Ducks get 2 surprises on signing day
Chip Kelly’s departure doesn’t look to have affected Oregon’s
recruiting all that much.
The Ducks saw one recruit get away but they also got a pair of
unexpected letters of intent on Wednesday from four-star defensive
end Torrodney Prevot from Houston and offensive lineman Cameron
Hunt from Corona, Calif. Both were believed to be leaning toward
The additions were a boon to Mark Helfrich’s first recruiting
class as head coach of the Ducks.
”This is a special place, and we’ve been able to attract a ton
of talent,” said Helfrich, who was named Oregon’s coach last month
when Kelly decided to make the jump to the NFL’s Philadelphia
When he was promoted, Helfrich said he didn’t plan to make
sweeping changes in how Oregon does things. But the entire coaching
staff – most of whom stayed in Eugene despite Kelly’s exit – were
proactive in revisiting the players who had committed to
”We try to sell our deal,” Helfrich said. ”We’re not going to
promise anybody anything. We’re not going to guarantee anybody
anything. And we usually end up with the right guys.”
Oregon’s only loss was Dontre Wilson, a four-star running back
out of Texas, who decided to attend Ohio State.
Twin brothers Tyree and Tyrell Robinson from San Diego also
decided to reopen their recruitment after Kelly left, looking at
Washington and Ohio State. The two, recruited as athletes,
ultimately decided on Wednesday morning to become Ducks.
Oregon, ranked No. 2 in the final AP Top 25, finished 12-1 this
past season, capped by a 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the
Fiesta Bowl. Oregon went 46-7 over the past four seasons under
Kelly, who devised the Ducks’ innovative hurry-up spread offense.
Over that span, the Ducks won three Pac-12 championships and played
in four BCS bowl games, including the national championship game in
2010 against Auburn.
Oregon’s 2013 recruiting class included home-state standout
Thomas Tyner, considered by many to be one of the top prep running
backs in the country. He rushed for 3,415 yards for Aloha (Ore.)
High School as a senior, setting a new single single-season rushing
record for the state.
On his 18th birthday last September, Tyner set a state record
with 643 yards rushing and scored 10 touchdowns in an 84-63 victory
over Lakeridge High School. It was the third-most ever for a prep
player, behind John Giannantonio’s record of 754 yards in a game
for Netcong High School in New Jersey in 1950, and Paul McCoy’s 661
yards rushing for Matewan High School in West Virginia in 2006.
”The guy’s off the charts,” Helfrich said. ”World-class
speed. Hopefully, he’ll help our track team, too.”
Oregon got letters of intent from 19 players, including one
junior college transfer. Helfrich said the Ducks filled two of
their biggest needs by signing five offensive linemen and three
Other notable recruits included running back Kani Benoit, who
rushed for 2,260 yards and 36 touchdowns last season for
Thunderbird High School in Arizona and 6-foot-2 quarterback Damion
Hobbs from Texas. While Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota will only
be a sophomore next season, backup Bryan Bennett decided recently
to transfer to Southeastern Louisiana.
Oregon also signed defensive lineman Doug Brenner, whose big
sister, Liz, plays basketball for the Ducks and was a standout on
the volleyball team that went to the NCAA championship match this
Signee Jake Pisarcik, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound offensive lineman
from Medford, N.J., is the youngest son of former NFL quarterback
Joe Pisarcik. Kicker Matt Wogan was his team captain at Porter
Ridge High School in North Carolina.
In addition to Kelly’s departure, there were concerns that
Oregon’s recruiting class could be affected by the ongoing NCAA
investigation into the school’s use of recruiting services.
The inquiry is the result of reports that surfaced in 2011
concerning payments Oregon made to two such services, including a
$25,000 check sent to Willie Lyles and Houston-based Complete
Scouting Services in 2010. Lyles had a connection with a player who
committed to Oregon.
The matter appears headed toward a hearing before the NCAA
infractions committee, possibly as early as this spring.