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How Much is the Uncertainty Around Chip Kelly Affecting Recruiting for the Ducks?

While many head coaches are on the recruiting trail, Chip Kelly is entertaining offers from the NFL.

Gary Campbell and Mark Helfrich will be instrumental in holding together Oregon's recruiting class
Gary Campbell and Mark Helfrich will be instrumental in holding together Oregon's recruiting class

For the past two days the best high school football players in the country have been participating in All-American games in Florida and Texas. Nine of Oregon's 13 commits were participants in the games, a great number considering the relatively small size of Oregon's class so far. A number of other Oregon targets were also on hand, several of whom were believed to favor the Ducks, including TE Thomas Duarte, WR John Ross, and RB Tarean Folston.

In total there were five players at the games who had Oregon as a finalist but none of them chose the Ducks. The obvious conclusion is that Chip Kelly's flirtations with the NFL are having an effect on Oregon's recruiting efforts. Instead of attending the games or hitting the recruiting trail after the bowl game, Kelly has been entertaining head coaching offers from Cleveland, Buffalo, and Philadelphia.

If Kelly does indeed go to the NFL, which at this point seems likely, the strength of the Ducks' recruiting class will probably take a hit. For a variety of reasons, this isn't that big of a deal. Oregon has recruited VERY well the last three years and enters the 2013 season with a lot of depth and experience. They don't need impact freshman the way that teams who graduate a lot of seniors or lose players to the NFL draft do.

In addition, this recruiting class was already going to be smaller than the past few due to so many returning players. It is expected that Oregon will sign 18-19 players total. They already have 13 verbal commitments, nine of whom are All-Americans. If the current class holds up as is, it should still be considered a strong one no matter who else signs with the Ducks. It wasn't that long ago (within the last decade) that Oregon was happy to sign three to four highly rated players. This year they have eight players who are rated four stars by at least one recruiting outlet.

Of course, if Chip does make the jump it could also impact players who are already committed. Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, four star athletes out of San Diego, have both indicated that they will look around if Chip leaves. There has also been speculation that WR Darren Carrington and RB Dontre Wilson could also take visits to other schools. Oregon's top commit, RB Thomas Tyner, has affirmed multiple times that he will stick around as long as Gary Campbell stays with Oregon. While there has been speculation that Campbell may be looking to retire, he did go back out on the recruiting trail after the Fiesta Bowl, which is a good sign. It will say a lot about the remaining coaching staff if they can convince these players to stick with the Ducks.

Regardless of what happens between now and signing day in February, the Oregon football team is stacked with talent for 2013. More important for the Oregon coaching staff will be how they rebound and adjust for the 2014 recruiting class.