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July 8, 2011

Roundtable: Recruits follow Oregon's woes

MORE ROUNDTABLES: July 1 | June 24 | June 17

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.

What are you hearing from prospects and high school coaches regarding Oregon's current troubles and how much the Ducks will be impacted on the recruiting trail?

Mike Farrell: Chip Kelly should be sending thank you notes and get well soon cards to Jim Tressel because the Ohio State scandal knocked Oregon off the top page in a big way. All we heard about in March was Oregon and the Ducks paying people to influence recruits but once the Tressel and Ohio State deal became front page news, no one mentions Oregon much at all, at least when it comes to recruits. Will Lyles is talking more now which will bring it back a bit, but I don't think it's affecting them all that much in a negative manner. Recruiting certainly isn't going as well as it has been the last couple of years for Oregon, but if it has another magical season on the field that will all change. However, their efforts in Texas could be affected now that the Lyles situation is public and that could hurt the Ducks in the long term. But to recruits, Oregon is still the team with the cool uniforms, great facilities and insane offense - that hasn't changed.

Adam Gorney: Here at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., I have already talked with Oregon quarterback commit Jake Rodrigues and Hillsboro (Ore.) Liberty linebacker Brett Bafaro, who has the Ducks as one of his favorites but is hesitant to commit because of possible NCAA sanctions. Rodrigues said that Oregon's coaches have told him that nothing major is going to happen and not to worry about anything. There's really no way to confirm if that was said but that's the impression Rodrigues is under. It will be interesting to see how the NCAA handles this situation and if there's anything else to investigate. It could be awhile until anything is determined but with unresolved issues to deal with Oregon might have squandered recruiting opportunities by having to deal with the Lyles story.

Chris Nee: Oregon isn't that prevalent in Florida so I haven't heard much talk concerning the Ducks and their potential recruiting success.

Keith Niebuhr: I haven't spoken to any coaches about it; only players. The ones I've talked to say they're taking the wait-and-see approach with the Ducks, and plan to watch how things unfold before writing them off. If things aren't resolved by National Signing Day in February, then there could be some problems. For now, though, these players still have great interest in the program. Even in the South (my region), Oregon has become a marquee name.

Brian Perroni: To be honest, there has not been a lot of talk about the possible Oregon troubles among recruits just yet. The Ducks have seemingly slowed down their recruiting efforts in the city of Houston since the stories have come out so I don't really hear much about the school at all these days.

What current college QB surprises you the most (in a good way) considering what you saw of him in high school?

Mike Farrell: Russell Wilson without a doubt for me. He was a kid in high school who was a great athlete and put up big numbers, but he was too short and I was sure he would be moved to another position after his first look at quarterback. He's still too short at 5-11, but it doesn't matter because he's great at throwing in passing lanes and getting outside and making things happen. His career at N.C. State was amazing when you look at his passing yards and touchdown-to-interception ratio. Now he's headed to Wisconsin and he could be the difference for the Badgers when it comes to getting into a BCS game or even getting into the national title picture. Baseball is his future, it appears, but if he decided to try to play pro football I wouldn't bet against him now.

Adam Gorney: Two that stick out the most are both dual-threat quarterbacks in the 2008 class. They are Robert Griffin and Darron Thomas, fourth and sixth, respectively, at that position. It was a strong year at that position with Terrelle Pryor and E.J. Manuel leading the way, but there's no justification now for Minnesota's MarQueis Gray to be ranked ahead of both Griffin and Thomas and for Arizona's Matt Scott to be ahead of Thomas. After all, Thomas helped lead Oregon's explosive and complex offense to the national championship game and Griffin has been downright special at times for Baylor. Gray and Scott still are in backup roles.

Chris Nee: Jeff Godfrey at UCF. Knew he would be successful in the right system in college but his immediate success surprised me. Great competitor who can make things happen with his arm and legs. His measurables are what kept many schools from pursuing him more heavily.

Keith Niebuhr: Aaron Murray of Georgia. Don't get me wrong, I always thought he'd be an excellent college quarterback; I just figured it would take him some time to become such a solid player. Georgia's quarterback situation gave him a chance to play early and he took full advantage of the opportunity. I thought his lack of height would hurt him a bit in college, but because he's so mobile and is among the South's most accurate passers, it hasn't really been an issue.

Brian Perroni: Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill took over midseason last year after playing wide receiver his whole college career and led the Aggies to an undefeated regular season finish. He was a Wing T quarterback in high school that didn't throw much at all and a lot of people were surprised when he was even offered. He has certainly done a lot better than I, or most anybody else for that matter, expected.

What current college QB surprises you the most (in a bad way) considering what you saw of him in high school?

Mike Farrell: Garrett Gilbert is a five-star kid who hasn't come close to living up to that status and really needs a big year to turn around his career. He doesn't want to be remembered as the guy who couldn't win at Texas and he still has plenty of time to learn and overcome his decision-making mistakes. Ten touchdowns and 17 picks last year was brutal and while the Texas offensive line was not very good and his protection broke down way too often, he also struggled when he had time and during key moments. He's battling not only Big 12 defenses but also the legend of his predecessors, Vince Young and Colt McCoy, and that's hard to do. But pressure is part of the game for quarterbacks and he's one season away from being labeled a huge bust.

Adam Gorney: The 2009 dual-threat list is rife with examples leading with five-star Russell Shepard, who isn't even playing quarterback at LSU but is emerging as a quality wide receiver. Then there's Tyrik Rollison and No. 4 on that list is Kevin Newsome, fifth is Tate Forcier and sixth was Cody Green.

Chris Nee: I'd have to go with Florida's John Brantley. The former Gatorade High School Player of the Year has struggled mightily since taking over at Florida. It will be interesting to see if he bounces back under Charlie Weis in a pro-style offense.

Keith Niebuhr: Jacory Harris of Miami. Harris hasn't had a bad career in Coral Gables; it just hasn't been as good as I thought it would be. If you saw this guy play at Miami Northwestern High, you witnessed a player with incredible poise who made great decisions. In college, though, Harris hasn't made great decisions. In three seasons, he has thrown 39 interceptions while producing only a mediocre QB rating. Unlike some, I haven't written him off. I still see potential there. A lot of it. My concern is more with his confidence at this point.

Brian Perroni: Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert finished his high school career as the all-time leading passer in the state of Texas and was a five-star recruit coming out of Austin (Texas) Lake Travis. I watched him several times in high school and all week at the Under Armour game practices. He was not quite as solid a passer as fellow five-star Matt Barkley, but still his struggles for the Longhorns last season surprised me. He is a big pocket passer who seemingly has all the tools but just can't put it together on the field.



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