third of the time on average these hyped players have washed out.
Of course, every new player who signs is a blank slate, and their future in the program is up to many unforeseeable variables. Regardless of what the future might hold, we're about to welcome in a new class of Ducks, so enjoy the day, and let's get ready to cheer for them all, no matter how many stars they come in with.