Last week, following the first day of spring practice, Oregon head man Mark Helfrich was asked if there was a chance of adding players who had not yet signed with the program in February.
“That’s always a possibility,” said Helfrich. “There are always a couple [of irons in] the fire that way.”
Not more than 72 hours ago, unsigned class of 2014 defensive lineman Ratu Mafileo (3-Star/Honolulu, HI) broke months of silence and indicated that the NCAA has academically cleared him.
“I called coach Ron (Aiken) and told him what the NCAA said,” said Mafileo. “He was very excited and told me he would have his compliance office contact the NCAA on Monday to confirm the news and hopefully get me the paperwork.”
Mafileo, the nephew of Oregon legend Haloti Ngata, has long been vocal in his desire to suit up for the Ducks and would give Aiken & Co., a huge boost in the trenches come fall.
“[Coach Aiken] told me Oregon will take me as soon as they can clear me.”
Barring an unforeseen circumstance, Mafileo plans to officially visit the Ducks and sign a letter of intent once an offer is extended. If the buzz wasn’t already high enough, it appears that the big man has been hitting the gym after his senior season and now weighs in at a whopping 325 lbs. Coupled with an impressive wingspan, Mafielo’s 6’4 frame has long been a target of the Oregon brass.
“I’ve just been power-lifting. Coach Ron [Aiken] has been telling me they really need depth at defensive tackle. He said he loves my technique and pad level. I’m just working on my speed and pass-rush moves.”
Mafileo removed any lingering doubt about his intentions.
“Oregon is where I’m going.”
Current Oregon guard Joseph Young announced that he will bypass the NBA draft in order to play his senior season. Via his Twitter feed, Young gave We, The Oregon Faithful, all the reasons in the world to expect next year’s squad to be one of the best ever assembled in Eugene.
Young’s newest teammate and potential freshman starter, five-star Oregon signee Jaquan Lyle (5-Star/Huntington, WV/Rivals150) recently spoke on his decision to join the Ducks.
“Me and Coach Altman probably had the best relationship out of every coach recruiting me,” said Lyle. “It’s a great relationship to be in. [Oregon was] the first school to offer me [after I moved on from my previous commitment]. So, right then and there, I knew it was going to be a good fit.”
Expect Oregon’s backcourt to be one of, if not the deepest in the nation next season seeing returners Young, Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson, and the addition of Lyle to put the rest of country on their heels when March Madness returns, stay tuned!
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