August 21, 2013

Position recruiting: OL

Mana Grieg, Everett Benyard III, and Karrington Armstrong are all seniors. In addition to that, Jake Fisher, Hamani Stevens and Hroniss Grasu are juniors. Fisher, Grasu and redshirt sophomore Tyler Johnstone are all draft eligible, and each of them could potentially get a first to third round grade if they request an evaluation in January.

When asked, players will always say they're not thinking about the NFL right now, that they're focusing on the season, but coaches have to think about both. Recruiting is a game within a game, and it's one of constant evaluation: you count your money when you're sittin' at the table, and you count your money again between hands. It's imperative to know who's left, who's developing, who's flaming out, and who's available, 52 weeks a year and three years into the future.

Ideally, a coaching staff would like to bring in 3-5 linemen in every class. It's even more important in this cycle for the Ducks with the potential loss of three all-league caliber players. Grasu, Fisher, and Johnstone could elect to return for another season (or in Johnstone's case, two) but the recruiting game plan has to consider the possibility that all three could be making Kyle Long money by next fall. Picked 20th overall in the first round by the Chicago Bears, the one-and-done Duck signed a 4-year, 8.3 million dollar contract. That's a lot of tuition, room and board and books, making it very tough to advise a player (or his family) to stay in school and wait for a better offer. Certainly there are benefits to earning a degree, competing for a national championship and participating in the college experience. But it's tough to weigh that against a tall pile of cold, hard cash.

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