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Oregon Turning up the Heat in Recruitment of 2022 DB Zeke Berry

Can the Ducks make inroads at another one of the nation's top high school programs?

Oregon recently hosted 2022 De la Salle (Concord, Calif.) defensive back Zeke Berry for a visit. At the time of the trip, he was committed to Arizona, but reopened his recruitment following his time in Eugene. He spoke with Ducks Digest about that decision, his time with the Ducks and where Oregon stands.

"Really me and my family talked about it and for me it was a decision to make in the long run," Berry said of his decision to reopen his recruitment. "No shade on them, I didn’t think it could really develop me to be in the NFL where I want to be."

Now that he's back on the market, the Ducks are in the thick of his recruitment after receiving the fourth of his five allotted official visits in early October. The other three official visits were to Arizona, Pittsburgh and Oregon State.

When I spoke to Berry at the Opening in Los Angeles this summer, he told me he had been working on getting out to Eugene, and the trip didn't disappoint. 

"It was good. I liked it a lot," Berry said of Oregon visit. "Just being able to be out with the coaches, going out to eat, seeing the facilities, seeing the players and seeing them play and practice. It was a great experience."

Oregon's 2022 class has two safeties in the fold and the staff envisions him staying in the secondary as a Duck.

"They said I would play the 'STAR' out there. A little safety, kind of like a strong safety."

For Berry, who's made his left his mark on the Spartans program by dominating in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams), those plans line up with where he sees himself lining up at the next level.

"I’m pretty on board with it. That’s how I play now," he said. "I play a little strong safety, I blitz and stay in coverage man-to-man. I’m cool with it."

The 6-foot, 195-pound defensive back is closest with multiple Oregon coaches, which includes a strong relationship with what would be his future position coach in Marcel Yates.

"Oh yeah it's been building a lot. Sometimes he’ll just call me to check up on me and my family. Sometimes we call and talk about football a little bit. Asking me if I can see myself playing in an Oregon uniform and I say yeah it’d look dope."

It's worth noting that Berry's relationship with Yates is one of the longer-standing ones he's built during the recruiting process, dating back to when he was being recruited by Yates who was on the staff at Cal.

The other close relationship he's built with the Ducks is Head Coach Mario Cristobal.

"I have the same relationship with him as Coach Yates. He calls me and my family to see how we’re doing," the defensive back said. "Talking a little football. He reminds me a lot of my head coach now Coach Alumbaugh. Those guys are both determined and dedicated to what they do. They love football that stands out to me a lot."

What's he most excited about when picturing himself at a school like Oregon?

"I would say just the school feel, that’s a big thing. The people there, stuff like that. The coaching too. Education. Just how that school is run I feel like it’s the same way my school is. Feels like home to me."

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The Ducks aren't the only school out west recruiting him hard. A recent offer from USC has the Trojans entering the picture, but he's also drawing heavy interest from a storied Big Ten program. 

"USC has been recruiting me hard. UCLA, Oregon and Michigan," Berry said of the schools he's hearing from the most.

Berry tells me he hears from the Oregon staff four to five days a week, which further demonstrates how their pursuit is heating up. With one official visit remaining, he's still trying to figure out where he wants to go.

"I'm still planning it out. I’ll probably take it down to Michigan."

Despite working on planning his final official visit, it doesn't appear a commitment is coming soon, as his timeline has changed. 

"I talked to my family, we aren’t going to do the commitment in December. We’re gonna wait after that. I’ve got quite some time to make my decision."

This is definitely a player the Ducks don't want to miss out on. Berry is the best player in Northern California. 

Just how good? One college scout told me, "It's not even close."

More from Ducks Digest

Zeke Berry planning Oregon visit (Summer 2021)

2023 LB Leviticus Su'a recaps Oregon visit


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