In the mid 1990s, Mike Riley was the offensive coordinator and QB coach of USC. There was a QB that he tried to recruit, but the player signed elsewhere. A few years later, as head coach of the Chargers, Riley still liked the kid enough to want to draft him but GM Bobby Beathard overruled him. In the third act of his Greek tragedy, the player that escaped Riley twice would beat him in their only match up against each other, throwing his first TD in the NFL in that game.
It was Tom Brady.
Chip Kelly should have that story ready if Howie Roseman shoots him down on a draft recommendation. Taking a look at this year’s draft class, there are quite a few players that Kelly missed out on on Signing Day (insert Willie Lyles joke here, and make it good), and the Eagles might make sure that doesn’t happen again on draft day(s).
With the Combine this week, I went through every player from an FBS school that is invited to see who Oregon tried but failed to recruit.
I found four sites that kept track of schools’ interests and offers: Rivals, Scout, 24/7 Sports and ESPN. If a player was listed on at least two of those, I considered that verified. I also searched Oregon fan sites Fish Duck, Addicted to Quack and Ducks Attack for any recruiting items over the years, and searched for contemporary articles about players giving verbal commitments and getting official offers. This left me with a handful of players I was still unable to verify. So I asked them on Twitter. Special thanks to Jamar Taylor (who was) and Jawanza Starling (who was not) for responding. I also found two current Eagles: Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.
Among Combine invitees, I found 33 players, plus two transfers from Oregon, ranging from first rounders to undrafted free agents. Top players are top players, if anyone is drafted in part due a recruiting connection, it’s most likely a player taken on day three or a UDFA.
Players are listed by position, then alphabetically. Those with an asterisk were unable to be verified by a second source, players with a dagger were able to be verified as a player Oregon was interested in, but unable to be verified as having received an offer or did not receive an offer for whatever reason, which shouldn’t be held against the player.
QB: Colby Cameron† (Louisiana Tech), MarQueis Gray (Minnesota), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), EJ Manuel (FSU), Geno Smith† (West Virginia)
RB: Jonathan Franklin* (UCLA), Stefphon Jefferson* (Nevada), Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina), Spencer Ware* (LSU), Cierre Wood (Notre Dame)
WR: Kenny Stills (Oklahoma), Kenbrell Thompkins† (Cincinnati) Markus Wheaton (Oregon State), Robert Woods (USC); Chris Harper (transferred from UO to K-State)
TE: Joseph Fauria (UCLA), Nick Kasa (Colorado), Jordan Reed (Florida), Levine Toilolo (Stanford); Mychal Rivera (transferred from UO to Tennessee)
T: Braden Brown (BYU), Menelik Watson (FSU)
G: Jeff Baca (UCLA)
C: Brian Schwenke (Cal)
DE: Joe Kruger [primary recruiter was Jerry Azzinaro] (Utah), Sam Montgomery (LSU), Bjoern Werner (FSU)
DT: John Jenkins* (Georgia), Star Lotulelei† (Utah)
OLB: Jelani Jenkins (Florida)
ILB: Manti Te’o† (Notre Dame)
CB: Aaron Hester (UCLA), Jamar Taylor (Boise State), Desmond Trufant† (Washington)
S: Tony Jefferson [possibly as a WR] (Oklahoma)
Will any of these players be Eagles? Going by the odds, probably not. But maybe they take one of these players, or one of them impresses at the Combine and you can impress your friends and coworkers by dropping some knowledge.