Looking Ahead: 2017 CB
With the Oregon football having already secured two known commitments in their push for the class of 2017 recruiting cycle, Duck Sports Authority takes a look further ahead to the recruiting needs for 2017. As we alternate between defensive positions and offensive positions, we begin with the defensive side of the ball today.
Specifically, today we will look at the cornerback position and the needs for the Ducks in 2017.
2016 Departures: None
The Ducks are extremely young, as was evident this past season with the number of young players who saw significant action in the defensive backfield. The cornerback with most seniority heading into 2016 is Chris Seisay who will be entering his redshirt junior season. Ty Griffin will also be entering his redshirt junior season, but lacked experience in the defensive backfield when he switched positions prior to the start of last season. Beyond that, the rest of those players listed at corner will be underclassmen.
2016 Commitments: None
This is a well-documented position which was not addressed during this recruiting cycle. The Ducks attempted to address the position, but were rebuffed by elite recruits for varied reasons. Regardless of reason, the Ducks took a shot with Nigel Knott, Jared Mayden and passed on several others who may have provided some depth.Of note, one 2015 recruit who was originally thought to be an offensive player, Malik Lovette, has been switched to cornerback and could be a factor in the depth chart this season.
Springs looked to improve dramatically from the beginning of the season to the end. So much so that he was probably the second best cornerback on the team. The best form last year, Tyree Robinson, may or may not be a corner again in 2016 – that will depend heavily on team needs and the development of other defensive backs. Robinson is very similar in some ways to what Justin Wilcox was as a Duck, a good corner in zone coverages who can make plays, but lacks recovery speed in single coverage on deeper balls. Amadi struggled mightily, especially early in the season, being needed in a much more expanded rol;e than originally anticipated due to an injury to Seisay. Seisay is the most experienced having played well in a reserve role as a freshman. He seemed to play much better after he returned from injury.
McGraw, Lovette, Stewart and Griffin are unknown quantities at this point, but should be able to really develop with the players in front of them. Should one of them progress even faster, so much the better for a team desperate for a true shut down corner.
A difficult field to project. Oregon will have a limited number of scholarships available heading into the 2017 recruiting class. With a projected ‘perfectly balanced’ number of 8 corner backs for the team, the coaches will be looking for at least one for the 2017 class, but do not be surprised to see the team take 2 or maybe 3, depending on many factors. Most important among those factors will be attrition, whether that be through transfer or position switch.
The other factor that could make this a tough position to predict is the need to separate classes somewhat. Having signed no one projected to play corner for the 2016 class, the Ducks will need to ensure that they do not run into a wall by having too many corner backs in the same class. If they were to consider more than two, it would appear to be only if there were one who would be able to come in and play right away in 2017.2014
Cornerback Class Size Projections: 2
2017 Potential Prospects
Who are some of the early prospects for the class of 2017? Let's look at just a few of the players that have received an offer from the Ducks. There are currently just two offers to players listed at the cornerback position in this article, so we will first look at those players with an Oregon offer.
Elijah Molden has to be priority number one for the Duck defensive staff. He is an elite prospect ranked as a Rivals 250 player for 2017. He is one of the top in-state prospects for the class of 2017. Oh, and the four-star prospect also happens to be the son of former Duck and NFL standout Alex Molden. At a position of need, Molden is a top priority for Oregon. He has outstanding grades and has been offered by Stanford. In this day and age, there is no such thing as a lock and the Oregon staff has made sure to let Molden know just how important he is to the program.
William Poole III is the other early offer for the Ducks. This one will be immensely more difficult to pull than Molden. The five star prospect, ranked as the No. 14 overall player in the nation for the class of 2017, has already named a top 5 which does not include the Ducks. With nearby Georgia and their new head coach Kirby Smart leading the way, we do not expect Poole to leave the South.
Are there other prospects who might also be interested? Always.
One player to keep an eye on should the Ducks decide to make some offers soon? Jaytlin Askew. Askew is a four-star prospect from Powder Springs, Georgia. Hailing from the high school which produced current Ducks Taj and Ty Griffin, the Ducks are definitely on the mind of the No. 26 defensive back from the class of 2017. With the inability to nab any corners in 2016, the Ducks could turn their attention back to Georgia for another standout.
While Darnay Holmes is rated one spot ahead of Poole, he does not appear to be on the Ducks radar at the moment. The California standout is open to many schools, but does not report having heard much from Oregon at this point.
There are some others who list an interest in Oregon, but seem to have excluded the Ducks from their top five and six schools. Expect Oregon to take a deeper look at some less heralded prospects as they look for additional corner back prospects. It would not be entirely surprising to see the Ducks look to the junior college ranks to fill a void should there not be more than one commit from the high school class.