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Football: Ducks fly high on early signing day

Defensive blue-chippers headline Oregon’s list

FloSports: FloFootball Prep Gridrion-St. John Bosco at Allen Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It always hurts to lose a 5-star recruit to a flip. For Oregon, it happened twice.

First, 5-star quarterback Dante Moore shockingly flipped from Oregon to UCLA. The Bruins’ pending move to the Big 10 may well have had something to do with the Michigan native’s decision.

Next, Oregon successfully flipped 5-star safety Peyton Bowen from Notre Dame…only to have Bowen flip to Oklahoma the next day.

With that being the case, why were there so many smiles on the faces of Duck fans heading into the Christmas weekend?

Probably because Oregon absolutely crushed early signing day in a way few expected them to after Dan Lanning’s first season in Eugene.

First and foremost, Oregon secured 5-star edge rusher Matayo Uiagalelei, who was long thought of to be a USC lean and who’s brother DJ seems to be heading to Corvallis. Uiagalelei is the diamond piece of Lanning’s defense recruits, and could likely have the same kind of instant impact as former Duck Kayvon Thibodeau.

Next was the quarterback issue following the sudden flip from Moore. With Bo Nix announcing he will return for his final year of eligibility, the Ducks have their quarterback of the present. But given the lack of progression by Ty Thompson and the departure of Jay Butterfield, they needed a potential QB of the future.

Enter 4-star signal caller Austin Novosad, a Texas native, who Oregon flipped from Baylor. This gives Oregon security and a potential predecessor behind Nix. New Offensive Coordinator Will Stein had a hand in that one with his Texas connections.

Then there was the hole at wideout to shore up with Chase Cota off to the pros and Dont’e Thornton deciding to head out. Lanning and Co. took care of that with the signing of 5-star receiver Jurrion Dickey, who will have the benefit of catching balls from one of the nation’s best passers with Nix returning.

Oregon also closed with the signing of 4-star edge Blake Purchase, the top prospect from Colorado (take that Primetime) and flipped 4-star running back Jayden Limar from Notre Dame and 4-star Daylen Austin from LSU.