Oregon Ducks

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Oregon hires former Chip Kelly and Baylor assistant

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Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal is bringing back a former Oregon staffer to serve as the program’s player personnel director. As first reported by Scoop Duck, and subsequently reported by The Athletic, Oregon will hire Thomas Arends to serve as the player personnel director.

Arends is a former Oregon staffer, having filled the role of director of recruiting operations and high school relations under former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Prior to his return to Eugene, Oregon, Arends was the associate director of player personnel at Baylor.

Arends joined the Baylor program in 2017 after two years at Oregon under former head coach Mark Helfrich. Arends worked at Oregon under Kelly from 2009 through 2012 as a student assistant working on recruiting and working his way up on the staff upon graduation from Oregon.

It is fair to have some slight question marks about hiring anybody attached to recruiting efforts from the Chip Kelly era given how Kelly’s run with the Ducks came to an end with mild sanctions related to recruiting, but Arends is a native Oregonian who graduated from Oregon. Having someone that connected to the university and surrounding community certainly is a nice asset to have in the program whenever possible.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Mizzou lands second Oregon grad transfer in as many days

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Thursday, Oregon graduate transfer Khalil Oliver tweeted that he decided to spend his final season of college football at Missouri.  A day later, one of Oliver’s former teammates has followed suit.

Alex Ofodile confirmed to Rivals.com Friday that he has decided to transfer from Oregon to Mizzou as well.  Like Oliver, Ofodile, who played his high school football in the state of Missouri, will be a grad transfer and can play for the Tigers in 2018.  Unlike his teammate, however, he will have two years of eligibility remaining,

According to the wide receiver, the coaching change in Eugene helped fuel the move to Columbia.

“I think it’s just perfect timing,” Ofodile told PowerMizzou.com. “I felt like with Oregon going through so many changes coaching staff-wise over the years, I just kind of felt like I gave my all to them, but it’s kind of time to end my career coming back home.”

A four-star member of the Ducks’ 2015 recruiting class, Ofodile was rated as the No. 12 receiver in the country; the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Missouri; and the No. 120 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only three signees in UO’s class that year were rated higher than Ofodile.

Despite that lofty recruiting pedigree, Ofodile finished the UO portion of his career with just four catches for 31 yards.  Three of those receptions and 23 of the yards came this past season.

Oregon transfer Khalil Oliver tweets move to Mizzou

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A little over four months after leaving Oregon, Khalil Oliver has found himself a new college football home.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday, Oliver announced that he will “be continuing my playing career and furthering my education at the University of Missouri.” The defensive back made his decision after taking a visit to Mizzou’s campus this past weekend.

As he’s coming to the Tigers as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2018.  He’s also hoping that he’ll get a medical hardship waiver for the 2017 season that would give him another year of eligibility he can use in 2019.

Oliver played in 26 games during his time with the Ducks, and was named as the team’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player for the 2016 season. He started the opener this past season, his first career start, but didn’t play the remainder of the year because of an injury sustained in that game vs. Southern Utah.

That injury situation lends credence to the safety getting a waiver for another year of eligibility.

Just two (of 347) four-star 2018 recruits didn’t put pen to FBS paper during signing periods

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National Signing Days (plural) 2018 may have run its course, but the Herbie Hancocking of National Letters of Intent hasn’t quite ended yet for some.

Entering Wednesday, four of 247Sports.com‘s 29 five-star 2018 recruits were unsigned; suffice to say, all four of those exited having signed with various Power Five programs.  That same recruiting service listed a whopping 347 prospects as four-star recruits.  With the second signing day in the books, just two of those didn’t sign with FBS teams — Denton (TX) wide receiver Gabriel Douglas and Detroit (MI) center Tyrone Sampson Jr.

Douglas, rated as the No. 51 receiver and No. 312 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board, had been committed to Texas Tech since October of 2016.  However, the day before Signing Day, Gabriel decided against signing with the Red Raiders and instead plans to attend a Mississippi junior college.

The No. 7 center in the country and No. 346 recruit overall, Sampson had reportedly zeroed in on Arizona State, Mississippi State and Nebraska as likely destinations.  Sampson’s high school coach, however, told the Detroit News that a couple of new schools, including Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia, had entered the picture recently and prompted the player to hold off on signing.

“It’s a case where he had a couple of schools come in real late so he won’t be able to visit until after the dead period, maybe next week,” East English Coach Rod Oden told the News.

In addition to Sampson and Douglas, six other recruits, all three-star prospects, listed in the Top 600 of 247Sports.com‘s composite board went unsigned by FBS programs for various reasons as well.

  • No. 415: Salt Lake City (Utah) outside linebacker Salua Masina — No. 25 at his position, No. 7 in his state
  • No. 521: Ramsey (NJ) strongside defensive end Marcellus Earlington — No. 23 at his position, No. 11 in his state
  • No. 533: Harrisburg (PA) athlete Shaquon Anderson-Butts — No. 39 at his position, No. 16 in his state
  • No. 547: Tampa (FL) athlete Jermaine Eskridge — No. 40 at his position, No. 85 in his state
  • No. 568: Murfreesboro (TN) defensive tackle D’Andre Litaker — No. 43 at his position, No. 17 in his state
  • No. 580: Philadelphia (PA) safety Isheem Young — No. 38 at his position, No. 19 in his state

Of that group, Eskridge, who had Ohio State and Oregon among others chasing him, and Anderson-Butts, a one-time Penn State commitopted for the JUCO route and are expected to sign with an FBS program during the 2019 cycle.  Litaker, meanwhile, decommitted from Tennessee in the days leading up to signing day and will now consider such schools as Miami and Oklahoma as well as a couple of SEC programs.  The defensive lineman, whose mother passed away in 2016, is also recovering from a second torn ACL he suffered last September.

And Young?  In early December, he was arrested in connection with the armed robbery of a Wawa convenience store in South Philadelphia this past summer.  At the time of his arrest, Young, who was a Penn State commit, was rated as the No. 12 safety in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Pennsylvania; and the No. 151 player overall.  He went from a four-star to three-star recruit because of the off-field issues.