Every recruiting cycle leaves programs and their fans wondering what happened to certain recruits who seemed destined for their school. While none of them were absolute "locks" to sign with Oregon, the Ducks had a long list of realistic targets who signed elsewhere.
The Ducks had plenty of opportunities to make a huge statement on the recruiting trail with the 2013 class. The coaching change from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich had an effect on many recruits, but a difference in scheme preference also led to a couple potential Ducks looking elsewhere. A couple former Oregon commits flipped to sign elsewhere and a couple others were just given up on. Notre Dame eventually signed three of the Ducks' top targets in the Class of 2013.
Here are a few players who could have easily been Ducks had one or two things gone differently.
DT Eddie Vanderdoes (Notre Dame): Vanderdoes had Oregon on top for months before the Ducks finally offered. By that time, Alabama, LSU and many others had offered the most highly touted defensive lineman on the West Coast in years. Vanderdoes and the Oregon staff had a difference of opinion on how he would have been used. When USC and DL coach Ed Orgeron made a push for the No. 10 player in the ESPN 150, Oregon's former DL coach Jerry Azzinaro was no match for the Trojans' ace recruiter. However, Orgeron couldn't hang on to Vanderdoes, either. And during the week of the U.S. Army All-American Game, the Ducks never re-established contact. Vanderdoes signed with Notre Dame.
ATH Max Redfield (Notre Dame): The No. 23 player in the ESPN 150 was a longtime USC commit until his desire to visit Notre Dame and Oregon led him to decommit from the Trojans in October. Right around the same time, the Ducks dropped their pursuit of the Under Armour All-American, thinking he was going to end up at Notre Dame. In the end, the Ducks were proven correct as Redfield signed with the Irish, but if you quit recruiting someone and don't allow them to take an official visit, that will happen every time.
OL Alex Redmond (UCLA): The Ducks wound up with five offensive linemen in the class, but Redmond is a force on the interior and could have given the Ducks an even greater class. Redmond cited a difference in style as the main reason for his decommitment from the Ducks in October. The Ducks ended up with two Under Armour All-Americans in Evan Voeller and Cameron Hunt, but Redmond would have made three linemen who would have had a chance at playing early.
ATH Tarean Folston (Notre Dame): Folston was down to Oregon and Notre Dame after official visits to both programs. His pledge would have given the Ducks a U.S. Army All-American and two Under Armour All-American running backs in their class. Instead, Folston announced for Notre Dame at the Under Armour game and the Ducks lost fellow UA game participant Dontre Wilson to Ohio State.
LB Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt): After a monster senior season, the ESPN 300 linebacker earned offers from Auburn, Oregon, Tennessee, NC State, Vanderbilt and more. Oregon made a big splash with its offer and hosted Cunningham on an official visit on Jan. 18. Even after in-state favorite Auburn dropped Cunningham just before signing day, the distance to Oregon proved to be too much for the Alabama native and he signed with Vanderbilt.
ATH Dontre Wilson (Ohio State): After committing to Oregon in May, Wilson was as solid as can be until Kelly's flirtation with the NFL. After Kelly was thought to be headed back to Eugene, he visited Wilson at home and told him as much. The next day, Kelly was gone to the Philadelphia Eagles and that was it for Wilson, who announced for Ohio State just before signing day.