Oregon picked up its ninth recruit in the 2014 class today as Jalen Jelks made a verbal commitment to the Ducks. The news was reported by multiple outlets via Twitter this afternoon.
Phoenix desert vista DE Jalen Jelks confirms via text that he has committed to Oregon.— Rob Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) July 23, 2013
Jelks is yet another huge line prospect for a team that just a few years ago had a reputation as being small on both sides of the ball. Only 16 years old, Jelks is currently listed at 6'7, 260 lbs. Jelks told Duck Territory ($) that he was being recruited to play defensive end at Oregon, but given his current size and youth it is very possible that he could also grow into playing inside at tackle.
A consensus three star recruit, Jelks is a relative newcomer to football with lots of upside. This offseason he has been training with former Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Derek Kennard, whose son Devon plays linebacker at USC. A two-way star at his high school in Arizona, Jalen recently spoke to Jared Cohen of Preps 2 Pros about his position in college:
"I see myself definitely as defensive end," mentioned Jelks. "I play offense and I mean, I'm willing to play it, but I definitely like defense. I like hitting people and making sacks."
Current Ducks commits Morgan Mahalak and Arrion Springs, who have both been very active talking to other recruits about the Oregon program, were quick to express their excitement via Twitter.
S/O to the newest commit Jalen Jelks!! Gonna be a beast on the D-Line. Welcome to the family! #GoDucks— ⚡Morgan Mahalak⚡ (@MorganMahalak) July 23, 2013
We just got this 6'7 D Lineman I don't know why people think Oregon small #GoDucks— Arrion Springs (@A_Springs4) July 23, 2013
Jalen Jelks is yet another commitment from a player who the coaching staff identified early as one of their key targets. In addition to Oregon he currently holds offers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Washington, among others. You can check out one his highlight videos below.