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Josh Conerly Jr. commits to Oregon Ducks: Winners and losers

Oregon is the big winner, while USC and Washington take a loss

Rainier Beach five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. committed to the Oregon Ducks on Friday, choosing Dan Lanning’s program over rumored favorite USC, as well as Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Oklahoma and Washington.

With a commitment that significant, there’s plenty of fallout.

Here’s a look at the winners and losers of Conerly’s commitment:

Winner: Oregon Ducks

Oregon’s top-10 class tumbled outside the top 50 when Mario Cristobal departed for Miami (Fla.) in December, and it looked as though the 2022 class may not recover.

However, Lanning quickly righted the ship and managed to put together a top-25 class.

Still, it looked like the Ducks’ run of three consecutive Pac-12 recruiting crowns would come to an end.

Unless the coaching staff could pull off a shocker.

Conerly, the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle, nearly eliminated the Ducks in January when he trimmed his list to six, originally planning to cut things down to five to eliminate Oregon.

USC emerged as the heavy favorite for the final two months until Conerly took a last-minute visit to Eugene and fell in love with everything Oregon had to offer.

His commitment secured the Pac-12 recruiting crown for Oregon football for the fourth consecutive recruiting cycle, a feat they had never accomplished prior to the start of the streak.

Loser: USC Trojans

Lincoln Riley is off to a blazing-hot recruiting start in Los Angeles, having already landed as many five-star prospects as Cristobal did in his record-setting recruiting tenure at Oregon.

Still, the loss of Conerly hurts.

USC has recruited plenty of quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, but would have loved to add a rare five-star offensive tackle into the fold.

Conerly was projected as a near-lock heading into the morning of decision day, but Oregon closed strong.

For many years the “De’Anthony Thomas to Oregon over USC” decision stood alone as a conference shocker, but “Conerly to Oregon” is a commitment that will be right up there among the most shocking finishes in Pac-12 history.

Winner: Pac-12 Conference

Two aspects of Conerly choosing Oregon were good for the Pac-12 Conference.

After years of watching elite area talent leave for the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC, the Pac-12 was able to keep the nation’s top offensive tackle in his home-area conference.

Further, rumblings that Riley and USC would simply wipe out the Pac-12 competition in recruiting and land whoever they want appear to be overblown.

Sure, USC will be a juggernaut recruiter, but Oregon - and maybe the rest of the conference - is unwilling to roll over without a fight.

Loser: Washington Huskies

During an historic run of high school football talent in the home state, the Washington Huskies have been an “also ran” for far too many elite players.

And the list only seems to be growing each year.

Gee Scott Jr. (Ohio State), Julien Simon (USC), Emeka Egbuka (Ohio State), J.T. Tuimoloau (Ohio State), Tobias Merriweather (Notre Dame) and Conerly (Oregon) all chose to leave the home state for college.

In many of those cases, Washington posed very little threat.

New coach Kalen DeBoer might have the chops to turn things around, but it’s going to take a major effort.

Winner: Oregon offensive line coach Adrian Klemm

When I asked folks about Oregon’s new coaching staff several coaches were mentioned as potential impact recruiters.

But few, if any, drew more praise than Adrian Klemm, who can not only flat-out recruit, but is also a keen developer of talent.

“Klemm could be a game-changer,” was a common sentiment shared by those who knew him from his time at UCLA and beyond.

The first feather in his cap is a big one: Conerly to Oregon.