With news that Chip Kelly will be staying at Oregon, any concerns about recruiting defections after his departure can be put to rest. Early reports from Duck Territory ($) indicate that committed players are excited by the news.
One has to think that Kelly's return will give the Ducks momentum heading in to signing day. As reported on Saturday, several recruits who were thought to favor Oregon chose other programs during All-American games, while Chip was entertaining offers from the NFL. It's possible and even likely that at least one or two of those players will now reconsider the Ducks, in particular tight end Thomas Duarte and wide receiver John Ross.
Oregon is also in the hunt for several players who committed to other schools long before Kelly flirted with the NFL. Four star linebackers Peter Kalambayi (committed to Stanford) and Myles Jack (UCLA) are very high on the Ducks, with Jack slated to visit Eugene later this month. Offensive tackles Nico Falah (USC) and Jackson Keeler (Wisconsin) are also very much in the mix for Oregon.
Now the staff will go about filling the rest of the class, with an entire month remaining before signing day. They'll be working from a position of strength as they'll continue to be able to sell players on the opportunity to play for one of the best coaches in college football, someone whose coaching philosophy is highly sought after by the NFL. Four straight BCS bowl appearances, the longest running coaching staff in college football, and unparalleled athletic and academic facilities don't hurt either.
And of course, having Chip around to close the deal on top targets will be a great boon. As mentioned numerous times before, Kelly has built up a reputation at Oregon for finishing the recruiting cycle very strong, often flipping committed players to the Ducks at or near signing day.
Top uncommitted players on Oregon's board include WR/S Juwan Williams from Georgia, OL Thomas Oser and DE Austin Hooper from California, and QB Tanner McEvoy from Arizona Western Junior College. It is thought that the Ducks will take 18-19 total players in the 2013 class.