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Dan Lanning Prioritized Speed and Size in Oregon's 2022 Signing Class

During the busy National Signing Day, the Ducks' head coach spoke about the future of his team.

With National Signing Day in the books, there have already been some big wins for the the Ducks. While there’s still the potential for a few additions, Head Coach Dan Lanning was able to reflect on what the new signees bring to the team.

Lanning sees greatness in the next wave of Ducks, but he's particularly excited about one trait many signees have that will help the Ducks take on his defensive identity. That trait is something that will get fans excited, as it's made the Oregon brand so unique and special during the program's rise to prominence.

“I think we ended up signing nine guys that have a track and field background,” Lanning said Wednesday. “We signed five guys that run under a 10.7 100 (meters)-- which for us on defense, the way we play, the brand of football we’re gonna play, it’s really important.”

For years Oregon has been synonymous with the word speed, but that's mainly been associated with the offense of the Chip Kelly era. As the new coaching staff molds the program's identity, they added a whole bunch of something that you simply can't teach on the field.

“The game is about speed, right?” Lanning said. “And we got to be able to run and hit and tackle and catch and block. All those things matter. But, speed is one thing that’s hard to change, and we have some guys coming in that can do that.”

While he wouldn’t name all the athletes coming in with wicked speed, he did name defensive back Khamari Terrell, who Ducks fans should be excited to watch when it comes to his speed.

“Khamari is one that comes to mind,” he said. “Terrell from Killeen; he can scoot.”

Another player that can scoot is cornerback Jahlil Florence, one of three former verbal commits the Ducks got back back in the fold on Wednesday when he signed with Oregon over USC. Terrell and Florence, along with his high school teammate Jalil Tucker, will look to make an immediate impact for Oregon's first-year head coach.

“They’re just great humans,” Lanning said when referring to Florence and Terrell. “I’m just excited about what kind of character they have beyond just what they are as players, but one thing they all have in common: they’re all long. They have great speed. So those are big, big pieces for us moving forward.”

But speed wasn't the only focus for Lanning and company in finding the players to build a dominant defense. He also wants to stock the defensive line with big bodies. 

2022 signees Sir Mells (6'4", 310 lbs) and Ben Roberts (6'4", 290 lbs) will provide an additional boost to an already solid defensive line composed of returning veterans Brandon Dorlus, Keyon Ware-Hudson and Popo Aumavae along with transfers Sam Taimani (Washington) and Jordon Riley (Nebraska).

“I think size and speed are a premium,” Lanning said. “A lot of people have asked me what’s the difference in places I’ve been in the past, and I think the D-line’s one of those places where it starts. You have to win the game at the line of scrimmage, period. That’s football.”

While the work isn’t done for Lanning and the new coaching staff, he is certainly on his way to a solid recruiting class given his limited time on the job, recruiting, assembling his coaching staff, and recruiting for the Ducks all while helped lead Georgia to a national championship.

One thing's certainly clear, Lanning is setting himself up for success in the seasons to come.

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