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Dan Lanning's National Signing Day Should Inspire Confidence Moving Forward

With Lanning in Eugene full-time, his era of Oregon football has officially begun.

When Mario Cristobal accepted the head coaching position at the University of Miami, the Oregon Ducks appeared to be on the precipice of a downturn.

Not only had USC hired away one of the nation's top coaches in Lincoln Riley, but Oregon lost its head coach a week before the early signing period. The ensuing de-commitments made the 2022 recruiting class uninspiring at best with disaster potential. 

Instead, new Ducks Head Coach Dan Lanning put together a staff and signed a class while preparing his former team to play in the College Football Playoff, and when the dust settled, the Ducks had nearly made its way back into the SI Top 25 recruiting classes for 2022. 

Moving forward, the expectation for the Ducks is to have, at worst, the 15th-best recruiting class nationally and to battle USC for the best in the conference year-in and year-out. The finish to the 2022 class gives Ducks fans reason to expect those results beginning with the 2023 class — the first full recruiting cycle for Lanning and his staff.

Two commitments in particular inspired confidence leaving National Signing Day: Jahlil Florence and Dave Iuli. Both were former commits under Cristobal but de-committed shortly following his departure, and at times in December and January, they appeared to be heavily considering USC and Miami, respectively. 

In fact, Iuli left his official visit to Miami glowing on Twitter about his experience and even posted "SEE YOU AGAIN MIAMI!!!" Crystal ball predictions began to flood in for Iuli to Miami, and it appeared Oregon was going to go another cycle missing on a four-star prospect from Washington. 

However, Miami did not see Iuli again. Lanning and his staff got the last visit ahead of National Signing Day and sold Iuli on the vision for the program. Just weeks prior, landing Iuli's commitment appeared to be a long shot, but on Feb. 2 he signed to play college football in Eugene.

As for Florence, one of the fastest rising prospects of the 2022 recruiting cycle, he had no shortage of suitors leading up to his decision. After de-committing from Oregon, he visited USC a day later, received offers from Oklahoma, Florida, and LSU.

To win this battle, Lanning and his staff put on the full-court press. In sports, sometimes whoever wants it more wins, and in this recruiting battle, that was absolutely the case. While Georgia celebrated a national championship win, Lanning Facetimed Florence from the field and sold him on the vision of having this celebration in the green and yellow over the next three seasons. 

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The second that schools could have an in-home visit with a prospect, Oregon had its Defensive Coordinator Tosh Lupoi and Defensive Backs Coach Demetrice Martin knock on Florence's door and stayed with him until 3 a.m. 

Weeks later, after visiting Oregon the same weekend as Iuli, both blue-chip prospects signed with the Ducks. 

Not only did the Ducks win recruiting battles with premier programs all over the country with these two players, they defeated USC as well. In the coming seasons, Lanning's Oregon tenure may end up being decided on if he can keep pace with the Trojans on and off the field. 

So far, so good in that regard. 

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