You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

What Dan Lanning said about Oregon Ducks’ 2022 recruiting class

OregonLive.com logo OregonLive.com 12/20/2021 James Crepea, oregonlive.com

EUGENE — Oregon signed seven players to its 2022 recruiting class on Wednesday.

New Ducks coach Dan Lanning reviewed the class so far and more during a remote press conference Thursday night.

Below is a transcript of tonight’s press conference.

DAN LANNING

“Obviously this has been a unique transition and a fun process for me and my family but also for our staff and our players. Extremely excited about some of the guys we got to join the team here the last day. Honestly really excited about the direction of the program and what we’re going to be able to sign moving forward in this signing class.

“Obviously, it goes without saying, props to Don Johnson and JR (Moala) and our recruiting staff for piecing a lot of pieces together in a short time period. Stability was unique and piecing this group together was special. That being said I want to highlight a couple of these guys that were were able to bring on board from our ‘22 signing class, linebacker Devon Jackson from Omaha, Neb., outside linebacker Anthony Jones from Las Vegas, Nev., d-lineman Sir Mells from Henderson, Nev., d-lineman Ben Roberts from Salt Lake City, Utah, linebacker Harrison Taggart from Draper, Utah, cornerback Jalil Tucker from San Diego, Calif. and offensive lineman Michael Wooten from Simi Valley, Calif. Really excited about each one of those guys. I think they have some unique traits. Obviously they’re tough football players. I know there’s an early emphasis there from the defensive side of the ball. I think there’s some exciting players that can come make an impact early. I feel really good about the ones we ended up getting on board and I’m excited to see who else we add to this puzzle as we keep moving forward.”

On Anthony Jones flipping on Wednesday and Jalil Tucker signing after indicating he would wait:

“A lot of sweat in the bucket and some trust and faith on those guys. Don and JR and several people on our staff did a good job of holding pieces together and a lot of phone calls, connecting with parents quickly and a little bit of trust. Obviously Anthony was one that we were talking to late into the night, early in the morning even on Wednesday. He was taking a test and then hopping back on the phone and then off the phone. It was a fun process throughout the day but I think he was excited. He’s a great example of a guy who’s excited about the vision, especially how we have used edge guys and outside linebackers in the past and saw an opportunity for himself here. Jalil, several conversations in a short amount of time I think gave him some comfort and all of the reasons he fell in love for Oregon were all still here. I think he was really excited about the brand of football and defense that we’re going to play moving forward.”

On how he went into evaluating these players:

“Some of them, there was a familiarity with some of these guys. But I’ll say, a lot of these guys, this was some of my first contact in the last couple of days. Obviously like I said, some really good players, got me excited to get out here but this is a little outside the footprint of Georgia and where we’ve recruited. That being said, on my flight over on Sunday I started texted these guys in the plane. I hit up every single one of the commitments as we’re coming over. If I could’ve called them I would’ve but that doesn’t work in a plane ride but the WiFi was working so we started with text messages and I’ll say this about this group, they were all extremely understanding. My first priority for everything when I got to Oregon was to sit down and try to get with some of our current players and speak to our current players around those guys. I’ll say this class was super understanding about that in a short period of time and knew that we were going to be pressed for time but they showed some faith in us being able to build a relationship moving forward.”

On Don Johnson Jr. and JR Moala:

“Ultimately, I’m walking into a situation where there was some unfamiliarity and I think they were able to prove their worth and their value and how hard they were working to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. I think it’s important when you move into an organization you want to make the right decisions and they were able to get me some accurate information quick, able to tell me a lot about the class and the direction of the class we’re headed and catch me up on some of these guys that I wasn’t as familiar with.”

On signing more guys tomorrow:

“It’s still fluid but I do think there’s some guys that we’re definitely considering having jump on board before we get to January. It’s something we’ll continue to evaluate and as soon as we’re off this Zoom I’ll be back on the phone with recruits tonight. That’s a priority moving forward but I do think there will be some potential for some additional pieces before the week’s over.”

On areas of need to address by February signing period:

“Honestly in a lot of ways it’s probably too early for me to speak to it until we see some more of that transition. I think we’ll always look at, across the board dynamic playmakers that can help us on offense and defense, both. With the way we’re going to develop players here and the way they’ve been developed in the past at Oregon I think you’re always going to have guys that have the opportunity to move on and play at the next level. In reality we have some target numbers each year. We’re going to try to get close to the target numbers that I see ideal for our roster and to be honest we’re relatively close in a lot of positions but there’s positions of need but I don’t know that I’m ready to be specific to each position.”

On if he’ll recruit unsigned players he recruited to Georgia to come to Oregon:

“My job right now is to do the best job I can for the University of Oregon and when it comes to football my job right now is to do the best I can for the University of Georgia and help the University of Georgia. But I’m going to do what’s in the best interests of Oregon.”

On what his recruiting pitch is:

“I’ll be honest it really hasn’t been a pitch. We could have had a lot more people sign paperwork and sent it across the board on Wednesday if that’s what we wanted to do. It was important for me to communicate that, ‘hey, we have time.’ There’s another signing day coming up. This isn’t a sprint. It’s not a sprint to get it wrong, let’s walk and get it right. Let’s make sure we’re getting the right pieces added to our program. Wasn’t really a pitch. It’s hey follow the track record that I’ve had in the past, let’s look at the resources that Oregon provides and the education that you can get here and I think people can see that at face value.”

On intended size of class and footprint of Oregon:

“We’re going to recruit nationally but I think it starts on the West coast and you want to start regionally first, the Northwest and the West coast are going to be primary targets for us. That being said we’ll go anywhere in the nation because I think that we have a strong brand and players want to be able to play at a place that has a strong brand. As far as numbers, it is probably too early to speak on that. It depends on attrition, it depends on what it looks like moving forward.”

On whether he got to speak to Oregon’s players who entered transfer portal or declared for draft recently:

“I didn’t get to have a conversation with anybody before I was hired. Once I got hired there was a lot of those pieces that are already shook. Now that being said since I’ve been able to visit with just about everybody, maybe not everyone but several of the guys and I can promise you I’ve reached out to several of the guys and had good conversations. Ultimately we’re not going to trick people into staying here at Oregon. They have to decision that’s best for them and their families. There’s a great experience and an opportunity here for people to be successful and we’re going to be excited about the people that choose to be a part of that. Seven (McGee) is a great example of somebody that needed some time, needed an opportunity to sit down and sit in front of the head coach and he understood when he got a chance to do that, ‘hey, look there is a plan.’ The only thing we’re battling right now is that, time. I think getting in front of each one of these guys who probably continue to see opportunities for more guys to potentially to stay, but we’re going to coach the guys that are here and we’re excited if some of those guys are going to reconsider and see what it looks like but it’s up to them ultimately and it’s up to what’s in the bet interest for us and our program.”

On his ties to the West coast and if that will factor into hires for staff:

“Absolutely. It’s certainly helpful but it’s a small spectrum. Now that being said, we’ve signed some players in my time here at Georgia from the West coast that I’ve been tied into as well because we’ve been able to recruit nationally. But we will have a focus on hiring staff that has ties to the West coast. That’ll definitely be a piece of what we do going forward.”

On how he’ll use transfer portal for this class:

“The portal is something that you can definitely use to strengthen your team. We’re going to be really conscientious moving forward. I think it’s a tool. I think there’s been great teams across the nation this year that have proved that it can be valuable for your team. When it fits we want to be able to use it. We’re not going to make our living there. It’s not going to be the only place we recruit. I still believe in - the two things I’m looking for when I’m hiring these coaches moving forward is relationships and development. When you talk about development you’re not signing finished products you have to take players and and take them to where you think they can be when it’s all said and done. That’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing moving forward, is developing young men. Will we end up looking in the portal for some answers? Absolutely. I think I owe it to the university and our program to do that. But it won’t be the only place that we shop.”

On QB and WR target numbers:

“That’s fluid. Obviously you have to one (QB) right. At receiver you hope to have at least three. We’re going to make it fit for what we have. I’ve been in the past where we’ve carried anywhere from four to five quarterbacks on scholarship and then even some programs where it’s been higher than that. Not every one of them can be on the field at the same time. That’s generally a position that’s overstaffed for how many can actually play. Optimal numbers, that can be fluid as well; it’s based on what personnel you’re going to use. I think what we did here at Georgia is a great example of that. We got banged up at wide out this past year where we weren’t able to play as many wide receivers but we were able to play a lot of 13 personnel. If you look at our tight end room right now at Oregon there’s some really good tight ends that can line up and split out so we have the ability to use that and same thing with backs. That number can change based on what is here.”

On how technology has helped him amid the transition period:

“Changed the game. Especially the homes I haven’t been in yet. I was on the phone with a mom just a little bit before we hopped on this call. She was like, ‘it’s so good to see your face. I wasn’t sure exactly what you looked like.’ Same for me. I had never met her. Obviously I didn’t get to go on the road recruiting. But it’s just nice to be able to connect like that. The fact that I can, whether it be interviewing coaches through Zoom or on the phone on a FaceTime with kids, that’s huge.”

On if can confirm hires of Kenny Dillingham, Matt Powledge or Marshall Malchow:

“I can’t confirm any of those reports. We’re excited about the staff we have coming aboard but I cannot confirm anything right now at this time. But I’ll tell you this, we’re putting together a championship staff. Super excited about the guys that are coming on. We’re being really diligent in our process but there’s a good group coming and there’s certainly more to come. As soon as I’m able to speak on them I’ll be the first one doing it I promise.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From OregonLive.com

OregonLive.com
OregonLive.com
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon