The Oregon Ducks suffered a big loss on Tuesday when head coach Chip Kelly bolted Eugene to take the Philadelphia Eagles job and there may be a toll on the recruiting trail, as one of the top-rated commits in the class, DeSoto (TX) running back Dontre Wilson, will visit Ohio St. and may visit several other schools, including Clemson and Notre Dame, though that linked report has not yet been confirmed.
Kelly's potential move to the NFL has been a looming specter for some time, but Wilson had been sending out conflicting messages regarding how it would impact his recruitment. The consensus four-star running back told SportsDayHS recently at the Under Armour game that if Kelly left "it would be back to square one."
That statement conflicts with others that he has made in the past:
Oregon ATH commit Dontre Wilson told me in Orlando that if Chip Kelly left he would stay because Helfrich would get promoted to HC. #Ducks— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) January 16, 2013
Dontre Wilson told me this on 11/19: "I think nothing is really going to change at Oregon if Chip Kelly leaves." es.pn/TyfvK8— Max Olson (@max_olson) January 16, 2013
Of course, as with all things in recruiting, the proof is in the actions, and it appears as if Wilson could open up his recruitment with the reported visit and interest in taking more.
Along with the schools already mentioned, don't count out Texas, either, as Longhorn coaches were in the Dallas area on Wednesday and went by DeSoto.
The Longhorns were one of the finalists, along with Oregon and Ohio St., when the 5-10, 165-pound all-purpose back committed to the Ducks back in May at his spring game. it seems as if the Buckeyes have been the team coming after him hard, despite the longtime commitment to Oregon, so Urban Meyer and his staff may be the team to beat if Wilson doesn't opt to stick with his pledge to the Ducks.
The major caveat? The continuity that could be generated if the Oregon administration opts to promote offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to head coach, as expected, could help keep Wilson in the fold.
In any case, Wilson's recruitment will be an interesting one to watch in the coming days.