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— Tommy Borrill (@tommyborrill3) January 9, 2014
The answer, I believe, is twofold. First, schools don’t have to have top-10 recruiting classes to build a top-10 team, and second, player evaluation and development over time allows for prospects to be completely different two or three years removed from high school.
As far as Oregon is concerned, the most important thing it has been able to do is evaluate quarterbacks. If you hit on a quarterback or two, you give yourself a leg up on the competition. If you are signing quality top-20 or top-25 classes -- which Oregon does each year -- there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have a top 10-15 roster if you have evaluated the player and the person well and, once again, don’t miss on a quarterback. Oregon also has not had to play freshmen very much. Maybe a player or two here and there, but the Ducks have enjoyed the luxury of redshirting players, which can make a huge difference in the rate of development of players.