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Ducks go north for 2 key recruits

Bellotti puts priority on new receivers, defensive backs

Quarterback Johnny DuRocher of Bethel High in Spanaway, Wash., remains the University of Oregon's top football recruit. He reportedly will graduate early and report to spring practice in March.

Schools can sign prep recruits starting Wednesday, and both the 6-4, 205-pound DuRocher and 6-0, 196-pound receiver Jordan Carey of Capital High in Olympia, are expected to sign with the Ducks. Carey also plans to take part in spring practice.

'The guy's outstanding,' DuRocher says of Carey in an interview with the Seattle Times. 'He's legit.'

Carey had 2,700 all-purpose yards and 27 touchdowns last season, including eight catches for 129 yards and two TDs in the Class 4A title game. The Times named him its metro-area player of the year. He played eight positions.

'I'm looking forward to playing one position and concentrating on becoming the best wide receiver I can be,' Carey says.

As of Thursday, the Ducks had verbal commitments from at least 20 players, including quarterbacks DuRocher and Brady Leaf of Great Falls, Mont., four receivers, three defensive backs Ñ and no running backs.

The Ducks thought they had Milvon James, a running back/defensive back from California, but he backed out. Oregon wanted running back Maurice Drew of Concord, Calif., and Lynell Hamilton of Stockton, Calif., but Drew probably will sign with UCLA and Hamilton with San Diego State. Another back, JC transfer J.J. Arrington, appears headed for Cal.

'There's some 1-star guys still out there who want to sign with Oregon,' says Larry Thompson, who keeps close tabs on recruiting and is the publisher of educk Magazine. 'A lot of decisions now won't be made until the signing day.'

USC got three top running backs from the West Ñ Reggie Bush, Lendale White and Chauncey Washington Ñ as well as receiver Steve Smith. 'USC is getting everybody they want,' Thompson says.

Another player the Ducks hoped to sign, Florida defensive back Ryan Gilliam, appears solid with Florida State.

Coach Mike Bellotti wanted to strengthen the Ducks at defensive back and receiver in recruiting. Oregon has commitments from three receivers ÑÊMarcus Maxwell (Diablo Valley JC, Pleasant Hill, Calif., 6-3, 205) and preps Brian Paysinger (Long Beach, Calif., 6-3, 190) and Garren Strong (Cupertino, Calif., 6-3, 190). Another prep receiver, Genoa Dill of Compton, Calif., told the The Rivals recruiting network that he is leaning toward Oregon.

NOTES: The top defensive recruit could be Marcus Miller, a linebacker from Cerritos (Calif.) JC, who also visited North Carolina, Marshall and Kansas State. 'I felt the most comfortable (at Oregon),' Miller tells The Rivals, 'and it was the best fit for me. I just felt it in my gut. (The coaches) were real down home and down to earth.' Getting Miller helps, because JC linebacker Ray Tago, who had committed to Oregon, now is leaning toward Cal.

The Ducks also got a commitment from defensive lineman Josh Tauanu'u of football factory Long Beach Poly (Calif.) High, who reportedly has been trying to convince fellow defensive lineman Junior Lemau'u to join the Ducks. Another Polynesian who could add to Oregon's growing list is Pat So'oala, a Hawaiian prep who reportedly has committed. ... The Ducks also will sign Eddie Whitaker (LA Valley JC) to replace tight end George Wrighster, who is jumping to the NFL. ... Bellotti and his fellow coaches have been successful in recruiting only one in-state player, linebacker Dante Rosario from Dayton High, but they have plucked offensive lineman Josh Tschirgi from Vancouver, Wash.