This week began with Oregon looking like it was losing its grip on a once-promising recruiting class.
Coach Dan Lanning and company quickly flipped that narrative like it was a prized recruit once committed to another school.
Wednesday marked the start of the early signing period and by mid-morning, the Ducks had already made a splash with its 2023 recruiting class.
Oregon landed a pair of five-star defenders in edge rusher Matayo Uiagalelei and safety Peyton Bowen, helping alleviate the sting of losing out on five-star quarterback Dante Moore, who switched his commitment to UCLA Monday after having been verbally committed to the Ducks since July.
Lanning did some flipping of his own.
Bowen, who is rated by 247Sports as the No. 2 safety in the 2023 recruiting class and the No. 14 player overall, was previously committed to Notre Dame before switching his Fighting Irish hat for an Oregon hat Wednesday morning during his signing ceremony at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas.
Oregon also signed four-star quarterback Austin Novosad, who had been committed to Baylor, and four-star cornerback Daylen Austin, who had been committed to LSU.
All told, the Ducks had announced the signing of 25 players by 3 p.m. Wednesday, though Bowen was not yet among them, nor was five-star receiver Jurrion Dickey, who has been verbally committed to the Ducks since May, nor four-star linebacker Blake Purchase, who verbally committed in September.
Lanning said he anticipates as many as 15 of the newcomers will enroll early and join the team right away in 2023.
“We have a bunch of guys that are like-minded, anxious for growth, not afraid of hard work and looking for the opportunity to build something really special,” Lanning said. “They see all the things I see here at Oregon and want to be a part of it.”
It was the first full recruiting cycle at Oregon for Lanning, who joined the Ducks just weeks before the February signing day.
This year’s class was put together amid Oregon’s preparations for the Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl game against North Carolina.
“Championships are really won in recruiting,” Lanning said. “That’s where it starts. But it’s just as much about championship culture and having the right people on your team that are rowing the boat in the same direction.”
Uiagalelei, a 6-5, 265-pounder from Bellflower, Calif., is ranked as the No. 2 edge rusher and No. 17 player overall. He was wavering between Oregon, USC and Ohio State before picking the Ducks.
Uiagalelei is among the 12 defensive or offensive linemen signed Wednesday or plucked from the transfer portal earlier this month.
“I think anyone who knows football knows the game’s won up front,” Lanning said. “Having a great defensive line, having a great offensive line is a big part of our success and will continue to be a big part of our success.”
It was whirlwind of a week for the Ducks when it came to their future at quarterback.
Sunday, senior starter Bo Nix announced he was returning to the team next season and not turning pro. Monday, Moore announced he was going to sign with Chip Kelly’s UCLA team. Wednesday, Novostad signed on as Nix’s potential replacement. It was a big win for Oregon, who leaned on new offensive coordinator Will Stein to bring the Texas native to the Pacific Northwest.
Lanning said Stein, who left his offensive coordinator job at Texas-San Antonio for the Oregon position two weeks ago, has known Novosad since middle school.
“His relationship with Will is obviously something we really wanted to tap into and we were able to utilize down the stretch,” Lanning said.
The 6-3, 185-pound Novosad is ranked nationally as the No. 10 quarterback prospect and No. 119 player overall. He threw for a combined 9.197 yards, 115 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his three-year starting career at Dripping Springs High School west of Austin.
“He has the ability to place the ball,” Lanning said. “I think if you watch his film you’re gonna see some really accurate throws and challenging throws. One thing that shows up consistently with Austin is his ability to throw intermediate routes really accurately. I think that’s hard to do.”
Oregon Ducks 2023 recruiting class
- Daylen Austin | CB | 6-1, 180 | Long Beach, Calif. | 4-star
- Bryce Boulton | OL | 6-3, 250 | Palm Desert, Calif. | 3-star
- Johnny Bowens III | DL | 6-3, 265 | Converse, Texas | 4-star
- *Peyton Bowen | S | 6-0, 185 | Denton, Texas | 5-star
- Ashton Cozart | WR | 6-3, 190 | Flower Mound, Texas | 4-star
- Solomon Davis | DB | 6-0, 185 | Covina, Calif. | 3-star
- Kodi DeCambra | DB | 6-0, 175 | Las Vegas | 4-star
- *Jurrion Dickey | WR | 6-3, 210 | East Palo Alto, Calif. | 5-star
- Dante Dowdell | RB | 6-2, 210 | Picayune, Miss. | 4-star
- Luke Dunne | P | 6-6, 215 | Australia | No stars
- Nick Duzansky | LS | 6-4, 180 | Wheaton, Ill. | No stars
- My’Kiel Gardner | DL | 6-2, 285 | Peoria, Ariz. | 3-star
- Collin Gill | DB | 6-0, 200 | Washington, DC | 3-star
- Terrance Green | DL | 6-5, 265 | Cypress, Texas | 4-star
- lapani Laloulu | OL | 6-2, 355 | Honolulu | 4-star
- Cole Martin | DB | 5-10, 175 | Chandler, Ariz. | 4-star
- Grant Meadors | K | 6-0, 185 | Bakersfield, Calif. | 2-star
- Jerry Mixon | ILB | 6-3, 220 | San Francisco | 3-star
- Lipe Moala | OL | 6-6, 330 | Santa Ana, Calif. | 3-star
- Jaeden Moore | Edge | 6-4, 230 | Visalia, Calif. | 4-star
- Austin Novosad | QB | 6-3, 185 | Dripping Springs, Texas | 4-star
- Tevita Pome’e | DL | 6-3, 315 | Layton, Utah | 3-star
- *Blake Purchase | LB | 6-3, 240 | Englewood, Colo. | 4-star
- Kenyon Sadiq | TE | 6-3, 220 | Idaho Falls, Idaho | 4-star
- Teitum Tuioti | OLB | 6-3, 220 | Eugene | 4-star
- Tyler Turner | DB | 6-0, 180 | San Antonio | 4-star
- Matayo Uiagalelei | DE | 6-5, 265 | Bellflower, Calif. | 5-star
- A’mauri Washington | DL | 6-4, 295 | Chandler, Ariz. | 4-star
- Gernorris Wilson | OL | 6-5, 285 | Lakeland, Fla. | 3-star
- Junior Angilau | OG | 6-5, 280 | Salt Lake City, Utah (Texas)
- Traeshon Holden | WR | 6-3, 214 | Kissimmee, Fla. (Alabama)
- Khyree Jackson | CB | 6-3, 197 | Upper Marlboro, MD. (Alabama)
- Jestin Jacobs | LB | 6-4, 238 | Englewood, Ohio (lowa)
- *George Silva | OL | 6-8, 300 | La Habra, Calif. (Fullerton College)
*Signing not announced as of Wednesday afternoon
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