Flock of talented new Ducks sign with Oregon for upcoming season
EUGENE, Ore. -- The speedy Oregon Ducks just keep landing talented running backs.
Last year it was homegrown star Thomas Tyner. This year it's Royce Freeman out of Imperial, Calif., who also had offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, and Stanford, but on Wednesday signed his letter of intent to play for Oregon.
Freeman ran for 2,824 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior last season at Imperial High School. Freeman, who is 6-feet and 227 pounds, has drawn comparisons to former Ducks LeGarrette Blount and Jonathan Stewart.
He could have an impact right away with the departure of De'Anthony Thomas, who decided to skip his senior season and declare for the NFL draft. The Ducks will return backs Byron Marshall and Tyner, who played last year as a true freshman.
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich called Freeman a "prototypical big back."
"Just a great kid, who is fast and physical," Helfrich said.
Oregon also lured 5-foot-9 running back Tony James, a four-star prospect out of Gainesville, Fla. Now that receiver Josh Huff has graduated, Oregon recruited 6-foot-2 receiver Jalen Brown from Phoenix, who has already enrolled.
Helfrich said Brown typifies the players in this year's recruiting class.
"A great kid from a great family who was captain of his team," Helfrich said.
Among Oregon's other four-star recruits was cornerback Arrion Springs out of San Antonio, who is expected to help the Ducks shore up the secondary after the loss of safeties Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson to graduation and the early departure of Terrance Mitchell to the NFL draft.
The Ducks filled other defensive needs with the signings of 6-foot-7, 253-pound tackle Jalen Jelks of Phoenix, 6-foot-3, 270-pound end Austin Maloata of Corona, Calif., 6-foot-5, 207 pound end Justin Hollins of Arlington, Texas, and 6-foot-2, 229-pound outside linebacker Jimmie Swain of Olathe, Kan.
The Ducks have lost defensive linemen: Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi and Ricky Havili-Heimuli and linebacker Boseko Lokombo, who all graduated. But Oregon returns all off its offensive line, anchored by center Hroniss Grasu, and 10 offensive players overall.
The Ducks were in the mix for 300-pound defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao, who committed to LSU. Five-star safety/receiver John "Juju" Smith also was considering Oregon, but signed a letter of intent with USC.
Oregon got commitments from 17 prep players, three junior college players and transfer Johnny Ragin, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker who decided to leave Cal. The NCAA limits FBS schools to 25 new scholarship players, but Oregon didn't have that many open roster spots.
Last season, its first under Helfrich, Oregon finished 11-2, capped off by a 30-7 victory over Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
National rankings (Rivals 26; Scout 22).
Best in class: RB Royce Freeman, Imperial, Calif.
Best of the rest: CB Arrion Springs, San Antonio.
Late addition: S Khalil Oliver, Meridian, Idaho, decided on Oregon despite late push from Washington.
One that got away: DB Budda Baker, Bellevue Wash., decided on Washington.
NOTE: Helfrich on the ones that got away: "I'm sure my wife wishes she married George Clooney. ... She moved on. We will too."
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
2014 FOOTBALL SIGNEES
Dominique Harrison, CB, 5-11, 185, Jr., Tracy, CA (Contra Costa College/Tracy HS)
Haniteli Lousi, OL, 6-5, 295, Jr., Fremont, CA (College of San Mateo/Washington HS)
Tui Talia, DL, 6-5, 270, Jr., Concord, CA (Diablo Valley College/Ygnacio Valley HS)
Johnny Ragin, LB, 6-3, 215, Wilsonville, OR (California/Wilsonville HS)
Jalen Brown, WR, 6-2, 185, Phoenix, AZ (Mountain Pointe HS)
Tanner Carew, LS, 6-2, 215, La Verne, CA (Damien HS)
Tyrell Crosby, OL, 6-5, 290, Henderson, NV (Green Valley HS)
Braden Eggert, OL, 6-7, 305, Napa, CA (Napa HS)
Royce Freeman, RB, 6-0, 227, Imperial, CA (Imperial HS)
Justin Hollins, LB, 6-5, 215, Arlington, TX (Martin HS)
Glen Ihenacho, DB, 6-0, 185, Gardena, CA (Serra HS)
Tony James, RB, 5-10, 175, Gainesville, FL (Gainesville HS)
Jalen Jelks, DL, 6-6, 253, Phoenix, AZ (Desert Vista HS)
Morgan Mahalak, QB, 6-3, 190, Kentfield, CA (Marin Catholic HS)
Austin Maloata, DL, 6-2, 291, Corona, CA (Centennial HS)
Mattrell McGraw, DB, 5-11, 180, River Ridge, LA (John Curtis HS)
Henry Mondeaux, DL, 6-5, 255, Portland, OR (Jesuit HS)
Charles Nelson, ATH, 5-9, 170, Daytona Beach, FL (Seabreeze HS)
Khalil Oliver, DB, 6-1, 195, Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountain HS)
Arrion Springs, DB, 6-0, 195, San Antonio, TX (Roosevelt HS)
Jimmie Swain, LB, 6-3, 229, Olathe, KS (Olathe North HS)
Dominique Harrison - Cornerback
5-11, 185, Jr., Tracy, CA (Contra Costa College/Tracy HS)
2013 Bay Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year for a unit which led the league in scoring defense (25.1 avg.) . . . Included among Rivals.com national list of top 100 junior college standouts and in some circles among the best JC cornerbacks in the country . . . Credited with 28 tackles (26 unassisted), three interceptions (65 return yards) and 16 passes broken up a year ago, with the latter number leading the California Community College Football Association . . . Single-game highlights included a single-game best seven pass breakups and three tackles vs. Foothill, as well as a quartet of pass deflections and a 38-yard interception return against Yuba as the Comets finished the 2013 season with a 7-4 record under head coach Alonzo Carter . . . Played for squads which won shares of conference championships each of the past two seasons . . . The cousin of Seattle Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch posted 15 tackles (13 solo), four interceptions and broke up 16 passes his freshman year for a contingent that paced the JC ranks in interceptions in 2012 . . . Accumulated 16 receptions for 230 yards and four touchdowns in 2010 as a prep senior at Tracy HS in addition to 213 yards (9.7 avg.) and two scores rushing, a 40.3-yard kickoff return avg., two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
Haniteli Lousi - Offensive Lineman
6-5, 295, Jr., Fremont, CA (College of San Mateo/Washington HS)
Tagged as the top junior college guard in the country by 247 Sports as well as among the top 20 overall JC prospects in the country . . . Was a major force for a school that led the state's JC ranks in rushing (349.5 avg.), was eighth in scoring (39.8 avg.) and 10th in total offense (464.5 avg.) . . . Bulldogs finished 2013 as the NorCal Conference runners-up with a 9-1 record under head coach Bret Pollack . . . Characterized as a punishing blocker who is explosive off the line of scrimmage and possesses quickness to the edge and the second line of defense . . . Was a two-way prep starter at Washington HS after moving from New Zealand as a 10-year-old . . . Earned all-Mission Valley League honors on offense as a high school sophomore before receiving all-conference acclaim on both offense and defense the following year . . . Tabbed as one of the East Bay's top 25 players heading into his senior year for the Huskies before he was chosen to play in the East
Bay-Sacramento Area all-star game as a defensive lineman at the conclusion of his final year.
Tui Talia - Defensive Lineman
6-5, 270, Jr., Concord, CA (Diablo Valley College/Ygnacio Valley HS)
The first-team junior college All-American was named the Region II All-California Community College Defensive Player of the Year following his sophomore season . . . Ranked as the No. 1 junior college defensive end by ESPN.com as well as one of the top 15 JC players in the country by the news service as well as Rivals.com . . . Finished as the Vikings' third-leading tackler (30) as well as led the California Community College Athletic Association in quarterback sacks (13) . . . Included among his single-game highlights were nine tackles (3 solo) against Santa Rosa as well as 13 stops (career-high 10 unassisted) vs. College of the Siskiyous . . . The 2012 all-Mid-Empire League selection was credited with 48 tackles (21 solo), 16 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback sacks as a JC freshman . . . Characterized as a disciplined, yet aggressive, standout who was a disruptive force along the line of scrimmage as either a down lineman or from a stand-up stance . . . Played predominantly as a linebacker at Ygnacio Valley HS, where he recorded 55 tackles (40 unassisted), two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble for the Warriors as a prep senior . . . Included was a season-high 12 tackles vs. Concord.
Johnny Ragin - Linebacker
6-3, 215, Wilsonville, OR (California/Wilsonville HS)
Played in eight games as a true freshman off the bench and on special teams for the Golden Bears in 2013, with his pair of tackles vs. Washington including 1.5 tackles-for-loss (-8 yards) and one quarterback sack (-7 yards) . . . Participated in the U.S. Army All-American Combine following his high school senior season at Wilsonville HS, where he posted career numbers of 99 tackles, 21 TFLs, 15 sacks, five forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles . . . The first-team all-Northwest Oregon Conference defensive selection and
second-team all-state linebacker was credited with 55 tackles (including 10 TFLs and 6 QB sacks) his senior year, along with one forced fumble . . . Also carried the ball 19 times for 161 yards and one score in 2012 in addition to catching nine passes for 112 yards and two TDs . . . Final-year output improved his high school career totals to 63 carries for 514 yards and four rushing touchdowns as well as 20 receptions for 207 yards and five scores . . . Enjoyed a single-game best nine tackles vs. Mountain View as well as two tackles-for-loss against Sherwood and 2.0 sacks vs. the Milwaukie Academy of the Arts . . . Added 33 tackles, 350 yards rushing (8.2 avg.), 95 receiving yards and six all-purpose touchdowns his junior year . . . Also averaged a career-best 37.8 yards per punt as a junior . . . Ranked among Oregon's top-four prep prospects following the completion of his prep football tenure by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals.com, as well as among the nation's elite linebackers . . . Helped lead Wilsonville to a three-year mark of 27-15 en route to a trio of state football playoff appearances, with the Wildcats finishing fourth in 2011 and fifth in 2012 . . . The four-time academic all-conference choice won the state javelin title and was on the winning 4x100 relay team his senior season . . . Will be eligible for the start of the 2015 season after fulfilling the NCAA's year-in-residency transfer requirement.
Jalen Brown - Wide Receiver
6-2, 185, Phoenix, AZ (Mountain Pointe HS)
Included among the Rivals100 and ESPN 300 rankings, with services listing him as high Arizona's third-best overall prospect and the nation's No. 12 wide receiver . . . Took part in the U.S. Army All-American Game following a senior season that saw him finish sixth in the state in yards per catch (23.6 avg.) and tied for sixth in touchdown catches (19) . . . Completed 2013 with 52 catches for 1,229 yards as well as 16 tackles, three interceptions (43 yards) and one fumble recovery . . . Enjoyed a four-game stretch toward the end of the year where he accounted for 19 grabs for 544 yards and 10 scores for a team that averaged 254.4 yards of its 432.7 yards of total offense on the ground . . . Caught TD passes in 11 of 14 games, including a trio of trips into the end zone against both Corona del Sol and Boulder Creek . . . Included was a single-game best seven receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns in a 57-3 win over Dobson . . . The 2013 Division I Section III South Team Player of the Year accrued All-USA Arizona first-team honors, Arizona Division I all-state acclaim and Top 25 All-Arizona recognition for the Pride, which completed the year 14-0 and ranked seventh in the country by MaxPreps . . . Added a 47-yard touchdown catch in the 42-19 Division I state championship win over Hamilton . . . Claimed the state's Gatorade Football Player-of-the-Year kudos following a junior year in which he caught 67 passes for 1,235 yards and 18 touchdowns for the 2012 state runners-up . . . Also recorded 26 tackles and five interceptions (94 yards) . . . Accumulated career stats of 181 catches for 3,367 yards and 50 touchdowns through the air in addition to tying for the most career interceptions (14) in school history and setting the state's all-time record with 52 total TDs . . . The four-year standout earned all-section honors following his sophomore season and Freshman All-America accolades in 2010.
Tanner Carew - Long Snapper
6-2, 215, La Verne, CA (Damien HS)
Considered the nation's top prep long snapper prospect after working with Chris Rubio at the acclaimed Chris Sailer Kicking Camp the previous two years . . . Snaps to punters have been timed in less than 0.70 seconds
. . . The U.S. Army All-America Game participant also started at tight end and linebacker for the Spartans, who finished 2013 with a 5-5 record under head coach Mark Paredes . . . Tallied 29 tackles his senior season as well as one catch for a 10-yard touchdown . . . Added 52 tackles in 2012 . . . The first-team all-Sierra League long snapper has been cited for his athleticism and lower-body strength, which contributes to the power the football explodes out of his hands, and takes great pride in his accuracy and consistency.
Tyrell Crosby, Offensive Lineman
6-5, 290, Henderson, NV (Green Valley HS)
The first-team all-state honoree (Nevadapreps.com) took part in the Semper Fi All-America game following a senior season that concluded with him ranked among the top two prospects in the state as well as the nation's top 40 offensive tackles . . . Reported to have been a part of 18 pancake blocks in one game his senior year for a team which finished the season with a 9-3 record and ranked sixth in the state (Division I) . . . Included on Scout.com's National Top 300 and the West's Top 150 ledgers, earning first-team all-Northeast League acclaim for the Gators while paving the way for an offense that ranked fourth in the state in total offense (466.4 avg.) and sixth in the district in scoring (37.3 avg.) . . . Also a mainstay on defense, accumulating 33 tackles and seven quarterback sacks in 2013 for head coach Brian Castro's squad . . . Agility epitomized by his play on the basketball court as the center ranks second in the state in rebounding (16.2 avg.) in addition to averaging 12.8 points through the first 18 games this season.
Braden Eggert, Offensive Lineman
6-7, 305, Napa, CA (Napa HS)
Garnered mention on Scout.com's final West Top 150 chart his senior year, ranking among the top 50 prospects in the state by 247 Sports as well as the No. 6 offensive tackle according to NorCalPreps.com . . . Solidifying the Indians' left tackle outpost his final two seasons, the first-team all-Monticello Empire League and all-state nominee played a key role for a running game that averaged 225.0 yards per outing . . . The conference runners-up capped 2013 with a 6-5 record following a first-round setback in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs under head coach Troy Mott.
Royce Freeman, Running Back
6-0, 227, Imperial, CA Imperial HS)
Rated among the top running backs in the country, the U.S. Army All-American is included on the Rivals250 listing as one of the top prospects in the state by 247 Sports . . . Accumulated 2,824 yards and 41 touchdowns rushing his senior year (11.0 avg.) in addition to catching eight passes for 116 yards and two more scores . . . Topped 300 rushing yards on three occasions in 2013, including a season-high 340 yards and five scores vs. Cibola (AZ) one week prior to tallying a season-best 21.6 yards per carry (194 yards) at Yuma (AZ) . . . Ran for five touchdowns in each of four of his first five games his final prep campaign . . . Proved equally adept against some of the nation's best players, scoring three touchdowns in the West Team's 28-6 win in the U.S. Army
All-American Bowl in January . . . MaxPrep's California Division II first-team all-state honoree also was crowned the state's medium school's Player of the Year by CalHi Sports . . . Characterized as a powerful runner with great balance, the Imperial Valley League's Offensive Player of the Year also earned San Diego Section Offensive Player-of-the-Year acclaim after completing his high school career with a sectional-record 7,601 yards on the ground . . . Averaged 11.8 yards per carry over the course of his four seasons while tallying 111 rushing TDs . . . Accumulated a single-game school-record 353 rushing yards vs. Parker in addition to six touchdowns (5 rushing) against Central as a junior, finishing the year running for 2,482 yards and 34 touchdowns . . . The Tigers finished the 2013 season with an 11-1 record under head coach Kerry Legara following a loss to St. Augustine in the sectional semifinals.
Justin Hollins, Linebacker
6-5, 215, Arlington, TX (Martin HS)
Ranked among North Texas' top 10 recruits by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as the state's elite 100 prospects by Rivals.com . . . Accrued 59 tackles (39 unassisted) in 12 games in his lone season with the Warriors after playing at Arlington's Grace Prep his junior year . . . Also contributed 15 tackles-for-loss, four quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt in 2013 for a team that reached the third round of the 5A Division I playoffs . . . Tallied a season-best 11 tackles in the season finale and added five TFLs among his seven stops earlier in the year against Paschal . . . Scored his lone touchdown of his senior season on a 14-yard catch vs. Odessa in addition to registering four tackles and recovering one fumble . . . Characterized as a player with tremendous speed for his size who possesses a great first step off the line of scrimmage . . . Team finished 2013 with a 10-3 record under head coach Bill Wager, with two of the three losses coming at the hands of the state runners-up.
Glen Ihenacho, Defensive Back
6-0, 185, Gardena, CA (Serra HS)
Included among Scout.com 's listing of the top 100 prospects in the state and was a key component at safety for a team that finished 2013 with a 13-1 record and ranked 11th in California . . . Completed his senior season with 54 tackles (21 unassisted), including one quarterback sack, in addition to intercepting one pass and forcing one fumble . . . Credited with a season-high 12 tackles in the Cavaliers' lone loss of the year under head coach Scott Altenberg after blocking a punt and scooping up the loose ball for an 18-yard touchdown run in a 40-6 win over Buena . . . Characterized as an instinctive standout and "big hitter" who took advantage of his athletic prowess to play a number of positions for the 2013 Mission League champions . . . The two-time all-conference honoree tallied 64 tackles as a junior in addition to returning one of his three interceptions into the end zone . . . Also deflected nine passes and recovered one fumble . . . Is the younger brother of Duke Ihenacho, who completed his second season with the Denver Broncos.
Tony James, Running Back
5-10, 175, Gainesville, FL (Gainesville HS)
The Semper Fi All-American ranked among the top 10 running backs in Florida by Scout.com and was included on the Rivals250 listing of the nation's elite prospects . . . The Gainesville Sun all-area selection ran for 1,242 yards and nine touchdowns his senior season while averaging 7.2 yards per carry . . . Also returned a pair of kickoffs for 101 yards while eclipsing 100 yards from scrimmage in seven of 11 appearances . . . Included was a season-high 220 yards (9.6 avg.) vs. Citrus one week after rushing for 182 yards (12.1 avg.) and two TDs against Vangard . . . Breakaway speed epitomized by his 93-yard scoring run to beat Madison County as well as his 10.56 100-meter clocking . . . Characterized as an elusive runner who is hard to bring down in the open field and takes advantage of great vision and feet to maximize his big-play ability . . .The Hurricanes posted a 9-3 record and reached the regional semifinals in 2003 under head coach Mark Latsko . . . Transferred from Buchholz High School after running for 583 yards his sophomore season.
Jalen Jelks, Defensive Lineman
6-6, 253, Phoenix, AZ (Desert Vista HS)
Has made rapid progress in refining his skills despite playing the game on an organized level for only three years . . . The Arizona Division I first-team all-state selection (Arizona Football Coaches Association) and
Top-25 all-Arizona pick (AFCA) was included among Scout.com's list of 100 best standouts in the West . . . Posted 12 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback sacks (67 yards) among his 72 tackles (53 unassisted) in nine games his senior season, as well as forced three fumbles and blocked one field goal . . . Enjoyed consecutive weeks with 13 tackles (vs. Boulder Creek), 13 tackles (vs. Mountain View) and 12 stops (against Cienega), with 30 of the 38 takedowns coming unassisted . . . Also recorded four TFLs in the season opener vs. Mission Hills for the Thunder, who ended the year with a 4-6 record . . . Turned in one of the top defensive efforts at last summer's Nike Football Training Camp (Los Angeles) and has been selected to represent the U.S. in the Under-19 International Bowl vs. Canada in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 7 . . . The two-way starter also stepped in at left offensive tackle in 2013 . . . Completed his prep career with 113 tackles (78 solo), 17 TFLs, 15 QB sacks, four caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries, with his junior-year totals including a 38-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Mesa . . . Considered to possess good lateral mobility and quickness, along with a toughness and motor to match . . . Head coach Dan Hines led Desert Vista to a 9-3 record and a state semifinal loss to eventual state champion Hamilton in 2012.
Morgan Mahalak, Quarterback
6-3, 190, Kentfield, CA (Marin Catholic HS)
Patiently waited for an opportunity as a starting quarterback but has wasted little time since . . . Evolved from completing 11 of 20 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns as a junior reserve signal caller to earning California Division III first-team all-state honors as well as All-Metro acclaim by the San Francisco Chronicle his senior year. . . Also earned listings among the Rivals250 and Scout's National Top 300 ledgers after tying for 16th in the state in TD passes (38) and ranking third in the North Coast Section in passing yards (2,795) . . . Completed 160 of 260 passes (61.5%) in 2013 in addition to carrying the football 82 times for 575 yards (7.0 avg.) and seven more scores . . . Ended the year with a five-game stretch that saw him complete 77-118 aerials (65.3%) for 1,114 yards and 17 touchdowns along with five more trips into the end zone on the ground
. . . Threw for a season-high 314 yards and five touchdown tosses against Novato . . . Chosen to compete in the UnderArmour All-American Game, where he completed six of 12 passes for 40 yards and one TD . . . Engineered an offense that averaged 46.8 points per game, with the Wildcats posting a 12-1 record en route to losing to El Cerrito for the CIF North Coast Section, Division III section championship . . . Spent the majority of his junior season as a wide receiver and backup QB, catching 19 passes for 293 yards and two TDs for a contingent that finished at 14-2 under head coach Mazi Moayed.
Austin Maloata, Defensive Lineman
6-2, 291, Corona, CA (Centennial HS)
The CIF all-Inland Division selection was included among Scout's West Top 150 honorees following his initial U.S. campaign as a prep senior . . . Played a Leone High School in Pago Pago, Somoa in 2012 . . . Was credited with 30 tackles (8 unassisted) and one fumble recovery for the Huskies, who sported a 12-3 record and ended the year ranked sixth in the state under Matt Logan . . . Included was a single-game best seven tackles in the season opener vs. Liberty as well as Long Beach Poly, adding a recovered fumble for a touchdown in the former outing . . . Displayed a relentless motor for the sectional champions while he benefitted from raw strength.
Mattrell McGraw, Defensive Back
5-11, 180, River Ridge, LA (John Curtis HS)
Received Semper Fi All-America accolades as well as Greater New Orleans region honors for the state's second-ranked program that allowed only 12.4 points per game . . . Garnered 41 tackles in 11 games his senior season to earn a spot among the top 200 players on the 2014 ESPN 300 ledger . . . Included was a season-high nine tackles vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) as he completed his prep career with 122 stops and five interceptions . . . Contributed 49 tackles as a junior, with his three interceptions including a 55-yard return for a score against Cohen . . . Characterized for his athleticism and instincts yet benefitted from his toughness and physical style of play to emerge as a solid tackler . . . The Patriots accumulated a 22-2 record the last two seasons under J.T. Curtis and captured Class 2A state championships in 2011 and '12.
Henry Mondeaux, Defensive Lineman
6-5, 255, Portland, OR (Jesuit HS)
Attracted attention for his prowess on the offensive side of the ball as he displayed the athleticism to play tight end, fullback, defensive end and linebacker throughout his prep tenure . . . The three-year starter on both sides of the line of scrimmage and 2013 Metro League Player of the Year garnered first-team all-state accolades at tight end his junior and senior seasons while adding first-team defensive honors in 2012 . . . Caught 12 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns his final prep campaign in addition to carrying the ball twice for 19 yards and two scores . . . The Crusaders completed 2013 with an 11-3 record under head coach Ken Potter after falling to Central Catholic for the 6A state championship . . . Placed second in the discus and sixth in the shot put in the 2013 Oregon High School State Track & Field Championships.
Charles Nelson, Athlete
5-9, 170, Daytona Beach, FL (Seabreeze HS)
The all-purpose threat emerged as the top-ranked standout on the Orlando Sentinel's 2014 Central Florida Super60 ledger as well as among the newspaper's premier 20 players on its Florida Top 100 list . . . Caught 37 passes for 512 yards and seven touchdowns his senior season in addition to contributing a trio of rushing scores and three kickoff returns for TDs . . . Earned first-team all-state acclaim by the Associated Press and received first-team All-Area recognition as a wide receiver by the Daytona Beach News-Journal . . . Added 57 tackles and four interceptions as a defensive back for the Sandcrabs while returning one of the picks for a touchdown . . . Was selected to represent the U.S. in the Under-19 International Bowl vs. Canada in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 7 . . . Took advantage of his low center of gravity and quickness to emerge as an explosive playmaker with breakaway speed, as witnessed by placing fourth in the state 3A 100 meters as a junior.
Khalil Oliver, Defensive Back
6-1, 195, Meridian, ID (Rocky Mountain HS)
Included on Scout.com's final 2014 West Top 150 ledger after the two-time All-Idaho selection was singled out as the 5A Southern Idaho Conference's Defensive Player of the Year following his senior season . . . Was credited with 10 tackles-for-loss and seven quarterback sacks among his 62 tackles as a safety and linebacker to help the Grizzlies claim a share of the conference championship under head coach Scott Criner . . . School lost to Highland in the semifinals of the 5A state championships to finish 2013 with a 10-3 record . . . Contributed 75 tackles (43 unassisted), five TFLs, two interceptions and broke up seven passes as a junior to help team lead the conference in total defense . . . Also played major role in pacing Meridian to the 2013 5A state track & field title, placing first in the 110 hurdles (season-best 14.21), second in the triple jump
(season-best 46-02.50) and sixth in the long jump (21-06.50).
Arrion Springs, Defensive Back
6-0, 195, San Antonio, TX (Roosevelt HS)
Participating in the UnderArmour All-America Game, was included among the top 50 prospects and sixth cornerback on the ESPN 300 ledger . . . Posted 75 tackles (46 unassisted), three tackles-for-loss and one interception his senior year to earn second-team All-Area plaudits by the San Antonio Express-News . . . Also added a pair of fumble recoveries and forced one loose ball in addition to 16 catches for 296 yards and six touchdowns . . . Included were single-game bests of nine tackles (7 solo) vs. Johnson as well as five receptions for 110 yards and two scores against Bowie . . . Displayed his versatility by also playing quarterback for the Rough Riders, who finished with a 3-7 record under first-year head coach Matt Carroll . . . His 63 tackles and four interceptions from 2012 pushed his three-year career totals to 180 tackles (113 solo) 11 TFLs, five interceptions and three recovered fumbles . . . Characterized by his quickness and lateral agility, he possesses the speed to close fast on a downfield receiver as well as the frame to make an impact on those carrying the football.
Jimmie Swain, Linebacker
6-3, 229, Olathe, KS (Olathe North HS)
One of the state's top two prospects was included among the upper half of Scout.com's final Midlands Top 125 listing after keying a defense that allowed only 15.3 points and 102 rushing yards per game . . . The first-team all-Sunflower League and Kansas City All-Metro first-team honoree was credited with 92 tackles as a senior, including 11 tackles-for-loss and nine quarterback sacks . . . Also added a pair of fumble recoveries and forced one fumble for a team that ended the season with an 8-4 record under and a loss in the state sectionals . . . Three regular-season setbacks occurred by a total of seven points under head coach Gene Wier . . . Started at outside linebacker for the Eagles his sophomore season prior to a one-year hiatus at Lee's Summit (MO) High School . . . Possesses a quick first step off the line of scrimmage and the athleticism to be effective off the edge as well as the physicality to shed blockers inside.