Quarterback is generally the key position on any football team. It is hard to win without good quarterback play. For the Oregon Ducks and their spread offense, it can be even more critical. When they offer a quarterback, it is only after very careful evaluation to determine fit. The Oregon coaching staff had a good look at Danville, California standout Jeff Lockie at their coaches' camp earlier this month, and made him a scholarship offer the next week.
Duck Sports Authority spoke with the latest Oregon pledge to get some details on his decision.
"I had a conversation with Coach Helfrich yesterday afternoon and I was offered a scholarship," began Lockie. "Later that afternoon I was sitting down with my parents and I called and broke the news to Coach Helfrich and then to Coach Kelly."
Lockie described the Oregon offensive coordinator's reaction. "Coach Helfrich was pretty excited. They've got their two quarterbacks and they are ready to move forward. They were excited to have me and they were looking forward to watching me one more year in high school and then on to Eugene."
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete is the second Class of 2012 commitment at quarterback. In late May, Rocklin, California's Jake Rodrigues added his name to the list of future Ducks. Both new QB's will be coached for the next five years by Coach Mark Helfrich. Lockie gave his thoughts on the Ducks' offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
"Coach Helfrich is a great guy," evaluated Lockie. "I really enjoyed working with him up at the Oregon camp. I liked the way we worked on the field and I'm really excited to be with him. I think that was a big in me choosing the Ducks."
Oregon policy under Chip Kelly is that a player cannot commit until he has been to the campus, and Lockie has seen it twice. "I've been to Eugene before. First time was on Pro Day with Jeff Maehl I went up with him. Then I was just up for a day of camp. As soon as I got to meet the coaches and see more around there I knew it was the place I wanted to be."
Most of the schools recruiting the Monte Vista signal-caller had not yet stepped up to the plate. "My one other offer at the time was San Diego State," answered Lockie. "A lot of schools were showing interest. I could have waited but I didn't really want to. I would say Vanderbilt, Stanford and USC were really pushing but I wasn't going to play the waiting game."
DSA asked the three-star rated athlete how he could fill the dual role of running and passing in the Oregon offense.
"I know my profile is pro-style but I feel I can do a little of both," assessed Lockie. "I think with the film I have you can definitely see that I can run the ball and they definitely think I can do that. I definitely think I can do that. I think the Oregon offense will fit perfectly and I'm really excited to learn it."
California's 84th-rated prep prospect has an existing connection to the University of Oregon. "My brother is a student there; he will be a sophomore next year. So I have always had a little tie to Oregon. When the recruiting process started the end of my junior year they have always been towards the top of my list. It just kind of blossomed from there."
Family was not the deciding factor for Lockie, however. "They have a lot of things going for them at Oregon. The thing that really did it for me was going down and meeting all the coaches. It really sold it and was probably the key for me. Meeting them made me decide that hey, I want to be a Duck."
On film Lockie looks to be an accurate passer with good mobility. DSA asked Lockie what he thinks the strength of his game is.
"I would say the best part of my game is decision-making," replied Lockie. "That really helps me out. I also think my athleticism helps too. I've been playing baseball and basketball all my life so playing all the sports has been really good for me."
In high school, his athleticism is reflected at various times of the year. "I played baseball up through freshman year but I had to let that go. Now besides football I start for the varsity basketball team and that's it."
Some recruits draw out the process. Others choose a school early. Lockie thinks he made the right choice getting things done now.
"This is definitely an exciting time. I'm relieved having recruiting over with. Now it just turns into excitement. I'm excited for things to come. The whole family is happy and I'm ready to go."