Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra cornerback Dakoda Fields is already one of the best defensive backs in the country.
Despite playing in only six games before an injury cut his junior season short, he's landed on the radar of schools across the country, including the Oregon Ducks. He took a trip to Eugene with his father for the Washington game and spoke with Ducks Digest about the latest in his recruitment.
Fields wanted to get back out to Oregon to spend some time with the coaching staff and check in on how the season had been going for the Ducks. Autzen Stadium was rocking and the energy made a strong impression the young defensive back.
"I loved the energy on game day," Fields said. "From the fans, to the staff, to everyone. Coach Lanning had a big smile on his face even after the loss."
Meeting with Lanning was one of the highlights of the trip, as the head coach made the effort to spend some time with him amid a busy weekend full of evaluating game film, preparing for the next opponent and spending time with other recruits on campus.
"I actually got to meet with Coach Lanning first. I was the first recruit to meet with him the day after the game, so that made me feel special."
Fields came away from his interaction with Lanning impressed by how the young head coach carries himself, especially in the face of defeat in such a critical game.
"Just to see him with the same energy as if he won a game just really tells me that he doesn't let one loss get to his head," the defensive back said. "It's not gonna break him for the whole season. That it's not over."
Lanning also spent time with Demetrice Martin, someone he's very familiar with.
"We're like family," he said of his relationship with the Oregon cornerbacks coach. "Me and his family met I believe at a track meet when I was about eight years old. Me and Cole (Martin), we're tight."
Fields said the Ducks will probably receive an official visit when the time comes and he left Eugene with a clear-cut takeaway.
"Just the energy from the coaching staff and just being able to build a better relationship with them," he said.
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The Serra product has taken recent trips to USC and Cal as well and has visits scheduled to some more big schools soon.
"Washington, Ohio State, UCLA and Notre Dame."
Fields told me he's hearing the most from Ohio State, Oregon, USC, UCLA and Washington. He'll now shift his focus to preparing for the track season and discussed his timeline for a possible decision.
"I'm dropping my top 10 this December. Probably late December and then I'll probably drop a top three or top five in I'd probably say April or May. I'll probably commit before the season starts. But if not it'll probably be during the season or after."
Scouting report via Alec Simpson, California Scouting Director at Catapult Sports
Fields is a long and rangy defensive back prospect out of Serra HS who’s had a history of successfully developing high-level cornerback prospects, and Fields is certainly another one to add to that list.
He’s all of 6-2 180 and tracks the opposing hips of receivers very well in man coverage. He’s very fluid in change of direction situations for a prospect with as much length as he has on the island, and shows the ability to track the ball well in space. Fields has a wide frame to be able to add some solid weight as he develops heading into the college ranks.
His transitional speed surely stands out as well, as he's had a successful track career in the 200 and 400 as well. As Fields continues to add weight to his frame, he surely will need to improve on the open-field tackling portion of his game. At times, he’s seen arm tackling and not fully driving his shoulder through his opposition.
With his athleticism, transitional speed, and length on the island, Fields is certainly in the conversation as one of the top cover corners in the SoCal region. He surely deserves the 4-star ranking and has a strong senior season on the horizon.
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