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Jaylen Sneed Could be a Missing Piece for Oregon's First National Championship

A new face on the Oregon staff could be the difference maker in a highly competitive recruitment.
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The Ducks have injected some crazy talent at linebacker in recent recruiting cycles with names like Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe. It doesn't appear like Mario Cristobal intends on slowing down any time soon, as he brought in 4-star linebacker Jaylen Sneed from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for an official visit this past weekend. 

Sneed was joined on the trip by both of his parents and came away with plenty of positive reviews about the monster of a football program being built in Eugene. 

Bradyn Swinson, another native of the Southeast from Douglasville, Georgia, was his host on the visit. During their conversations he painted a crystal clear picture of the expectations that are placed on the defending Pac-12 champions, as well as a path to early playing time.

"I asked him how it was and he said if you don't wanna work hard don't come here, because this program is all about working hard.

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Oregon pulled out all the stops and went 'off script' during the visit.

"If (Mario) Cristobal sees you working hard you’ll definitely see some time as a freshman, all you have to do is work hard," he said of his interactions with the Ducks defensive lineman.

The 6-foot-2, 212-pound backer got to meet just about everyone on the staff, but highlighted new Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter as the coach he feels he has the closest relationship with. 

"He gets straight to the point. He’s a very down-to-earth guy," Sneed told Ducks Digest. "He’s built a great relationship with my Mom and Dad. He seems like he's very hard working and ready to start the season. He's hyped up and ready to go."

DeRuyter may be his lead recruiter, but that doesn't mean he was without praise for Mario Cristobal, whose aspirations for a national championship were at the forefront of conversations during the visit. 

"He’s a great guy. I feel like he feels like he’s not done yet, like he still has so much more to accomplish," he said of the Oregon head coach. "He puts a great staff around himself, I got to meet a lot of the staff and all of them are great.

"He makes it like a family atmosphere-- like everyone is together accomplishing one dream: to make it to the NFL and win a national championship. He makes sure that’s instilled in his players' heads."

Cristobal and his staff didn't mince words when they told Sneed he could be a huge piece of the puzzle in the program achieving its goals. 

What exactly was the staff selling him on?

"Their main pitch was: you’re the finishing class to the national championship team. Y'all are the finishing class to get the national championship. We’ve had the best Pac-12 recruiting class the past two to three years. All we need is y'all and we can make this happen."

Sneed's favorite part of the visit may come as a surprise to some, but only serves as another example of the unbelievable attention to detail Mario Cristobal has instilled in every level of his football program.

"Definitely the strength and conditioning staff," Sneed told Ducks Digest. "They did a couple presentations. 

"The strength coach is a really great guy. He had a presentation about the steps to success. You have to take the steps one by one to get to your total dream. There's no shortcuts in life, you gotta keep going hard to be successful."

There's no doubt that Aaron Feld's booming yells echo throughout Oregon's facilities, as he flexes with recruits during photo shoots, giving them a small taste of the intensity they'll experience daily in Eugene.

Aaron Feld flexes during a photo shoot with Oregon WR commit Stephon Johnson Jr. (1) and Oregon LB Target TJ Dudley (6).

Aaron Feld flexes during a photo shoot with Oregon WR commit Stephon Johnson Jr. (1) and Oregon LB Target TJ Dudley (6).

 What stood out most from the visit?

"Definitely the family atmosphere. That really stood out to me," he said. "Everybody was nice, everybody was together. Every time you saw someone it was a handshake. Everybody was just nice out there and they look like they’re great coaches. "

Another aspect of the atmosphere that can be surreal for recruits is setting foot inside Autzen Stadium and putting on one of the Ducks' innumerable uniform combinations.

"It definitely was like seeing Oregon on TV as a little kid," Sneed said of being in one of college football's most revered landmarks. "It was like a dream come true, being able to put on a jersey."

He didn't rule out a return trip to Eugene.

"I don't know for sure yet, but maybe," Sneed said. 

He's one of those recruits that could probably fill a bathtub with recruiting mail from the 36 schools that have offered him, but four schools are on him the hardest.

"Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennesse and South Carolina," he said of the schools he's hearing from the most.

Sneed plans to make his commitment before the football season and in the mean time will prioritize getting to at least two more schools.

This week he'll land in South Bend for an official visit to Notre Dame and then he'll head closer to home in SEC country for an official visit to Tennessee. After that he said he may take an unofficial to South Carolina and is still deciding where he wants to take his last two official visits.

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