Almost two months ago, Chip Kelly left the Oregon Ducks for the “greener pastures” of the NFL. Oregon then promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich as the successor to Chip in 2013. Helfrich was the offensive coordinator for Oregon since 2009 and their quarterbacks coach too.
On March 12th, 2013, the Ducks received their first verbal commitment from the Class of 2014. That verbal came from outside linebacker Jordan Hoiem. He is ranked 145th nationally among 2014 high school recruits by 247Sports.
Due to the departure of Chip Kelly, what should the Ducks’ plan be for the Class of 2014?
Tim: Despite the regime change, Oregon has built a reputation over the last decade. Coach Helfrich will most likely try to sell the “old Oregon” until he can establish his own reputation. While Chip Kelly is gone, the flashy uniforms, fast-paced offense, and Nike “partnership” all remain, and are big selling points to young recruits. If Helfrich can produce on the field in 2013, recruiting will take care of itself.
Joe: The Ducks just need to do more of the same and keep on recruiting the way Chip Kelly did at Oregon. Mark Helfrich does a lot of the stuff Chip did, and Oregon’s ability to be a solid top 25 recruiting team won’t change and neither will Oregon’s ability to find underrated talent that others pass over. The Ducks are cautious to offer, and they don’t overstep. They just to try and get the prospects with the most stars to commit. Their strategy is interesting, but they are more eager to offer prospects and key in on top prospects with Helfrich under the helm. Still, they are keeping with the “Don’t offer unless we are sure” strategy in many respects, and that’s something I’ve heard from a recruit who has received interest from Oregon. I was told the Ducks have significant interest in him, but that they have a careful list of who they will offer at the position and gave him a ranking on the rating list.
Oregon has always pursued a different recruiting strategy, but the finding of top targets and the commitment of Hoiem (a top target of theirs) show that Helfrich is more eager to offer than Kelly was. With the way recruiting is these days (more aggressive), I am in favor of that decision. As far as keying in on certain positions go, the Ducks just need to keep doing what they are doing. In my opinion, though, the offensive line, front seven, safety, and WR are positions the Ducks need to look closely at. Based on what they are doing thus far in the 2014 recruiting period, it looks like the Ducks are after receivers, safeties, tackles, OLBs, and DEs. Those are their top needs, and getting their first commitment in the class from an OLB who is a 247Sports top 150 overall prospect is definitely a good first step for the Ducks.
Ricky: Chip Kelly’s departure for the NFL will not hurt Oregon’s recruiting for the Class of 2014, but it will change things. Mark Helfrich is not a completely new coach for the Ducks because he was the OC for the past three years. Because of this, do not expect the offensive side of recruiting to be any different. Why change something that is not broken? Defensively, things might change in small ways depending on what Helfrich wants to do.
In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised if recruits wait to commit to Oregon until they see the team play a game or two this upcoming season.
Michael: With Chip Kelly having left the Ducks for the City of Brotherly Love and a different flock, the Oregon things will surely be somewhat different despite the fact the offense may largely remain the same. Helfrich served as the offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly from 2009-2012 and while Kelly handled the play calling Helfrich was instrumental in the game planning and scripting of plays prior to gamedays. Under Helfrich’s watch as offensive coordinator during the Kelly era, the Ducks averaged 44.7 points per game with an average of 283.4 rushing yards and an average of 500.7 yards of total offense.
Hoeim’s commitment is a big one for the Ducks as Oregon could take up to three linebackers in this class so starting off strong was important so they could build momentum on the trail. In their 2013 recruiting class the Ducks did not pick up any commitments from players on the interior of the defense, inside linebackers or defensive tackles. Since Hoeim will play as an outside linebacker upon his arrival at Oregon it would not surprise me if we were to see Mark Helfrich aggressively target those positions in the 2014 Ducks recruiting class.
The Fansided 150 staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with analysts Michael Bohlin, Joe Soriano, and Tim Tolley.
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