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

other schools.

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

Eagles.

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

Oregon.

”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

linebackers.

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

past season.

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.