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January 17, 2013
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Good riddance, Chip.
That might not be the reaction of Oregon fans who appreciate the four straight BCS bowls Chip Kelly shepherded. But, the bottom line is, his departure to the NFL gets the program one step closer to some stability, and that might be best for the Ducks' recruiting.
Oregon finished with the No. 16 class in the Rivals.com 2012 rankings. But with just three weeks until National Signing Day, the Ducks sit at No. 44 for 2013. The drop is not the steepest of FBS-level automatic qualifiers, but it raises issues as to why certain schools are underperforming.
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said that while Kelly had been the reason kids came to Oregon, the rumors of his departure were starting to hold the program back.
"Last year it started to hurt a little when he was dealing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, and it just got worse this year," Farrell said. "I don't think the assistants would admit it, but I think that everyone was laying low on the recruiting front because they didn't have the answers.
"Now that Chip has left, it will be interesting to see if kids buy back in or wait and see. The uniforms and the facilities are things that kids look at as bonuses, but that offense is a place to showcase ability, and Oregon will need to prove it can still be that place."
The Ducks waded through the coverage of Kelly's decision and rumors about recruits' de-commitments without any actual losses, but many high-profile players are considering their options.
Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha five-star running back Thomas Tyner said that he was planning on staying put, but other top prospects were not as willing, saying they would test the waters.
Twins Tyree and Tyrell Robinson of San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln said that Notre Dame and USC were immediately in the mix, and just after the Kelly announcement the pair tweeted that Ohio State had offered them.
Wilson's coach, Claude Mathis, said that it has been overwhelming dealing with all of the calls.
"I can tell you everybody from the Midwest to the East Coast to the West Coast has contacted me today about Dontre Wilson. It's been a crazy day today," Mathis told Rivals.com. "Even the coaches at Texas. Everyone in states close to Texas have contacted me as well. It's one of those things where he's a hot commodity, which it should be. He can get the job done. I know anyone will be very fortunate to have him right now."
Farrell said that holding those guys will be the key to ensuring that the bottom doesn't fall out for Oregon.
"This is a very top-heavy class and not a very deep one at that," he said. "Oregon has to keep Tyner, Wilson and the Robinsons -- and I don't know if they can or not -- to not have what some could consider a wasted class."
Oregon is not alone in the fall from grace as compared to 2012, but of course there are others on the rebound. Here's a look at five other teams on the slide, followed by five who are making a surprising surge:
FIVE TEAMS ON THE FALL
FIVE TEAMS ON THE RISE