Oregon has the top recruiting class in the Pac-12 for 2022, good for the No. 5 spot in SI All-American's team rankings. With a lot of elite talent in the fold, the Ducks are pushing ahead into 2023 and are prioritizing quarterbacks early.
One player they have their eyes on is Jaden Rashada, a 6-foot-4, 183-pound Under Armour All-American from Pittsburg High School in the Bay Area. He's in Eugene this weekend for the Arizona game to check out the Oregon football program for the first time as a recruit after a group visit in the eighth grade.
He spoke with Ducks Digest about the latest in his recruitment.
With almost 20 scholarship offers, Rashada is back home in California after making the initial decision to transfer to national powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
"I was gonna go to IMG. I went down for 62 days and then I had to get some film, they had JJ McCarthy. I wanted to get some film and play instead of sitting," he said of his decision to return to the Bay Area. "It was a good program and I can’t say nothing bad about it.
"When I came back my head coach and everybody had left the program and that’s when I came and went to Pitt. Right place wrong time."
Since moving back out west, he's been all over the country taking visits as his junior season gets underway.
"I've been to Ole Miss, Penn State and Clemson at the end of July before the dead period," Rashada said. "I went back down to Penn State last week for the white-out game."
Now that he's in Eugene, he'll get to see a familiar face in former Liberty (Brentwood, Calif.) High School teammate Jay Butterfield.
"That was my guy," Rashada said of the Oregon freshman quarterback. "We were the only two quarterbacks on the team. We were always with each other. His dad was a coach, so me and his dad built a good relationship. Me and Butter were super tight."
What's standing out the most about the Ducks football program heading into the visit?
"Just the situation and what they do for their quarterbacks and players," he said. "They produce quarterbacks. They do a good job at that, and playing for a good group of coaches is big for me. I like Cristobal as a person more than he is even as a coach. He’s an even better person than he is as a coach."
More specifically, he sees his skillset and development excelling under Joe Moorhead's tutelage.
"You get that situational stuff where you can see yourself competing somewhere. It feels like my play style fits Oregon’s offense a lot."
So far, the interest between the Ducks' staff and the big-time quarterback is mutual, with consistent communication from Moorhead and Cristobal heading into the trip.
"I’d say probably like three to four times a week. Like every other day. I talk to Moorhead and Cristobal the most. They have a lot of recruiting guys on the board that reach out to me a lot as well.
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The relationships are strong thus far, and Rashada touched on what he likes about each of the the coaches.
"It’s pretty cool. Cristobal knows how to connect with people pretty well, like you’re one of his players already. Moorhead is a smart football guy and he knows what he’s talking about. You could get a pretty good feel for how a person is."
The team's massive win over Ohio State just a few weeks ago has left a lasting impression.
"As a recruit, you want to put yourself in a position to compete for a national championship. I think the Pac-12 is doing really well competing with schools that are on the front line of competing for championships," he said of the Ducks' win over the Buckeyes. "They can compete with these guys and the more you add to it the more the competition grows. The more recruits you add the better shot you can have at a natty."
Looking ahead, it sounds like he'll be staying in the Pac-12 for his next string of visits.
"I'm going down to UCLA next weekend, I'll probably go to Ole Miss again. May go up to Washington."
It sounded like an offer was on the Horizon, as he plans to trim his list in the near future.
"I’ll probably release a top schools in a couple weeks or so. Probably a top eight."
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