There's no way around it, Chip Kelly's departure for Philadelphia sucks on every level for Oregon football, including recruiting. But now we move on. Going forward the most important thing is to name a new head coach and retain the recruits that are currently committed to the Ducks. The remaining coaches need to hit the road and fill out the rest of the class, which may be hampered should any assistants also decide to move on. Here is where we stand along with some projections on how things might play out:
Current Recruits: Oregon currently has 13 recruits, including nine All-Americans, eight of whom are rated four stars by at least one recruiting service. It is expected that the Ducks will sign 18-19 total recruits, which leaves five to six open spots, provided none of the current verbal commits decides to switch his commitment.
Potential Transfers: Right now it sounds like the most likely candidates to transfer to another school are RB Dontre Wilson, Athletes Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, and WR Darren Carrington. LB Danny Mattingly has also been mentioned as a potential transfer. For now, the Robinson twins and Dontre Wilson seem to be saying the right things and affirming their commitment to Oregon via Twitter and conversations with recruiting services.
Doesn't matter whats happening as of now I'm a Duck an plan staying 1— Tyree Robinson (@HumbleDuck_2) January 16, 2013
I haven't heard anything about Mattingly but it sounds like Carrington will definitely take a look around. You can bet that schools will be coming fast and hard in the next few days to try and convince these and other players to reconsider their commitments. Obviously, the situation remains fluid with all of Oregon's recruits until signing day.
Other Potential Recruits: As noted above Oregon still has several open spots in their class and must focus on filling out the group. A number of offensive and defensive line recruits are still in play, as well as several players at the skill positions on both sides of the ball. Once a new coach is named, and it will take a couple of days so that the athletic department can go through the proper hiring process under Oregon law, we'll have a much better gauge on the recruiting strategy going forward. Based on this tweet from Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee, recruits shouldn't be caught totally off guard by today's news:
Chip Kelly told recruits last year & last week that he couldn't promise he'd be at Oregon for more than a year,the NFL allure is that strong— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) January 16, 2013
Takeaway: Despite some unwarranted (in my opinion) handwringing over Oregon's recruiting class as currently composed, the Ducks are already putting together a very strong group. If they can keep it mostly intact and pick up a few more key targets, they will still sign an excellent class. Early reports indicate that the remaining coaching staff is still out on the recruiting trail. This afternoon, Steve Greatwood met with four star offensive lineman Cameron Hunt, who is a soft verbal to Cal but tweeted this after his visit:
Just got done with my in home with the Oregon coaches.. They insured that everything is good in Eugene! #WinTheDay— Cameron Hunt (@cjhunt78) January 17, 2013
Meanwhile, Gary Campbell reportedly spoke to Dontre Wilson and Thomas Tyner. Both players are very close to the runnings back coach and it is thought that if Campbell stays, Tyner and Wilson will too.
It will no doubt be a wild ride the next couple of days and until signing day, but regardless of what happens Oregon will be fine. They have enough youth and depth already in the program that they can suffer a weak recruiting year and still be okay long-term, provided they rebound next year. And who knows, Oregon can still sign a great class. Remember what happened last time there was a head-coaching change?
Trevor Fox (@trevorfox57) January 16, 2013