The NFL (and the NCAA as well) have become passing leagues. The Pac-12 especially has developed into a pass-heavy conference, whether it's Brett Hundley of the Bruins, Sean Mannion and the Beavers, or the turntable of highly recruited quarterbacks that USC manages to land every year.
So naturally, a strengthened defense to stop these talented passers is imperative. Having lock-down cornerbacks and safetys are some of the easiest ways to stop an aerial attack; cover the receivers.
The Ducks are currently gifted with one of the best defensive backs in the country, senior standout and future NFL draft pick Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. He finished his junior year with an impressive 84 tackles, three interceptions, and six passes broken up. Ekpre-Olomu is the type of corner that could keep the opposing team's number one receiver quiet all night. All good things must come to an end though, as Ekpre-Olomu has his eyes set on the NFL following this season, and the Ducks will be looking for someone to step up in his wake.
Along with Ifo, the team will be losing senior defensive backs Troy Hill and Erick Dargan as well. Oregon is lucky enough to have a stash of freshman backs that could begin to step up as sophomores and juniors. Mattrell McGraw was a high school All-American at defensive back, and while he won't see the field a ton his freshman year, he could easily be competing for a starting job as the years go on.
The Ducks also happen to be hot on the trails of several recruits in the 2015 class coming out of the defensive backfield, and will surely be anxious finally receive the commitment they've been waiting to hear.
Tarvarus McFadden: At 6'3", McFadden is tall enough to get up and cover some of the biggest wide receivers an offense could throw at him, maybe even some tight ends. Think Brandon Browner-esque, almost. The five-star recruit out of Fort Lauderdale has been offered by top flight programs like Florida State, Georgia, and LSU. The Ducks are among the growing group of teams looking to land the talented corner, and they're ranked in the top seven of his interests.
Bud Elliot took a look at the highly praised high school standout back in March, and he raved about the recruits's size:
There's a lot to like about McFadden. One of the most important things is to realize that he is not a finished product. Almost 6'3, he has room for another 15-20 pounds on his frame. And that's scary, considering that he is already a physical player.
Marvell Tell: Another vertically gifted recruit at 6'2", Tell is a four-star safety hailing from Encino, California. He visited Eugene on September 5th, and has shown serious interest in the Ducks. Like most high school recruits, he fell in love with those pretty uniforms:
"It's probably the same thing with everybody," Tell said. "It's the UNIFORMS ."
Both premier California schools, USC and UCLA, have also expressed interest in Tell.
T.J. Griffin: For T.J. Griffin, we'll be taking a trip to Virginia for a look at the three-star cornerback. At 5'9", Griffin is on the shorter side compared to Tell and McFadden, Duke, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wake Forrest, and the mighty Oregon Ducks are his top-five. Griffin plans to make a decision late October or November.
DeChaun Holiday: Another 6'2" safety, Holiday is a four-star recruit and one of the best at his position across the country. Being a California product, both USC and UCLA are looking to sign the gifted high school senior, but Oregon isn't far behind, and they offered him on March 6th.
Back in July, DeChaun discussed his interest in Oregon with OregonLive.com.