Duck coach has a good feeling
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Oregon has promises from 26 prep football players and has eyes on others
He doesn't want to get too excited yet, but Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti feels the 2004 recruiting class could be one of the Ducks' best ever.
'It's gone good,' says Bellotti, who cannot comment on specific players until the Ducks receive letters of intent Wednesday. 'We feel good about this class and the quality of it.'
The Ducks have 26 known verbal commitments from players Ñ all high school players Ñ and could possibly sign even more on Wednesday.
Still supposedly undecided are three or four premium players the Ducks have been chasing, including Kyle Williams, a linebacker from Illinois, and Cameron Colvin, a receiver from prep powerhouse De La Salle High in Concord, Calif.
Williams has been linked to Iowa, and Colvin has been recruited heavily by USC, but the Ducks have not given up on them. Working in the Ducks' favor on Colvin: Oregon has received verbals from three of his De La Salle teammates.
Oregon has received verbals from four players since Friday: Kwame Agyeman, a safety from Roselle, Ill.; TR Smith of Portland's Jefferson High, who will play running back at UO; defensive tackle Ra'Shon Harris of Pittsburg, Calif.; and Thor Pili, a defensive end from Orem, Utah. The Ducks wooed Smith away from Oregon State.
Bellotti says the Ducks want to stockpile offensive and defensive linemen. Oregon will likely sign seven offensive linemen, including highly regarded Aaron Klovas of Spanaway, Wash.
'In fact, this year was one in which we couldn't take all the offensive linemen who wanted to come,' he says.
The Ducks will come up short of their goal of six or seven defensive linemen. But they will get the state's best prep linemen in David Faaeteete of Medford and Cole Linehan of Banks.
The Ducks have done well with defensive backs, including the De La Salle trio of Jackie Bates, Willie Glasper and Terrance Kelly, although Kelly could play linebacker. And they will supposedly get the breakaway running back they wanted in Terrell Jackson of Corona, Calif.
Bellotti made it a point to pursue high school players, and 'about half of these freshmen have a chance to make an immediate impact.' The Ducks have played as many as 10 true freshmen in the past, and as few as one; six played last year.
As far as junior college players, 'we looked at a couple, and we either didn't get them and they went elsewhere, or our high school athletes would be as good in a year,' Bellotti says. 'We feel like we're solid enough.'
The coach also says Oregon's state-of-the-art, $3.2 million locker room made 'the greatest impression (on recruits) of anything we've done' with facilities.