October 2, 2012
Top Trio: cornerback
After opening conference play with two wins, the Oregon football team returns to Autzen for a contest against the Washington Huskies. With the ramping up of the schedule, Duck coaches will also be turning up their recruiting efforts as well.
With the heart of football approaching and more prospective student athletes visiting campuses around the nation, talk about the top recruits is also sure to pick up steam.
Today we continue our weekly series intended to rank some of the most talked about players on Oregon's recruiting board. During each week of the season we will look at a different position and the "Top Trio" at the position. The main factors for choosing which players we discuss will be need, buzz and interest; but not necessarily in that order.
Any and all opinions of these articles are purely that of Duck Sports Authority and do not reflect the opinions or thoughts of the Oregon coaching staff
The next position we will discuss is one that always stands out. Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti loves to use pressure to create havoc, but the pressure leaves one position all alone on an island; cornerbacks. Without good corners, the Duck defense cannot create the havoc they thrive on. Currently, the Ducks are very young at the cornerback position with no cornerbacks set to graduate for at least two more years. The Duck coaches can be a little pickier when looking to fill a position where the need is less. That is the case with corner backs as the Rivals database currently shows just one offer at the position. There are a few other intriguing prospects who may be worth a look to the Duck coaches if their top target chooses to go elsewhere.
|1||Will Likely||CB||5'7"/172/4.6||Belle Glade, FL|
|WHO: Will Likely is the 17th ranked corner back in the nation and the 194th overall prospect by Rivals.com. The 26th ranked player in the state of Florida, Likely has very good speed and field vision. Likely impressed just about everywhere he went during the summer camp circuit. While he is small, he can definitely cover.|
SAY WHAT: "He had at least two pass breakups against bigger receivers and showed good ability to elevate. If he were a few inches taller, he'd be in the discussion as one of the most complete in the country. "-Mike Farrell at The Opening
Likely does not yet have any favorites, but has thought about what he wants to see in the school he chooses. "Just feeling comfortable, seeing what kind of environment, seeing where I fit at the school and then how the players are, seeing what they're like," Likely said.
WHERE: At the moment Likely has not named a leader. Most of the schools he is interested in are East Coast schools. One West coast school has received some reciprocal interest from Likely and that school is Stanford. At this point, the Ducks are a long shot for a visit let alone a commitment from Likely. But he is at least willing to consider a West coast school.
|2||Tatum Taylor||CB||5'10"/168/4.21||Seattle, WA|
|WHO: Taylor is rated as the 49th best cornerback prospect in the nation and the fifth best player in the state of Washington. While Taylor is thin, he is gifted with blazing elite speed. He has expressed interest in playing football and running track at the next level.|
SAY WHAT: In January, Taylor had an early leader telling Rivals.com "Oregon right now would probably be my favorite, I know it's a place where I can play football and run track. I like how everything looks at Oregon right now."
Though Oregon has yet to offer Taylor, they are still high on his list as he is interested in both sports still.
WHERE: Though listed as a cornerback in the Rivals database, Taylor is a versatile player who is also being recruited by some to play wide receiver. At the moment, he has expressed no single leader, but has said his top three schools, in no particular order, would be ASU, Cal and Oregon. The Sun Devils have not offered, but he has scheduled an official visit to Arizona State. With an offer, ASU may jump into the lead, but an offer from the Ducks could change everything for Taylor.
|Charles Okonkwo||CB||6'1"/180/4.5||Fontana, CA|
|WHO: Okonkwo is a three star prospect with no national rankings. A prospect with intriguing play making ability at the corner, Okonkwo also has the kind of size that can make him versatile in the defensive backfield.|
SAY WHAT: Okonkwo excels in the classroom and maintains a 3.6 GPA. "I'm looking for great academics which is top priority for me," says Okonkwo, who also says that he just as capable of locking down receivers as he is locking down his academics.
"Yes, my style is a true lock down corner and I think I play like Asante Samuels (Atlanta Falcons)," he adds.
WHERE: There was some speculation that Okonkwo had committed to San Diego State in early August. "Yes, I was down there (SDSU) yesterday with a couple of teammates, but I did not commit there ," confirmed Okonkwo. San Diego State is one of his two early leaders along with Boise State. He has expressed some interest in Oregon but early guesses are that, barring an Oregon offer, Okonkwo is likely to end up at San Diego State.
There you have it, the top trio defensive backs. The Ducks have a real legitimate chance with Taylor if Likely chooses somewhere other than Oregon.
Okonkwo is an intriguing prospect because he has the kind of size that makes him a versatile defender. He has good ball skills, but still needs work on technique. He is the kind of prospect that could be worth a chance as the Ducks are deep at cornerback and do not need a player to step in right away in 2013.
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