Oregon football recruiting 2014: Ducks' class headlined by 4-star skill players

Jonathan Ferrey

Oregon is on the way to signing a top-20 class, and the Ducks could still add several players to the fold.

The Ducks already have three recruits from their 2014 class on campus, with College of San Mateo guard and JUCO transfer Haniteli Lousi being the highest rated in this group. Lousi, a 4-star recruit on the 247sports composite, is the top player at his position among JUCO players this year, and the 20th best JUCO player overall. He selected the Ducks over five other offers from Colorado, Arizona State, San Jose State, Hawaii, and Kansas.

Oregon's class at a glance
Total commits Five-star prospects Four-star prospects
20 0 7

Update Feb. 5: Oregon beat out Texas A&M for four-star safety Mattrell McGraw.

Interestingly enough, all three early enrollees for the Ducks are JUCO transfers, as Lousi was joined by Pleasant Hill (Ca.) Diablo Valley College defensive end Tui Talia and San Pablo (Ca.) Contra Costa College cornerback Dominique Harrison. Both carry 3-star ratings on the 247sports composite and rank among the top 15 JUCO players at their position.

Oregon is expecting several talented players to sign letters of intent on Signing Day, as well, each of whom is coming in to fill the shoes of a departed Duck. We'll begin with the headliner of the class -- the 5'11, 215 pound Royce Freeman. Famed speedster De'Anthony Thomas was lost as an early entry to the NFL draft, but Freeman could be perfectly positioned to replace him right away -- the southern California native carries a 4-star rating on the 247sports composite and is the 6th ranked running back in the 2014 class, as well as the 37th ranked player overall. Although he had offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, and Stanford, Freeman decided on Eugene, instead, which makes him a huge get for Mark Helfrich and crew.

SB Nation's Oregon blog Addicted to Quack shared their thoughts on Freeman when he originally committed:

Freeman is the kind of bigger back that Oregon has been known to covet for some time and a player who can make an instant impact given his size and powerful running style. Comparisons to former Ducks Jonathan Stewart and LeGarrette Blount are apt.

With Freeman coming in for DeAnthony Thomas, the Ducks also have recruited a wide receiver who could replace the recently graduated Josh Huff, as well. Phoenix (Az.) Mountain Pointe wideout Jalen Brown is Oregon's third highest rated commitment in this class, and is considered a top 15 player at his position this season. A four-star player himself, Brown is rated 107th overall on the 247sports composite. He chose Oregon out of 21 reported offers, including ones from Ohio State, Michigan, UCLA, and Tennessee.

Finally, there is Arrion Springs, a 4-star cornerback from San Antonio (Tx.) Roosevelt, stepping in just as starter Terrance Mitchell takes off for the NFL. The 9th rated player at corner and the 88th overall recruit in the 2014 class, Springs will be counted on to anchor the Duck secondary for years to come, because Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be graduating after this season as well.

SB Nation Recruiting Analyst Wescott Eberts had this to say about Springs:

Some defensive back coaches prefer big, strong, physical safeties. For those who prefer more scheme versatility, players like Springs become top targets. Capable of running the alley in run support and manning up on the best receivers from other teams, the San Antonio product as the overall speed to play cornerback in college, though his technique, particularly his footwork, needs some refinement.

At least one of the Springs, Freeman, and Brown trio figures to see playing time next year, but the Ducks have a wealth of talent migrating to Eugene, and should finish with yet another top-25 class.

There is plenty of room for this class to get better -- the Ducks are in the running for several recruits who are expected to announce their intentions on National Signing Day. The highest-ranked among them is five-star athlete John "JuJu" Smith, who is also considering USC, Notre Dame and UCLA. He'll make his choice on ESPNU at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. Four-star athlete Budda Baker is another big name still available; he is considering Washington and UCLA, in addition to the Ducks.

Elsewhere, three-star safety Mattrell McGraw is expected to choose between Oregon and Texas A&M. Three-star defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao is expected to pick either Oregon, LSU or UCLA.

More from SB Nation college football:

28 National Signing Day predictions

CFB players forming a union: Why this just might work

Grading this year’s 20 FBS coaching hires

National Signing Day FAQ for casual recruiting fans

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Long CFB reads | The death of a college football player

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