To win football games you need to be able to win in the trenches. It's a saying that is near and dear to offensive and defensive line coaches alike, and the Oregon Ducks have dominated the along the offensive line in recent years.
In order for that to continue, Adrian Klemm will need to keep the cupboard stocked with maulers, especially in the 2023 class as the Ducks enter their last season with this group of veterans.
Micah Bañuelos is one offensive lineman Oregon has been prioritizing, and the Kennedy Catholic (Burien, Wash.) prep took his official visit to Eugene last weekend. During that trip he was able to connect with current players and coaches.
"We were sent with our player hosts and basically through our player hosts–they were basically just talking to us about everything about their transition to Oregon and how they liked it and what they had to do," he said. "They were just telling us how it was a hard decision, but it felt like home to them."
The 6-foot-2, 290 pound offensive lineman got to see some familiar faces and fellow Washington products.
"My player host was Dave Iuli. We talked with other players like Josh (Conerly) and some of the other cats on the team.”
Bañuelos previously called Adrian Klemm and Viane Talamaivo "different" O-line coaches, and spending more time with them was important.
"It reassured everything to be honest," Bañuelos said. "When I first met them I didn’t actually know who they were personally. But as our relationship started to build up they felt like they were like coaches, but at the same time like they were big bros. They were like good tutors and teachers.”
Having taken numerous trips to Eugene throughout his recruitment, including a trip in the spring, there's one thing that Oregon is doing that has his attention.
"I’m most excited about the competition," he told Ducks Digest. "Although Oregon is a Pac-12 school as you can see their first opponent is Georgia. I know Coach Lanning is gonna do anything to his power to just play different teams and the type of mindset he’s on…he’s on that national championship mindset again as same as last year. He’s come to strike hard with that new staff too.”
Taking a broader look at his recruitment, Bañuelos recently trimmed his list of schools to three, with Oregon, USC and Texas A&M the last teams standing.
“I just felt like if I were to cut it down now, my senior season I wouldn’t have to worry about any of that recruiting stuff. Just being in the process, you got different perspectives from different coaches.
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"You’re hearing one thing and you’re hearing another and it’s just like, you want it to be all over and you just wanna be taught by one dude."
He offered up his thoughts on the other two schools, those trips, and why they made the cut.
"That trip–it was a mind blowing trip. We did some crazy stuff. We had breakfast at the Lakers arena. We had a little luau. I just felt like family was a priority down at SC too. The coaches there, they’re done just like the Oregon staff too. It’s definitely gonna be a hard decision. They got some great coaches at USC. Very experienced coaches too."
“That visit–it was a crazy visit too. It was wild. I love A&M too. I love what they bring to the table as well."
"They’re in the SEC. It’s just the opportunity of just going against a lot of skilled players in that SEC and a lot of unnatural talent in the SEC.”
With a solid group of finalists, Bañuelos has a decision date in mind.
"I think July 8 is what I’m thinking."
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