Oregon Ducks Recruiting Update – January 10th

When Coach Willie Taggart took over as Head Coach of the Oregon Ducks on December 7th, he knew that he only had 55 days until National Signing Day.

Taggart said yesterday at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, “The way I look at it, not too long ago Oregon was in this game before. You know that you can get there. I know some of the guys know what it takes to get there. But for whatever reason it got off, and we’ve got to get it back.”

What it’s going to take to “get it back” is bringing in talent that can get you there.

There were a lot of deficiencies to the Oregon football team this last season that led to a 4-8 season, but none more glaring than a lack of defensive talent. In the college game, the way to remedy that is recruiting, the lifeblood of college football.

There are only 21 days until National Signing Day and things are heating up on the recruiting front. Oregon has made some major headway and have some very talented players headed to Eugene. From now until signing day I will be bringing you names to watch, who’s committed, and some key dates.

Top Commits as of January 10th (According to 247 Sports):

  • 4-Star Cornerback Thomas Graham – Rancho Cucamonga (CA) – 5’11”, 175 lbs.

Graham is the 61st ranked talent, nationwide. He fits a major position of need and should find himself on the field very early in Eugene. He has the length and speed to be a very good cornerback at the college level. He is one of the most recent commits (Dec. 16th) but is already on campus as an early enrollee. Those extra snaps, meetings, and comradery with his new team will almost certainly help him be on the field as a true freshman.

  • 4-Star Cornerback Jaylon Redd – Rancho Cucamonga (CA) – 5’9”, 180 lbs.

Redd is a teammate of Grahams that has been committed to play in Eugene since September. Redd, Graham and Deommodore Lenoir (more on him to come) make up a trio of high school friends that could all find themselves as teammates in college, a dream the three have had since an unofficial visit as sophomores. Redd is an extremely gifted cornerback with really good hips and instincts.

  • 3-Star Defensive Tackle Rutger Reitmaier – Lipscomb Academy (TN) – 6’3”, 270 lbs.

Reitmaier was one of the early commits to this class, committing back in June. He has stayed solid even with the change in coaching staff. Reitmaier played in the Army All-American Game and was praised for his motor in practice and his play in the game. He was named to the All-State team in Tennessee.

  • 3-Star Defensive Tackle Popo Aumavae – St. Mary’s (CA) – 6’4”, 315 lbs.

Aumavae, like Reitmaier, committed to the old coaching staff but remains solidly committed as we get closer to signing day. Aumavae brings exactly what is needed to play the Nose Tackle position in Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt’s 3-4 scheme. Aumavae is agile for a kid his size and can be disruptive in both the run and pass game.

  • 3-Star Inside Linebacker Sampson Niu – Madison (CA) – 6’1”, 217 lbs.

When Taggart was hired, Niu was one of the most vocal commits, saying that he was solidly committed to playing for the Ducks. One of the biggest weaknesses for the Ducks’ defense last year was the inside linebacker position. Injuries and underperformance made that a big hole in the defense. Niu looks to add some depth and toughness to the position. Niu was also an Army All-American and was able to showcase his talents with the nation’s best.

Already on Campus in Eugene:

  • 3-Star Defensive Tackle Jordon Scott – Pinellas Park (FL) – 6’1”, 345 lbs.

Scott was somewhat of a surprising commit when the news broke on Christmas Day, which is also Scott’s birthday. He quickly committed, signed his papers and packed his bags to head West. Oregon has long been criticized for not having the “beef” or size that a lot of defenses have. Scott brings some major beef to that defensive line.

  • 3-Star Kicker Adam Stack – Kamehameha (HI) – 6’2”, 175 lbs.

Stack was in attendance for Coach Taggart’s first team meeting with the whole team on Saturday and will be ready to play Spring Ball. Stack is ranked as the 11th kicking recruit in the country. Stack represented to West Squad in the Army All-American Game. His senior year of high school he booted 47 touchbacks. He claims to be comfortable from 60-yards on field goals and should give Oregon a special teams anchor in the years to come.

  • 4-Star Cornerback Thomas Graham – Rancho Cucamonga (CA) – 5’11”, 175 lbs.

See above. The kid is a stud. He’s the 8th best cornerback in the nation!

Names to Watch:

  • 4-Star Tight End Josh Falo – Inderkum (CA) – 6’5”, 235 lbs.

Falo is the 4th ranked tight end in the nation. After losing two major tight end commitments in the past month, Oregon really needs to bring in a tight end in this class. Falo would be a game changer for the 2017 recruiting class. He will be visiting Eugene on his official visit on January 28th and then will be committing on January 30th. Adding Falo would be a key victory for Coach Taggart and staff. 247’s Crystal Ball has Falo as a 60% lean towards committing to Oregon.

  • 4-Star Quarterback Braxton Burmeister – La Jolla (CA) – 6’, 196 lbs.

This is one of the strangest recruiting sagas in the nation right now. Burmeister has been a solid Arizona commit since May, however there has been some drama the past weekend. Burmeister plans on enrolling early in college, but will it be Arizona or Oregon? If you want to read the timeline of events check out this great post by the Arizona Daily Star. Burmeister would be a huge get to bolster the quarterback depth and competition in Eugene.

  • 4-Star Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir – Salesian (CA) – 5’10”, 191 lbs.

The 96th ranked recruit in the nation was once an Oregon commit. Not just a run-of-the-mill commit, but one that was actively recruiting his friends across the country. Lenoir was praised for his play in the Army All-American game where he made plays as a cornerback and returned kicks. Lenoir would make it three 4-star cornerbacks in this class. Not many other teams can add that much depth at such an important position. Lenoir will commit closer to signing day and would be a huge coup for the Ducks.

Key Dates:

  • January 11th – Dead Period ends. Coaches will then be able to visit recruits in their homes, as well as phone and electronic communications.
  • February 1st – National Signing Day.

There is no surprise that most of these guys that are headed to Eugene are defensive players; that is something that is crucial for the Ducks if they want to turn things around.

The energy and excitement surrounding the Ducks football program is almost palpable, all thanks to the infusion of swagger by Taggart and the rest of the coaching staff being put together. This will be a fun three weeks leading up to National Signing Day. Stay tuned, there are sure to be twists and turns to come.

About Garrett Thornton 64 Articles
Garrett has been a Senior Writer for Oregon Sports News for 4 years. In that time Garrett has primarily covered the Portland Trail Blazers. He has also started his series "Breaking Vegas with Garrett Thornton", picking NFL games against the spread. Along with his coverage of the Blazers and NFL, Garrett covers Oregon Ducks football. 

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