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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

National Recruiting Report | Oregon Gives the Pac-12 Some Hope

May 10, 2019

Thing haven’t been great for the Pac-12 lately in many areas, especially when it comes to football.

The College Football Playoff has been in existence for only five seasons and they have only been represented in two of those years (Oregon in 2014 and Washington in 2016), the least out of any of the Power 5 conferences.

USC is down, Stanford has dipped, and UCLA is in full rebuild mode. Washington under Chris Petersen has been the only consistently strong program for the conference in the last three years, but they haven’t been able to pull off a signature win against an out of conference opponent. They lost their last three bowl games to Alabama (in the CFP), Penn State, and Ohio State.

Most of their current hopes for the conference’s national relevance relies on Washington taking that next step as a program, but they do have one other glimmer of hope with the potential to make a splash nationally.

The Oregon Ducks under Mario Cristobal represent that for the Pac-12 and it’s primarily because of the way he has recruited.

Last cycle they finished with a top-10 class highlighted by the top edge rusher in the country, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and a strong showing in California. They signed five of the top-17 prospects from the state with USC as the only other program to land more than one.

This cycle they are set up to pull together another top-10 class, which is remarkable when thinking of the lack of elite talent the state produces in most years. They have seven commitments in their class right now, five of them 4-stars, and none of them from Oregon. Out of the 26 they signed in December and February, only one came from in-state.

Cristobal already had 4-star safety Avantae Williams‍ in the fold (Florida) and in the last couple of weeks the Ducks earned pledges from 4-star corner Luke Hill‍ (Maryland) and 4-star safety Myles Slusher‍ (Oklahoma). I have Slusher ranked as 31st player overall in the ISD Fab 50 and he’s my top rated safety in the country for 2020.

They might have just lost out on quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei‍ to Clemson, but they’re the favorite to land linebacker Noah Sewell‍ (29th in the Fab 50) and with USC and UCLA not lighting the world on fire, they could end up with the strongest group of prospects out of California for the second year in a row.

Chip Kelly took the program to great heights, but he didn’t recruit like Cristobal has. It’s yet to be determined if Cristobal can coach and develop as well as Kelly did, but if he does, then Oregon is going to have enough talent on the roster to be a national contender.

The Pac-12 could sure use one of those right about now.

On to other stray thoughts on national recruiting…

- It’s getting out of hand with Clemson with not just D.J. Uiagalelei‍ (2nd in the Fab 50) coming on board, but running back Demarkcus Bowman‍ committing as well. That’s now seven of my top-50 they have committed and it’s only May.

I don’t think it’s too early to suggest they could sign the most talented recruiting class that anyone has signed in the last decade. That’s saying something considering the run Alabama has put together during that time.

- Alabama isn’t keeping pace with Clemson, but they just flipped one of my favorite prospects in this entire class when Drew Sanders‍ changed his commitment from Oklahoma to the Crimson Tide. I have Sanders ranked as a 5-star prospect (9th in the Fab 50) and see him as a Leighton Vander Esch type at inside linebacker with the potential to be an outstanding pass rusher as well.

- It’s really Clemson, Alabama, and LSU that have separated themselves from everyone else so far this recruiting cycle. LSU picked up recent commitments from wide receiver Rakim Jarrett‍ (22nd in the Fab 50) and 4-star linebacker Antoine Sampah‍.

Typically the heart of their recruiting comes from Louisiana, but only three of the fourteen commits they have are close to home. Jarrett and Sampah are from the DMV area and I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that they have done well attracting studs like cornerback Elias Ricks‍ and wide receiver Jermaine Burton‍ from California.

- Georgia might be a tier below those programs this cycle (at least at the moment), but they did pick up another huge commitment in 4-star linebacker Mekhail Sherman‍. He just missed out on making the Fab 50 and they have cornerback Jalen Kimber‍ (46th) and offensive tackle Broderick Jones‍  (44th).

- I know no Notre Dame fan is rooting for Mike Elko at Texas A&M so I don’t think you’ll like the fact that they added 4-star edge defender Fadil Diggs‍ (New Jersey) to their class. He’s a top-10 defensive end in this class in my opinion. Cornerback Jaylon Jones‍, who committed to them back in February, is a top-10 cornerback in this cycle as well.

- It would be wrong not to mention what Notre Dame is doing right now adding two players I have rated as top-100 recruits in defensive tackle Rylie Mills‍ and offensive tackle Tosh Baker‍. That makes five in my top-100 ( Jordan Botelho, Jordan Johnson‍, and Michael Mayer‍ are the others).

In the 2019 class I had them finishing with only three in the top-100 (Kyle Hamilton, Jacob Lacey, and Quinn Carroll).

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