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Football Recruiting Update - Late June Visitors Impress

Sixteen High-Star Players Look Over Campus, Lanning, Program

Utah v Oregon Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images

In recent years, Oregon football fans have been treated to at least “a chance” to see some of the nation’s most outstanding high school football players as they’ve come to Eugene on both “official” and “unofficial” visits to campus. Oregon’s recruiting has continued to build, and the program has had increasing success in being in contention for high-quality players and in ultimately winning their services. The school’s long-term commitment to the program, the hiring of coaches who both understand how to recruit and how to manage their roster, along with support from key donors and clever marketing of course, has allowed Oregon to rise in the recruiting rankings. It certainly hasn’t hurt that the change in a college athlete’s ability to benefit from his “name, image and likeness” has made the school’s close relationship with Nike all the more valuable.

A coaching staff’s ability to “train up” players notwithstanding, a 4- or 5-star player is more likely to have success on a Power 5 Conference football team than a lower-ranked player. At best, though, a player’s number of “stars” is an educated guess that tries to account for both measurable factors such as on-field production, statistics, and appropriate size and speed for their position, as well as intangibles like heart, desire and work ethic.

Here’s some information on the visitors to Oregon’s football program in the last half of June. It’s really an incredible, impressive group. Most of them have multiple offers from the top college football programs. The Ducks goal is to get the right players for the right spots. Which of these players do you think Oregon will land? Which would you most like to see in an Oregon uniform? Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments.

Gatlin Bair (2024 – Wide Receiver - 6-2, 195) – Gatlin Bair is the kind of athlete Oregon fans have seen before. He’s a two-sport threat and would probably be rated higher in track and field than football. Bair is an outstanding sprinter with some of the fastest times for a high schooler in the 100 and 200 meter runs in 2023. He recently ran a meet-record 20.83 in the 200 in the rain at the Oregon invitational. Projected as a lightning-quick wide receiver, Bair caught 73 passes for 1,113 yards and 20 touchdowns during his Junior season at Burley (ID) High School. At the moment, Bair plans to focus on football in college. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints so he will be going on a church Mission at some point in the years to come. Bair has narrowed his college choice to Oregon, Michigan, Boise State, Nebraska & TCU.

Nathaniel (Nate) Frazier (2024 – Running Back – 5-11, 208) – Frazier will be a product of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California and is currently the 108th overall prospect, and #8 back in the country. Mater Dei is well known for producing lots of high-quality athletes and Frazier is no exception. During the 2022 season, Frazier had 61 carries for 791 yards and 9 touchdowns. Frazier says he wants to play “all over the field” in college, including as a situational slot receiver. He is also a sprinter on the Mater Dei track team. His top 5 colleges at this time Oregon, Alabama, Georgia, Arizona and Arizona State.

Isaiah (Ike) Garcia (2024 – Offensive Tackle – 6-5, 270) – Garcia is the #1 high school player in the State of Utah. He is transferring this Fall to Draper Corner Canyon High School from Cyprus High (Magna, UT). Garcia has recently named his top 10, including the Ducks, and was impressed with Oregon and Coach Lanning during his visit to Eugene.

Elijah Rushing (2024 – Edge Rusher – 6-5, 251) – Rushing, out of Salpointe Catholic High in Tucson, Arizona is a lock for the Oregon “all-name team” should he decide to matriculate to Eugene. He is rated the #4 edge rusher in the country and the #2 prospect overall in Arizona. During his Junior season, Rushing racked up 73 tackles and 11.5 sacks, was credited with 59 quarterback hurries and has been a beast in the weight room. Rushing’s father, George, played for the Florida Gators and his older brother was a walk-on in Gainesville. Rushing has set July 6 as the date he will decide between Oregon, Tennessee and Arizona.

Justin Williams (2024 – Linebacker – 6-2, 205) – Williams enjoyed a breakout Junior season at Oak Ridge High in Conroe, Texas, recording 95 tackles including 17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks and was named the District MVP. Another track athlete, Williams is considered the #4 linebacker prospect nationally and a speedster capable of running down a play he seems to be out of.

Colin Simmons (2024 – Edge Rusher – 6-3, 225) – Simmons is another potential Duck who relies on speed to get to plays before anyone expects him. The Duncanville, Texas prospect’s speed allows him to be a weapon on a delayed blitz, and he’s developed moves that help him get home. Broke the school record for sacks as a Junior in 2023 with 22.5 and was the Texas Sportswriters Association 6A Defensive Player of the Year and co-MVP for Texas District 11-6A. Team went 15 – 0 and won State title last season.

Aydin Breland (2024 – Defensive Line – 6-5, 290) – Another massive product of California’s Mater Dei, Breland is very athletic for his size. Another track and field athlete, threw Discus 180 feet this spring (for some perspective, if could add just 9 feet to that throw, he’d be in the Oregon all-time Top 10). Has been able to use his size and athleticism to overwhelm many high school offensive linemen, but has been surprisingly light in the stats department. His Junior year totaled 24 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss and four sacks in 10 games. Will need to work on tackling technique in his Senior year, as he reportedly misses some ball carriers by coming in too high.

Sione Laulea (2023 – Cornerback – 6-4, 185) – Laulea is the #1-rated Juco player in the nation out of the College of San Mateo. He is planning to sign late this year, and be ready for Spring ball in 2024. Laulea was offered by Sacramento State coming out of Junipero Serra High School but chose San Mateo instead, a decision that has paid off with current offers from Oregon and both Big 10 Los Angeles schools. As a true freshman last year, Laulea had 9 total tackles including 1.5 TFL and one interception. He obviously has excellent height for a defensive back and has recorded a 10.8 second time in the 100-meter dash.

Jeremiah McClellan (2024 – Wide Receiver – 6-0, 190) – A tough, solidly built receiver, McClellan gives defenders little chance to shake him off his route. Good hops and good hands means he will win more than his share of jump balls downfield. Good but not great speed. McClellan caught 41 passes for 989 yards and scored 9 touchdowns during his Junior season at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis. He is one of the top-rated players in Missouri.

Jac’Qawn McRoy (2024 – OT – 6-8, 365) – McRoy is a huge offensive lineman out of Clay-Chalkville High in Pinson, Alabama. 247Sports composite has him rated as the #12 Offensive Tackle in the nation. Has good athleticism and footwork which allows him to get to the second level and make plays in that space. McRoy will benefit from the additional instruction and work on technique he’ll receive in college. He has set a July 1 commitment date.

Kamar Mothudi (2024 – Linebacker 6-3, 230) – Mothudi has made three visits to Eugene in 2023 including the final “official” visit of his recruitment. This has allowed him to learn just about everything there is to know about the program, including the player nutrition plan. He plans a July 10 commitment announcement. Mothudi has been a running back and linebacker at Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood. In his Junior year he produced 104 total tackles, including 11 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks and 3 hurries along with 2 interceptions.

Brayden Platt (2024 – Linebacker – 6-2, 240) – Recruitment of Brayden Platt gives Oregon a shot at the sweetest of all recruiting wins – stealing a high-quality player out of the Huskies back yard. Platt is another track + football athlete, having won back-to-back 3A Shot Put State Championships and clocked 11.09 in the 100 Meters. With the Ducks, Platt might also get in on some of the gadget plays featuring a defensive player scoring touchdowns – he has been a running back and linebacker at Yelm High School. As a Junior, totaled 41 tackles include 4 for a loss along with a sack. Piled up a 13.9 yards-per-carry average as a running back and scored 18 touchdowns. He caught 8 passes for 160 yards and another score.

Da’Juan Riggs (2024 – Running Back – 6-0, 202) – Riggs is a kind of “diamond the rough” target for the Ducks. Most 2024 targets are highly recruited with offers from a bunch of big schools. Pittsburgh and Minnesota are the main competition for Riggs’ services next year. A really solid athlete, Riggs has good size, speed and power. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry, gaining 962 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns during his Junior season with St. John’s College High in Washington, DC. Riggs also caught 17 balls for a further 165 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Preston Taumua (2024 – Offensive Line – 6-4, 315) – Aiea High School, Hawaii prospect Preston Taumua broke out at this past summer’s ESPN Hawaii camp, earning top honors. Taumua has no problem getting his pads down for leverage and moving to the second level to finish plays. He also excels at pass blocking with good feet and technique. Taumua is definitely in demand, having taken officials to several SEC schools as well as Oregon.

Ashdon Wnetrzak (2025 – Offensive Tackle – 6-8, 345) – Another giant offensive line prospect, Wnetrzak is only a Sophomore in high school and his recruitment is on a slow burn. He’s only played a handful of games for Sierra Canyon High in Chatsworth, California during his Freshman and Sophomore years, and has two more seasons to develop.

Solomon Williams (2024 – Edge – 6-3, 250) – Williams is another fast Edge player who can explode into the backfield when the situation requires. He had 32 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks in just 10 games during his Junior season at Carrollwood Day in Tampa, Florida. Has incredible athletic gifts including a vertical leap that allows him to dunk. Also has potential to develop into an inside linebacking spot as he continues to hit the weight room and works on technique.