Oregon Ducks recruiting: Analysis of what they have, and what they need

Wednesday is National Signing Day

On Wednesday, Oregon will have a third different head coach in the past three years deliver a football recruiting class to the Ducks, as Mario Cristobal hopes to make an impact on National Signing Day.

In 2016, former head coach Mark Helfrich’s final recruiting class at Oregon ranked 27th nationally, and former head coach Willie Taggart delivered a class ranked No. 19 last year.

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This year, the recruiting cycle is a bit different, with the early signing period taking place in December, when Oregon signed 15 recruits.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Ducks have an additional seven recruits, including Sprague tight end/defensive end Teagan Quitoriano, verbally committed to sign Wednesday. (Story continues below)

VIDEO: A look at the Ducks' 2018 recruiting class

Oregon’s 2018 class ranks No. 14 nationally and third in the Pac-12 Conference, but that is expected to fluctuate in the coming days as teams continue to add commitments.

Here is a breakdown of Oregon’s depth chart, as well as a look at the 2018 recruits who have already signed and those who are committed to sign:

Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports)

QUARTERBACKS

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — 1. Justin Herbert, Jr.; 2. Braxton Burmeister, So.; 3. Demetri Burch, RFr.; 4. Mike Irwin, RFr.

2018 signees — 1. Tyler Shough (Chandler, Arizona), four-star, 6-4, 187.

2018 unsigned commitments — None.

Position analysis — With Justin Herbert back for his junior season, there is no question who the starting quarterback is for the Ducks. Depth was a big problem last season once Herbert went down with a fractured collarbone, as Oregon relied on true freshman Braxton Burmeister, who struggled to run the offense. The Ducks are bringing in four-star talent Tyler Shough to help with competition and create depth behind Herbert. Oregon would benefit from bringing in another recruit or transfer to help as well, but that could be difficult considering Herbert is the established starter.

RUNNING BACKS

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — 1. Tony Brooks-James, Sr.; 2. Darrian Felix, So.; 3. CJ Verdell, RFr.; 4. Cyrus Habibi-Likio, RFr.

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2018 signees — 1. Jamal Elliott (Durham, N.C.), four-star, 5-10, 180; 2. Travis Dye (Norco, California), three-star, 5-9, 170.

2018 unsigned commitments — None.

Position analysis — Suddenly, the Ducks aren’t nearly as experienced at running back as they have been in the past. Oregon loses Royce Freeman and Kani Benoit, both seniors last season who rushed for 2,059 yards combined. The top returning back is Tony Brooks-James, who rushed for 498 yards last season. Of the returners, Darrian Felix had the second-most production last season, rushing for 182 yards. This is still a talented group, but just lacks the experience that Oregon has enjoyed in recent seasons.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — 1. Dillon Mitchell, Jr.; 2. Taj Griffin, Sr.; 3. Johnny Johnson III, So.; 4. Daewood Davis, RFr.; 5. Jaylon Redd, So.; 6. Brenden Schooler, Jr.; 7. Malik Lovette, Jr.; 8. Darrian McNeal, So.; 9. Kyle Buckner; 10. Alfonso Cobb, So.; 11. Noah Holmes, RFr.

2018 signees — None.

2018 unsigned commitments — 1. Jalen Hall (Long Beach, California), four-star, 6-4, 192; 2. Isaah Crocker (Sacramento, California), four-star, 6-1, 175.

Position analysis — Last season, after senior Darren Carrington was dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons, and senior Charles Nelson was injured, the Ducks were thin at the receiver position. Moving Brenden Schooler from safety to receiver helped, and having former running back Taj Griffin as part of the group also will help. Oregon returns its leading receiver from last season, Dillon Mitchell, but there are plenty of opportunities for the younger players to step up, like sophomores Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Darrian McNeal, as well as redshirt freshman Daewood Davis. The Ducks currently have two committed receivers in this year’s class, and they should help with depth and competition. Oregon has young talent, but not a ton of established experience.

TIGHT ENDS

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — 1. Jacob Breeland, Jr.; 2. Cam McCormick, So.; 3. Ryan Bay, Jr.; 4. Matt Mariota, Jr.

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2018 signees — None.

2018 unsigned commitments — 1. Spencer Webb (Sacramento, California), four-star, 6-5, 235; 2. Teagan Quitoriano (Sprague High School), three-star, 6-7, 250.

Position analysis — Jacob Breeland established himself as a solid receiving tight end last season, as he led the team with five touchdown catches. As a freshman last season, Cam McCormick showed that he can contribute as a backup tight end, as he caught six passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. He will continue to grow into the role. Beyond that, Ryan Bay and Matt Mariota haven’t done much in the program. This year’s recruiting class currently includes two tight ends, including Teagan Quitoriano from Sprague. The position is thin, so the Ducks need to keep tight ends a focus moving forward in recruiting.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — Left tackle: 1. Brady Aiello, Jr.; 2. George Moore, Jr.; Left guard: 1. Shane Lemieux, Jr.; 2. Sam Poutasi, So.; Center: 1. Jake Hanson, Jr.; 2. Alex Forsyth, RFr.; 3. Ryan Walk, RFr.; Right guard: 1. Jacob Capra, So.; 2. Charlie Landgraf, Jr.; 3. Cody Shear, RFr.; Right tackle: 1. Calvin Throckmorton, Jr.; 2. Logan Bathke, So.

2018 signees — 1. Dawson Jaramillo (Lake Oswego High School), four-star, 6-5, 295; 2. Steven Jones (Temecula, California), four-star, 6-5, 340; 3. Christopher Randazzo (Chino, California), three-star, 6-7, 325.

2018 unsigned commitments — 1. Justin Johnson (Philadelphia), three-star, 6-7, 355.

Position analysis — Oregon has a ton of experience on the offensive line, with a talented group of juniors who have played together for multiple seasons. One big departure will be Tyrell Crosby, who was named the top offensive lineman in the Pac-12 last season. But this already is a veteran group, so while Crosby will be missed, the line should be strong this season. This year’s class includes four offensive lineman recruits, and this likely will be a season for them to watch, learn and grow for the future.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — Defensive tackle: 1. Jordon Scott, So.; 2. Gary Baker, Jr.; 3. Popo Aumavae, RFr.; Defensive end: 1. Jalen Jelks, Sr.; 2. Austin Faoliu, So.; 3. Malik Young, Sr.; 4. Drayton Carlberg, Jr.; 5. Hunter Kampmoyer, So.

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2018 signees — 1. Andrew Faoliu (Santa Ana, California), three-star, 6-3, 255; 2. Sione Vea Kava (Monterey Park, California), three-star, 6-6, 270.

2018 unsigned commitments — None.

Position analysis — The Ducks return Jalen Jelks, who led all Oregon defensive linemen with 59 tackles, and he led the team with 15 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. As a freshman, Jordon Scott made an impact with 34 tackles and two sacks. During the past three seasons, with three different defensive coordinators, Oregon transitioned from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3, then back to a 3-4. This has had a major impact on personnel among the front-seven players. But have another year with Jim Leavitt running the defense will help solidify this group.

Oregon Ducks linebacker Troy Dye (Photo: Scott Olmos, USA TODAY Sports)

LINEBACKERS

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — Inside linebackers: 1. Troy Dye, Jr.; 2. Kaulana Apelu, Sr.; 3. Sampson Niu, So.; 4. Blake Rugraff, Jr.; 5. Isaac Slade-Matautia, RFr.; Outside linebackers: 1. Justin Hollins, Sr.; 2. La’Mar Winston Jr., Jr.; 3. Gus Cumberlander, Jr.; 4. Fotu Leiato II, Sr.; 5. Bryson Young, Jr.; 6. Pou Peleti-Gore, Sr.; 7. Keith Simms, So.

2018 signees — 1. Adrian Jackson (Denver, Colorado), four-star, 6-2, 210; 2. MJ Cunningham (Madison High School), three-star, 6-3, 230.

2018 unsigned commitments — 1. Eli’jah Winston (Central Catholic High School), four-star, 6-3, 232; 2. Andrew Johnson (Tifton, Georgia), three-star, 6-2, 222.

Position analysis — Troy Dye returns as not only Oregon’s best linebacker, but one of the top linebackers in the Pac-12 after a team-high 107 tackles last season. Oregon also returns Justin Hollins and La’Mar Winston, who both ranked in the top six on the team in tackles last season. This is group has experience and talent. This year’s recruiting class so far has four linebackers, including two four-star talents.

SECONDARY

Depth chart (projected by GoDucks.com) — Cornerback: 1. Deommodore Lenoir, So.; 2. Thomas Graham Jr., So.; 3. Dexter Myers, So.; 4. Charles Sudduth, So.; 5. Jihree Stewart, Jr.; Safety: 1. Ugochukwu Amadi, Sr.; 2. Brady Breeze, So.; 3. Nick Pickett, So.; 4. Mattrell McGraw, Sr.; 5. Billy Gibson, So.; 6. Sean Killpatrick, Jr.

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2018 signees — 1. Steve Stephens (Fresno, California), four-star, 6-0, 185; 2. Jevon Holland (Oakland, California), four-star, 6-1, 182; 3. Verone McKinley III (Carrollton, Texas), three-star, 5-10, 170; 4. Haki Woods (Tucson, Arizona), three-star, 6-3, 192.

2018 unsigned commitments — None.

Position analysis — Oregon’s secondary has been a focus the past two years, and a ton of talented young players have been brought into the program. Thomas Graham Jr. had a remarkable freshman season, with 62 tackles, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. The Ducks are bringing in another group of four recruits, including a pair of four-star talents. They have enough players and enough talent. The key again will be determining everybody’s role and putting them in the best position to help the team win.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker — 1. Adam Stack, So.; 2. Zach Emerson, RSo.

Punter — 1. Adam Stack, So.; 2. Blake Maimone, Jr.; 3. Alec Hallman, RFr.

Long snapper — 1. Hunter Kampmoyer, So.

Holder — 1. Blake Maimone, Jr.; 2. Justin Herbert, Jr.

Kickoff returner — 1. Tony Brooks-James, Sr.; 2. Taj Griffin, Sr.

Punt returner — 1. Dillon Mitchell, Jr.; 2. Jaylon Redd, So.

2018 signees — 1. Karsten Battles (San Antonio, Texas), two-star long snapper, 6-1, 240.

2018 unsigned commitments — None.

Special teams analysis — The Ducks lose kicker Aidan Schneider to graduation. Last season’s punter, Adam Stack, will compete with Zach Emerson for the kicking duties. If Stack wins the job, then Blake Maimone likely will move into the punter’s role. It also is possible that Stack will be both the starting kicker and punter, but that is not ideal. The Ducks also lose longtime long snapper Tanner Carew to graduation. They have one long snapper recruit in this season’s class — two-star talent Karsten Battles.