Mattrell Mcgraw, Royce Freeman highlight National Signing Day for Oregon football

Louisiana safety recruit Martell McGraw talks to ESPN's Rece Davis shortly after committing to Oregon. (Video screenshot from ESPN.com)

Louisiana safety recruit Martell McGraw talks to ESPN's Rece Davis shortly after committing to Oregon. (Video screenshot from ESPN.com)

Posted by Justin Wise on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 12:12 pm.

His options were down to Texas A&M and Oregon, and Mattrell McGraw was still undecided up until today’s National Signing Day. But earlier today, the No. 13 safety, according to ESPN Recruiting, from River Ridge, La. announced on Wednesday that he will attend Oregon and play for the Ducks during his college career.

McGraw said Texas A&M was only about five hours away from his home, but he decided traveling wasn’t too big of an issue when he weighed the pros and cons between both schools.

“I realized they have airplanes and my family can come to the games if they want,” McGraw said in an interview with ESPNU. “That definitely helped out the distance factor out a lot.”

McGraw is one of five signings that are in ESPN’s top 300 recruits and highlights the signing day for Mark Helfrich and his staff. With a packed crowd of four-star recruits committing to Oregon, the Ducks have signed sixteen players today. The recruits include a core of offensive and defensive lineman.

From the offensive line position, Tyrell Crosby (Henderson, Nev.) and Braden Eggert (Napa, Calif.) signed their letters of intent. Both are three-star recruits. On the defensive line, Jalen Jelks (Phoenix, Ariz.), Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif), and Henry Mondeaux are coming to Oregon as well. 

With De’Anthony Thomas’s departure, a void is left at running back that is believed by Oregon’s coaching staff to be filled by Royce Freeman. The four-star running back from Imperial, Calif., offers a a physical style of running that the Ducks have not seen since LeGarrette Blount left in 2011.

Other offensive skill players, running back Tony James (Gainesville, Fla.) and quarterback Morgan Mahalak (Marin, Calif.), also signed with Oregon today. Charles Nelson, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound athlete from Daytona Beach, Fla., signed with Oregon as well without a position yet slated.

The Ducks also added three defensive backs outside of McGraw. Another safety, Glen Ihenacho (Gardena, Calif.) signed today and defensive backs Arrion Springs (San Antonio, Texas) and Khalil Oliver (Meridian, Idaho) will most likely fill the void that Terrance Mitchell leaves with his departure to the NFL Draft.

Linebackers Justin Hollins (Arlington, Texas) and Jimmy Swain ( Olathe, Kan.) add to the linebackers’ depth. Elsewhere, on the special teams side, long snapper Tanner Carew (La Verne, Calif.) signed with the Ducks.

Oregon received four letters of intent prior to signing day, three of them being from junior college transfers. The lone high school player who signed early was Jalen Brown, a four-star recruit from Phoenix, Ariz. Brown, who is already on campus, will make up for the absence of Josh Huff next season.

The three junior college transfers include cornerback Dominique Harrison (Tracy, Calif.), offensive lineman Haniteli Louisi (Freemont, Calif.), and defensive lineman Tui Talia (Concord, Calif.).

The Ducks recruiting class has nine players who were high school All-Americans, and the recruiting class could receive a tremendous addition with five-star recruit Juju Smith announcing his decision at 1 p.m.

Update: Smith committed to USC.

Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25