Often times recruits sign their letter of intents and try to be in reasonable shape when they show up on their respective campus.
Oregon only signed one offensive lineman in the last recruiting cycle. That particular lineman may have more motivation than perhaps any other recruit in the nation.
Saddleback junior college (Calif.) four-star signee Kyle Long carries with him a recognizable name. It's no secret he is the son of former NFL hall of fame defensive end Howie Long. Howie was one of the most athletic players of his generation and worked hard to be the best. It would appear he has passed along some of those quality traits to his youngest son, Kyle.
"People think my dad plays a big role in my life," Long said. "But the truth is, he is even more of an influence and support system in my life than anyone will ever know. He always knows the right words for me, he always knows what I need at the right time. It's priceless to have that kind of support system in place."
In fact, Howie has bought into the Chip Kelly mantra and reminds Kyle of it often.
"Well I will usually wake up to a text from him that says 'Win the Day' on my phone," he said. "It's good motivation for me and I take it to heart every day."
Most people that have seen Kyle believe it's possible he has even more athletic upside than his father. Which is certainly no subtle compliment for anyone.
Long has been working out with Athlete's Performance three days per week with a trainer. He just happens to be working out with the same trainer, Roy Holmes that prepared LaMichael James for the NFL draft. He trains five days per week at the complex but only three days are with a trainer.
"I've really just tried to eliminate any outside distractions possible. I deleted my twitter account and my facebook page just to minimize the distractions. I'm trying to get into busy mode and keep working hard. I've gained weight and I've gotten faster and stronger. I'm just real excited about where I'm at and to get up to Eugene and keep working."
Last week, he noticed someone working out at Athlete's Performance with some Oregon gear on. However Long had not met this person before. Turns out, they were teammates.
"He had a mohawk and some Oregon gear on. So I went over and started talking to him and asked if he played for the team. It was Kenjon Barner working out and getting ready for his big season. He was a really nice guy and we talked for a bit."
As noted previously, Long only has one year of college eligibility remaining. Which is ultimately his biggest motivator of all. For most, one year at the BCS level is a chance to play big-time college football. For Long it could perhaps be a huge opportunity for an NFL audition.
"A lot of people haven't ever seen me play football," Long said. "Coaches and people came by to see me at Saddleback, but this is different. But nothing is going to be handed to me. Coming in I want to work as hard as I can and play for a spot. Hopefully it all works out and I can earn that spot at Oregon this season."
No new decision has been given on his appeal for an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA.
It has been and will continue to be my opinion, Kyle Long is the most likely Oregon signee to see the field this year for the Ducks.