At the start of June I wrote about Oregon’s top ten defensive targets as we started a busy recruiting period. In the piece, I listed Anthony Jones, Niuafe Tuihalamaka, and Travious Lathan as three of the Ducks primary targets at linebacker. Since then, two of the three have committed to other programs.
On June 12, Jones committed to Texas during a visit in Austin. This was a surprise to many Duck fans, especially after Oregon had secured a commitment from his high school teammate Sir Mells just a few days prior.
Then, on June 19 Tuihalamaka committed to Notre Dame. The Ducks were in his top five and one of the main threats to the Irish for his commitment.
Lathan hasn’t made a commitment elsewhere as of yet, but my sense is that Oregon’s momentum in Lathan’s recruitment is slowing down as other targets emerge.
Interestingly, Tuihalamaka isn’t the only prominent battle between Oregon and Notre Dame for a blue-chip linebacker this cycle. Top-100 prospect Jaylen Sneed is down to the Irish and the Ducks and it looks like a decision may not be far off.
Additionally, Oregon and Notre Dame are both on the short list for edge prospect Cyrus Moss. While Moss may not play linebacker at the next level, it further punctuates this budding recruiting rivalry.
Both the Ducks and Irish are part of a short list of programs with a real chance of breaking into the top tier of college football. Notre Dame has made multiple College Football Playoff appearances, and Oregon has the most talent it's had under Mario Cristobal.
Getting to that top tier of college football requires competing at a high level on the field, and even more so on the recruiting trail, winning battles that aren't physical like those on game day, but require countless hours of dedication in the form of evaluation, phone calls, text messages, handwritten letters, Facetime calls, Zoom calls, and visiting prospects in person--all in efforts to build relationships with recruits.
So who else will the Ducks target at linebacker? I’ve got a few prospects for Oregon fans to keep tabs on.
TJ Dudley (Montgomery, AL)
Dudley visited the Oregon campus the first weekend of June and spoke with Max Torres about the trip. Two things that stood out from there were that Dudley has been an Oregon fan since he was little and that he was excited to play alongside Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe. I think the Ducks are in a great position to land a commitment from Dudley with his commitment expected Monday between Oregon, Alabama and UCF.
Jaylen Sneed (Hilton Head Island, SC)
Sneed is down to Oregon and Notre Dame as mentioned above. While I believe the Ducks may be in second place right now, Oregon is still very much in the mix.
Robby Snelling (Reno, NV)
Snelling has visited Oregon and Arizona thus far. Snelling is a potential two sport athlete, as he would play both football and baseball. Snelling was also on campus the same weekend as TJ Dudley and Jaylen Sneed. You have to wonder if one of those prospects makes a commitment whether that could move the needle for either of the other two.
Our Dylan Rubenking spoke with Snelling following his Oregon visit, and was told the visit "set the bar up there."
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Sebastian Cheeks (Evanston, IL)
Cheeks is a newer addition to this list. Oregon gets a shot at making an impression this weekend with him on campus for a visit.
Harold Perkins (Cypress, TX)
Perkins is a 5-star prospect and securing a commitment from him would be a dream scenario for the Ducks. Oregon could get some help here seeing they are in the process of resurrecting by their pipeline in Texas.
The Ducks are likely not the favorites, but Cristobal has made up ground on top targets late in past cycles before. The hope for Oregon is that this recruitment extends into the fall and the Ducks can get Perkins on campus for a game changing visit.
Shawn Murphy (Manassas, VA)
Murphy is another highly-coveted prospect and Oregon made the cut for his top eight back in January along with Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia and Penn State. Since the start of June he has visited Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Florida State and LSU.
Again, the Ducks have some ground to make up, but recruiting is fluid and Oregon could make things interesting down the line.
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