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January 16, 2013Just a short ten days ago, Chip Kelly spurned offers from both the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles to become an NFL head coach. Shortly after this decision, Kelly was back on the road recruiting full tilt.
Today, though, news broke that Kelly had reversed field and would be the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. While the Oregon athletic department conducts their nationwide search, a recruiting class hangs in the balance. National Letter of Intent day, the first day that recruits can officially sign their letters of intent is just three weeks away and already the Ducks have seen a couple of recruits comment about the status of their recruitment with the Chip Kelly news.
Tyrell and Tyree Robinson, two of the more coveted recruits in the Ducks recruiting class have already announced that they are reopening their recruitment and will consider USC and Notre Dame as options. USC, currently serving NCAA sanctions which limit the number of recruits they can sign, may not have room to sign both of the Robinson twins. In order to do so, they would likely have to rescind offers to other highly touted recruits. They may, in fact, do so as the Robinsons are also highly thought of as basketball players and the USC basketball team could sure use a couple of "free" players.
Chris Seisay has announced that his commitment is more tied to Nick Aliotti and John Neal the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach respectively. Seisay says that as long as those two remain with Oregon, his commitment is firm.
And therein lay the issue, most recruits do not build the relationship with a head coach. The head coach is not allowed the same number of contacts as his assistants so many prospective student athletes develop strong ties to assistant coaches.
The ability of the Oregon staff to keep this recruiting class together is going to depend largely on which assistant coaches the Oregon football team retains and which coaches choose to follow Chip to the NFL.
Two of the most important recruits in this class are running backs Thomas Tyner and Dontre Wilson. It is believed that both have a very strong relationship with running backs coach Gary Campbell. Tyner, a five star running back from in-state Aloha High School, is not likely to change his commitment at this point in time. He was on record three weeks ago as stating he would stay with his Oregon commitment regardless of whether Chip Kelly stayed at Oregon or left for the NFL.
Dontre Wilson, on the other hand, a four-star prospect from Texas, has seen the in-state Texas Longhorns make a late push to sway Wilson to switch his commitment.
Recruits have mentioned that Kelly has been straightforward with them. Nico Falah, a highly regarded offensive lineman currently committed to USC, has said that Kelly told him a coach currently on staff would be promoted to head coach were he (Kelly) to leave.
Duck Sports Authority is working to contact recruits and gauge where each individual athlete stands with this shocking development. With just three weeks until signing day, the Ducks have traditionally always made a late push to garner highly regarded classes. This year will be more difficult as the Duck coaching staff works hard to save a recruiting class caught off guard.
Stay tuned to Duck Sports Authority as we continue our coverage of Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL and its impact on the recruiting class of 2013.