Granted, many of Oregon’s 2013 recruits became interested in the program before he took over, but new head coach Mark Helfrich has still played a large role in what ESPN is calling the 26th best recruiting class in the country. Here’s what Helfrich said about each recruit during Wednesday’s National Signing Day press conference.
Devon Allen, WR, 6’1″, 187 lbs., Phoenix, AZ (Brophy Prep)
What scouts have said: Rivals listed Allen as a four-star prospect near the end of the recruiting process, and Scout also tabbed him as the 16th-best receiver in the country. He snagged 43 receptions for 749 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior season and earned Division I South All-Section III first-team honors in his final year. Allen is also expected to contribute to Oregon’s track team after breaking two state records while claiming the 2012 Arizona state titles in the 110 meter and 300 meter hurdles.
What Helfrich said: “He’s a really dynamic guy. Hopefully he’ll help TrackTown USA, as well as FootballTown USA. He’s a world-class hurdler, especially high hurdler. (Track coach) Robert Johnson is very excited about him as well. Great kid from a great family.”
Kani Benoit, RB, 6’0″, 200 lbs., Phoenix, AZ (Phoenix Thunderbird HS)
What scouts have said: The two-star Rivals recruit averaged 7.9 yards per carry his final season, averaging 188.3 yards per game. His efforts earned him a spot on the 2012 All-Arizona Football Team, where he tallied six 200-yard efforts in 12 games.
What Helfrich said: “Just under eight yards per carry — he’s a guy we always kept our eye on throughout this recruiting process. Solid kid, really humble, but competitive, hungry. Very productive, an elusive tackler, a heavy runner — he runs through a lot of arm tackles.”
Doug Brenner, OL, 6’3″, 279 lbs., Portland, OR (Jesuit HS)
What scouts have said: The first freshman varsity starter in Jesuit history, Brenner earned a three-star rating from Rivals as the sixth-best prospect in the state of Oregon. Throughout his prep career, he’s played fullback, center and along the defensive line. He’s not the first Duck in his family nest — sister Liz excels in volleyball, basketball, track and field and softball for Oregon athletics.
What Helfrich said: “Obviously Liz, we’re gonna try to recruit her. What will that be her seventh, eighth sport at Oregon? We know his family a little bit more than some of these other ones. Just a solid kid. A guy you’d want to hang out with. We anticipate him being a center or guard. A very vocal guard, it seems like he’d be a charismatic leader at guard.”
Darren Carrington, WR, 6’2″, 186 lbs., San Diego, CA (Horizon HS)
What scouts have said: A four-year letterman, Carrington earned four stars from Rivals and ESPN and was selected the 37th-best receiver in the country by Scout.com. As a senior, he led his team with 51 receptions for 902 yards and 12 touchdowns.
What Helfrich said: “His dad played predominantly for the Chargers for eight years in the NFL, so he’s from a good pedigree. Kind of under-recruited, then just hammered here for some reason. He committed to us last summer after camp. His best football’s ahead of him; natural hands.”
Elijah George, OL, 6’5″, 250 lbs., Las Vegas, NV (Arbor View HS)
What scouts have said: George is used to being thrust into high-pressure situations. As a prep freshman, he was pushed into varsity after only four months of organized football experience. He’s Arbor View’s first Division I football signee, as well as the fourth best prospect in Nevada.
What Helfrich said: “Kind of in the mold of a Jake Fisher-esque or Tyler Johnstone-type — taller, kind of lean kid. He’s a physical kid. This is a guy who’s probably 6-foot-5, 255 and can run a sub-5.0 flat 40-yard dash.”
Damion Hobbs, QB, 6’2″, 195 lbs., Cedar Hill, TX (Cedar Hill HS)
What scouts have said: Hobbs passed for nearly 2,800 yards with 29 touchdowns last season, adding 808 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground as a legitimate dual-threat. He displayed his leadership skills by leading the Longhorns to the Texas class 5A Division 2 state championship game.
What Helfrich said: “He committed somewhere else due to a previous relationship, (but he’s) a guy we had always been in contact with. Can really throw it, can really run it. A great student, a great leader.”
Cameron Hunt, OL, 6’4″, 265 lbs., Corona, CA (Centennial HS)
What scouts have said: Another four-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals, Hunt led an offensive line that blocked for two 1,000 yards rushers during his senior year. On their way to averaging 49 points per game, his Huskies also broke their own state record by amassing 8,560 total yards in last season alone.
What Helfrich said: “Fantastic offensive lineman. He’s just a road-grader, fast, physical, very polished player that’s still going to get even better and better as he grows up into his frame. Just a great kid from a great family.”
Danny Mattingly, LB, 6’5″, 222 lbs., Spokane, WA (Mead HS)
What scouts have said: Many expect this four-star recruit (ESPN, Rivals) to contribute immediately. He played both linebacker and tight end as a senior, catching 25 passes for 365 yards and six touchdowns last year and recording 117 tackles, six sacks and four interceptions.
What Helfrich said: “Another versatile, big outside backer/tight end body type. Broken record — a great kid from a great family. On our little world tour, we walked out of his house, they have this huge acreage outside of Spokane. There’s snow on the ground, it’s about eight degrees, we’re trying not to fall on the ice, and we thought, ‘How about this guy?’ Off the charts.’”
John Mundt, TE, 6’4″, 232 lbs., Modesto, CA (Central Catholic HS)
What scouts have said: Under head coach Roger Canepa, Mundt led his Raiders to the IV state championship as a senior. He’s a two-time first-team MaxPreps Division IV all-state tight end — a mouthful, yes, but what’s even more impressive is his senior statline: 33 catches, 625 yards, eight touchdowns, and 80 tackles and 15.5 sacks as a starting linebacker.
What Helfrich said: “His family’s in the nut business. I learned a ton about the nut business, which is fascinating. (laughs) This kid, just a versatile body type. He’s a stud. Very excited about getting him with (tight ends and special teams coach Tom) Osborne and seeing how he develops.”
Jake Pisarcik, OL, 6’2″, 290 lbs., Medford, NJ (Shawnee HS)
What scouts have said: The son of former NFL quarterback Joe, this three-star ESPN prospect switched to the offensive line as a senior after three years at tight end.
What Helfrich said: “He just fell in love with the culture and talked to Jake (Fisher) about that. He grew a ton from his junior year to his senior year, and his film was fabulous. We loved him — we did our due diligence, offered him a scholarship and he committed. And then the other wolves came in and got after him a little bit, but he’s a guy who stayed strong through it all and will probably end up being a guard for us here as we start out.”
Torrodney Prevot, LB, 6’3″, 214 lbs., Houston, TX (Alief Taylor HS)
What scouts have said: He has been described as an “athletic standout who is extremely quick off the line of scrimmage and has thrived as a standout pass rusher.” He’s a four-star athlete listed as seventh best in his position by Rivals250. His best game came in a 28-7 win over Cy-Fair: 10 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble, a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown. Again, that’s one game.
What Helfrich said: “He’s kind of in the role of Dion Jordan. Great tackler, great finisher, forced fumbles, lot of havoc. That’s our kind of guy, electric on the field and off. Great smile, great character. His uncle and his mom had one of the best home visits of all-time. It was on, it was fun. They cared a ton for that kid. He had a bunch of people in one corner, a bunch of people in the other, but he didn’t make (his decision) until today. (We) just tried to show the solidarity, show the future, show the vision. We showed him his road map, and we’re very happy he’s chosen to take it.”
Tyree Robinson, ATH, 6’4″, 200 lbs., San Diego, CA (Lincoln HS)
What scouts have said: The slightly smaller of the Robinson twins, Tyree was ranked as the No. 6 athlete in the country by 247sports.com. He played defensive back, wide receiver, quarterback and averaged 30.3 points per game for Lincoln basketball.
What Helfrich said: “Just a very dynamic athlete. He could play a ton of places. Our philosophy in that is if they’re a multi-position guy, we’re just going to kind of let them pick first. And usually what the guys pick is what they’re going to have the most success at initially, and if something changes down the road, we’ll talk about that, make them think it’s their idea. (laughs) Tyree just flourished at whatever he did.
Tyrell Robinson, ATH, 6’4″, 201 lbs., San Diego, CA (Lincoln HS)
What scouts have said: Tyrell matched his brother’s athletic production right down to the 30.3 points per game on the hard court. While both are four stars, Tyrell played on the line while Tyree played in the secondary. In the trenches, Tyrell racked up 111 tackles, 12.5 sacks, two picks and seven recovered fumbles.
What Helfrich said: “Just a little bit bigger version of the same. Second, maybe third-level athlete in terms of from the line of scrimmage. They’re just two dynamic guys, and we’ll sort out where they’re playing.”
Chris Seisay, DB, 6’2″, 177 lbs., American Canyon, CA (American Canyon HS)
What scouts have said: A complete athlete, the three-star Seisay punted, covered, received and carried during his senior season. As team MVP, Seisay was also named Vallejo Times Herald Defensive Player of the Year.
What Helfrich said: “A long-striding skinnier guy with huge upside. We liked his development capability as an athlete, and he’s from a very good team as well. (His talent) was all over the map.”
Thomas Tyner, RB, 5’11″, 201 lbs., Aloha, OR (Aloha HS)
What scouts have said: The accolades kept rolling in for the Oregon native: First-team Parade and USA Today All-American ranked 12th among all players by Scout.com and the nation’s No. 2 back according to Sports Illustrated. He’s the Ducks’ only five star this year as a two-time 6A OSAA state offensive player of the year. His senior year saw him break the single-season state record with 3,415 yards and 43 rushing touchdowns.
What Helfrich said: “Obviously well publicized; off the charts; world-class speed to help our track team as well. He’s the total package — physical, fast, really good hands. We’re just excited to get him involved. He just wants to compete. (On Tyner’s five-star status:) We try to bring him back to reality. Great kid to talk to. He’s been involved at a lot of high levels, in terms of competition.”
Evan Voeller, OL, 6’5″, 278 lbs., West Linn, OR (West Linn HS)
What scouts have said: Another Oregon native, Voeller earned four stars from ESPN, Rivals and Scout as the No. 9 guard in the country. He was only the second Oregon athlete to be chosen to participate in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game.
What Helfrich said: “A guy that got a ton better as his career went. He got maybe a little bit bigger than he wanted to, then grew into his body and started playing urgently and physically. He’ll be a guard initially, and he’ll get in the weight room, get bigger, faster, stronger.”
Joe Walker, LB, 6’2″, 225 lbs., So., Wilmington, CA (LA Harbor Community College/Palos Verdes HS)
What scouts have said: Walker recovered from injury to post 102 tackles in his only season at his California junior college, and it was enough to earn him Scout’s top JuCo linebacker in the country honors.
What Helfrich said: “He’s a kid that’s already here. We had a workout this morning, and a lot of the transfer from junior college come in and they’re not in great shape, and it’s kind of a tribute to him and his program that he came in in fantastic shape. He did a great job being vocal, which is not always the case with newcomers. He knows he has a chance to play, obviously losing (graduated) linebackers Kiko (Alonso), Michael (Clay) and Dion (Jordan). There’s some slots to be filled.”
Juwaan Williams, ATH, 6’1″, 181 lbs., Tucker, GA (Tucker HS)
What scouts have said: The three-star Williams may have trouble finding his role because of his prodigious talent — he’s excelled at safety, wide receiver, quarterback and cornerback over his high school career. He’s also the Ducks’ first Georgia recruit in more than a half decade.
What Helfrich said: “What am I going to say? Great kid, unbelievable family. We’re sitting there talking with the whole family, he starts talking for about a half hour about all the reasons he should come to Oregon. I’m just nodding, and then his mom starts crying, and I think, ‘This is either going to go really well or really poorly.’ At the end of this soliloquy, he says, ‘And I’m going to commit to Oregon.’ And his mom, I think, was simultaneously proud and a little sad her boy was going all the way across the country. Sort of a Josh Huff-type.”
Matt Wogan, PK/P, 6’2″, 195 lbs., Indian Trail, NC (Porter Ridge HS)
What scouts have said: Chris Sailer Kicking Academy lists Wogan as its No. 2 prep kicker in the country. Wogan has also been tabbed as a USA Today and Parade first-team All-American.
What Helfrich said: “In our camps last summer, he impressed us as a kicker and a kid. His parents are really excited for him to come out here. He was captain of his football, and I think that says a lot about him as a guy … On film, he’s done it. He’s a touchback machine. The defense loves that, fans love that, I love that. (Still,) you have to do it with the lights on, and the noise, and trust your training and do it. You couldn’t just a better guy. He’s an athlete who’s a kicker.