BEAVERTON, ORE. — More than 150 of the best high school football players from around the nation are in Oregon this week for The Opening, Nike’s signature recruiting showcase. It’s a new scene for almost all of them, but not for Elijah Molden.
"It doesn’t feel any different than what it does when I come out with my family," Molden said in an interview. "I’ve been out here 1,000 times."
That’s because Molden hails from West Linn, less than an hour’s drive from Nike’s campus in Beaverton. His dad works as a trainer for the apparel giant, and Molden’s become comfortable with both the brand and its flagship school.
Ranked as one of the top 25 cornerbacks in the 2017 class, Molden settled a week ago on an exclusively Pac-12 top-four list: Oregon, Stanford, Washington and USC. Molden said he’s angling to take three or four official visits in total -- he’s only got four schools left at this point -- but the only one certain to get a visit is Oregon.
The Ducks have a special place in Molden’s heart, for reasons both new and old.
"Oregon, I think, for me, it’s where my dad played. My best friend’s committed there," he said. "It’s close to home."
Molden’s father, Alex, was a 1995 All-American for the Ducks, spending four years in Eugene and grabbing 11 interceptions. His friend Alex Forsythe, a three-star offensive tackle at West Linn, committed to Mark Helfrich’s program in June.
Molden said he’s particularly comfortable with Nike, and he’s interested in studying communications or sports management in college. Nike’s got plenty of jobs in those fields, and Oregon’s got programs in both.