Yesterday, I mentioned that surprisingly, Oregon was kicking up dust in the Carolinas’ recruiting wars. I checked a bit further into it and a number of factors come into play.
While virtually all the Ducks’ coaching staff have west coast ties, then there is defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, hired this year after coaching the same group at Marshall in 2008. More importantly, Azzinaro was Duke’s defensive coordinator from 2004 through 2006, giving him a familiarity with the Carolinas.
There’s more, though; Oregon is tied tightly to Nike and its co-founder and chairman, Phil Knight. Knight is an Oregon graduation, and in 2007 donated $100 million to the school’s athletic program.
The Ducks have used that money well when it comes to upgrading football.
“Their facilities are possibly the best in the country,” says a veteran area college coach. “They have a TV in every one of the players’ lockers, and I understand the kids get a new jersey for every game.
“Oregon is, in a sense, being marketed by Nike.”
But despite all that, the coach said, Oregon still has to compete with schools like Southern Cal, UCLA and Stanford on the west coast.
“They come around here and maybe they’re a little more exotic,” he said. “A lot of these kids have never had a chance to go to the west coast.”
As in, those five-hour plane flights are exciting the first couple of times you take them, but for some folks, they get old fast.
Meanwhile, the Ducks are making a splash.
--Stan Olson. Pop me recruiting news at firstname.lastname@example.org
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