Oregon has made no secret about their determination to recruit young men that not only fit their style of play, but also exhibit high character traits.
Springs has been a prime example of an Oregon recruit.
Rumblings have come through to DuckTerritory the staff is already thrilled with the class they are close to signing in February. After spending some time around several, it's clear to me this class is not short on character.
Last weekend I spent some extended time around Arrion Springs who committed to Oregon in July. I've been around Springs several times but this was a chance to talk a bit more. Not only is he an exceptional defensive back, and 5-star recruit, he's also a star off the field.
Springs has been one of the key recruiters on several of the Oregon commits. He's been active on twitter and via text message with several notables including Jimmy Swain, Trey Lealaimatafao and others. He took a few official visits but is locked in with Oregon. I was told during the in-home visit his family was so worked up with how excited they were about his future as a Duck, some broke into tears.
Springs reminds me of Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, a lofty comparison with character included.
In talking with Springs he spent the week around Morgan Mahalak and had great things to report about him. I've spoken with Morgan and his father countless times and have seen nothing less than first-rate from them. Like Springs, Mahalak has been very active in this recruiting class and open on twitter.
Mahalak will be a real key for this class with the quarterback depth chart wide open. Often times the quarterback is basically the coach of the team, which makes him a key figure head in the class.
I've gotten to know Budda Baker more in the past few weeks. He was also in San Antonio where I covered the Army All-American game. We've met several times before but this was a chance to interact on more of a routine basis. As most of you saw yesterday, he sent his message to Duck fans in reaction to the De'Anthony Thomas news. I just want to go on record saying that message was un-prompted by myself.
Which means he was so worked up and that excited about Oregon football he wanted Duck fans to know he means business. Baker is all class like those mentioned above and although he's a bit on the quiet side, he still manages to build relationships with those he trusts.
Freeman put his stamp on the Army game scoring 3 touchdowns.
One recruit I've mentioned several times and once again exemplified his class is Royce Freeman. The 5-star commit pledged to Oregon in July and never looked back. Several teams have continued to court him but he's not taking the calls. I've met him and both his parents on several occasions including the Opening, Oregon camp and the Army game.
This is one tight knit family, and the values of the parents have been passed on to Freeman in nearly every category. He's quiet and keeps to himself. You won't see him doing a ton of recruiting, nor is he on twitter. For Freeman, he's about school and football and doing both at a high level.
Tanner Carew was also at the Army game all week. And although my professional relationship with him isn't as long as others mentioned, I was impressed with his keen sense of humor all week. It's a bit of an odd life for special teamers in football but he interacts well with everyone and stays respectful.
Carew may not win the fans over with long TD runs or game-changing interceptions, but think of the last time you yelled at Drew Howell for a bad snap.
Jalen Brown is a bit of an interesting young man. Perhaps he's Oregon's 'silent assasin' if you will. Brown had a tremendous week and game in San Antonio. Frankly not many wide receivers have his type of unspoken demeanor and it's a bit refreshing. Brown isn't socially awkward by any means, he's simply guarded and doesn't care about being everyone's friend to improve his self esteem.
Simply put, Brown might be one of the more polished receivers to enter Oregon out of high school and enrolls early to get his leg up on the competition.
Tyrell Crosby, Tony James and Jimmie Swain are three others I have built good relationships with, but not as good as others. A backstory on Crosby I didn't share early on. He informed me at one point he had a visit set to Florida. This was after his commitment. I asked him about Oregon's thoughts on him taking a trip but he said he hadn't spoke to them about it.
I never reported it but a few days later he spoke to Greatwood regarding it and the two decided he wouldn't visit. Now this isn't a huge story line, but also exemplifies his respect for the process and his allegiance to Oregon. I will warn many of you, think back to when you were 17 or 18 and imagine having elite college coaches calling you offering you free trips to college games. I'd go too.
I've gotten to know Swain much better in the past few weeks. He is incredibly well spoken and seems to have some great leadership qualities within him. The Oregon defense is based around linebacker play, who is often the quarterback of the defense. If Swain is called upon to lead, I have no question he will answer the call.
Obviously I've spoken to Henry Mondeaux, Justin Hollins, Glen Ihenacho, Jalen Jelks, Braden Eggert and the others. None seem to have bad character flaws from my interactions with them. However I haven't spent as much time around them as the others. I certainly feel Oregon has found some quality young men in each and I know they are also a reason why the staff is so excited about how this class has come together.