After improving their 2022 class earlier this week with the addition of wide receiver Stephon Johnson, the Ducks have taken another big step toward building an elite class.
Consensus 5-star (0.9995 on 247Sports Composite) defensive tackle Walter Nolen has announced a new set of top schools after releasing a top 10 back in February. Nolen included Oregon, along with LSU, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State, and USC as he whittled his list down to eight.
The 6'5", 280-pound defensive lineman took an unofficial visit to Michigan last weekend, confirming that he has legitimate interest in Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines.
Good players are attracted to elite talent, and new Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter certainly has plenty of stars on his defense Nolen would play alongside in Eugene.
What's standing out about Oregon?
"They are just saying I have a big body frame, and with my athleticism, I will be able to play on the inside and the outside," Nolen told Sports Illustrated All-American's Matt Ray. "They are saying with their linebackers behind me it will free up the opportunity for me to take the one-on-ones. That is what I like."
The 5-star attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, one of the top producers of college football talent. As high schoolers, recruits regularly pack their bags and move from all over the country to Florida in order to hone their football skills against elite competition before moving on to the next level.
The Ducks have been able to snag Ascenders before, signing wide receiver Josh Delgado in 2019. It's no secret Mario Cristobal has connections out in the Sunshine State, and he was recently working on building his relationship with the staff at IMG.
Oregon's 2022 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 11 in the country, and No. 1 in the Pac-12.
Do the Ducks have a shot at Nolen?
It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility. Mario Cristobal has proven to have a swinger's chance with the most elite recruits.
He signed California's top 2019 prospect in Kayvon Thibodeaux (Ranked No. 2 nationally on 247Sports Composite), and pulled off the same exact feat a year later when he earned the signing day signature of 5-star linebacker Justin Flowe.
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