Few teams are in a position to close the 2023 recruiting cycle with a bang during the traditional National Signing Day on Wednesday, largely because the majority of the heavy lifting was done during the early signing period in December. Georgia could make a little noise if the Bulldogs land the No. 1 tight end in the country, Duce Robinson. It would at least narrow the gap with Alabama, who would still sit comfortably atop the rankings even if the Dawgs were to add Walker Lyons, a Top247 tight end from California.
There is one program, however, that could see its class go from the fringe of the top 10 to the just outside the top five in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings if a few breaks go its way: Oregon.
Of the top 150 players in the 247Sports prospect rankings, only four are uncommitted: Robinson and four-star QB Jaden Rashada. The other two are five-star athlete Nyckoles Harbor and four-star cornerback Rodrick Pleasant, both of whom are firmly on the Ducks’ radar.
Both are elite track athletes, each holding realistic ambitions of playing college football in 2023 while also training for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Pleasant is the defending California 100m and 200m state champion, while Harbor is also an accomplished track athlete with Summer Games aspirations of his own.
Harbor took a timely official visit to Oregon this past weekend with National Signing Day looming. Maryland, Michigan and South Carolina are the biggest competition for Harbor’s signature. Pleasant, meanwhile, has already taken an official visit to Oregon and the Ducks are hoping to use their decorated track program to sway his decision in their favor. He’s named a finalist list that includes Boston College, Cal, UCLA and USC in addition to Oregon.
According to the 247Sports Class Calculator, the Ducks would move to No. 7 in the 2023 team rankings and ahead of a familiar face — Mario Cristobal and Miami — should coach Dan Lanning and staff land commitments from both Harbor and Pleasant on Wednesday.
No school out west had a better early signing period than the Ducks, and that was even after losing five-star quarterback Dante Moore to UCLA and coming up empty by the time the Peyton Bowen roller coaster stopped. Flipping four-star QB Austin Novosad from Baylor, four-star running back Jayden Limar from Notre Dame and four-star cornerback Daylen Austin from LSU added to successful haul that was headlined by four-star EDGE Matayo Uiagalelei signing with Oregon.
Can the school located in what’s known as TrackTown, USA, appeal to both speedsters who trade their cleats in for spikes each spring? The Ducks hope so. If they can land Pleasant and Harbor on the strength of both the football and track & field programs, they’ll go down as the strongest closers on National Signing Day on the heels of their successful early signing period.