Mark Helfrich may have just found a worthy successor to Marcus Mariota. Photo Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Waller and PJ Locke Bolster Oregon’s 2015 Recruiting Class

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A week after reeling in a huge commitment from 4-star WR Alex Ofodile, Oregon started off July with a bang by adding two more key pieces to its 2015 recruiting class.

4-star QB Travis Waller and 3-star safety PJ Locke pledged their services to the Ducks on Tuesday, bringing the team’s total number of commitments for the 2015 class up to 11.

Though many analysts and fans expected both Waller and Locke to choose Oregon, the lack of surprise didn’t diminish the lack of excitement of landing both players.

Waller’s commitment is of huge importance, considering the dearth of proven depth behind current star signal-caller Marcus Mariota, who is all but guaranteed to leave school for the NFL at the conclusion of the 2014 season. It’s especially significant since the Ducks lost the races to land prominent quarterback recruits such as Brady White (committed to Arizona State), Blake Barnett (committed to Alabama) and Kyler Murray (committed to Texas A&M).

The 6’3’’, 190-pound dual-threat playmaker from Servite High School in Anaheim, California has the natural athleticism and versatile skill-set to flourish in the Ducks’ spread scheme, as well as the maturity to compete for a starting job early in his collegiate career. As a junior, Waller displayed an intriguing combination of passing ability and running skills, as he threw for over 1,600 yards, ran for over 1,200 yards and accounted for 25 total touchdowns.

If he sticks to his commitment and ultimately signs with the Ducks, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic dual-threat QB fares in a competition to become Mariota’s replacement with Morgan Mahalak, a 4-star rated incoming freshman, and Jeff Lockie, a redshirt sophomore who is expected to be team’s main backup this fall.

Locke, on the other hand, becomes the latest prospect to keep Oregon’s pipeline to Texas—the team has signed 13 players from the Lone Star state in the last five years—alive and well.

The 5’10’’, 189-pound safety from Central High School in Beaumont, Texas may not be the biggest defensive back in the 2015 class. But the athletic and aggressive safety doesn’t let his lack of height stop him from making big plays on a consistent basis.

In an interview with Rivals, Locke said, “What stood out about Oregon was that I thought they were the best team that could showcase my abilities and the value that I bring to the game. They have a great computer science program and the facilities are great. I fell in love with the facilities as soon as I got there. I knew it was Oregon as soon as I set foot on campus. It felt like it was home.”

Following the additions of Waller and Locke, Oregon’s 2015 class is now slowly but surely beginning to take shape. Headlined by athletic playmakers like Waller, Ofodile and standout 4-star RB Taj Griffin, it’s obvious that Mark Helfrich isn’t drastically changing the formula that helped his mentor Chip Kelly elevate the program to national power status.

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Tags: College Football College Football Recruiting College Football Recruiting 2015 Featured Oregon Ducks Football Pac-12 Football PJ Locke Popular Travis Waller

  • Trevor Westerdahl

    I’m sure I am not alone in wondering where all the defensive line recruits happen to be for Oregon.
    Where are they?
    I read somewhere that Helfrich is, well I’ll say it: less micro-managing when it comes to reviewing recruits (compared to Chip who was heavily involved) such that each assistant coach now has more freedom and can go after prospects, independently, earlier… so long as they follow “the system”. That rumor or statement I read seems to be true and working out great – offensively.
    Now, I don’t really know; I am guessing, but it does seem to indicate that, maybe, the defensive linebackers coach(s) are not as inclined to be recruiters? I briefly scanned through the various scouting sites and “crystal balls” and Oregon doesn’t seem to be on the radar of the uncommitted recruits out there. I didn’t even see a lot offers from Oregon to d-line recruits. Now, I scanned briefly, and I may suck doing that. I am just stating my impression.
    After the last couple of seasons, one would think that recruiting big, talented, defensive linebackers would be a HUGE priority for Oregon. I would really love an informed update on the D-line for Oregon. I would love more to hear actual sought after recruits committing. I am worried that Oregon may be soft on recruiting for the d-line (may just be my misinformed perception). I know Oregon’s coaches are GREAT including the D-line, but some coaches really don’t like recruiting, or just aren’t good at it. Hopefully, some experts can chime in with some updates??? Maybe??