How Oregon's main contributors rated as recruits
On Monday night, Oregon will play Auburn for the BCS national title. Unlike 2009 title-game participants Alabama and Texas, the Ducks don't have the luxury of collecting four- and five-star recruits. Here's a breakdown of how some of Oregon's key contributors ranked as high school prospects. For a detailed account of how this Oregon team was built, click here.
QB Darron Thomas -- Thomas, from Aldine, Texas, originally committed to LSU, but decommitted when the number of quarterbacks in the Tigers' class of 2008 swelled to three. He also considered Florida.
RB LaMichael James -- Texas and Texas A&M ignored the four-star recruit from Texarkana, Texas, but TCU didn't. It came down to the Horned Frogs and the Ducks for the nation's leading rusher.
WR Jeff Maehl -- Maehl, from Paradise, Calif., was so under-the-radar he was buried. Oregon secondary coach John Neal had played in junior college with Maehl's father, so he watched Maehl's highlight video. Ducks coaches liked what they saw, and Oregon was the only school to offer Maehl a scholarship. Maehl led the Ducks this season with 943 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.
WR D.J. Davis -- Davis, ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 2 player in the state of Colorado in the class of 2007, made up his mind that he wanted to play in the Pac-10. He picked Oregon over Cal, UCLA and Washington.
WR Lavasier Tuinei -- Oregon found Tuinei at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach, Calif. Tuinei, who is from Indiana, received interest from Ball State while in high school, but he never got an offer because he had to sit out his senior season after switching schools.
TE David Paulson -- The Ducks had to fend off several Pac-10 rivals for Paulson. He also considered Cal, Stanford, Washington and Oregon State.
OT Bo Thran -- Thran, from the Portland suburb of Gresham, Ore., chose to stay in state. He picked the Ducks over Cal and Oregon State.
OG Carson York -- York was the most heavily recruited of Oregon's current offensive line starters. He also had offers from Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State.
C Jordan Holmes -- The pride of the Yuba City (Calif.) Honkers was heavily recruited by Nevada and Sacramento State, but his high school coach -- an Oregon alum -- convinced Ducks coaches to take a look. They're glad they did.
OG C.E. Kaiser -- When Kaiser committed to Oregon in November 2005, his only other offer was from Idaho.
OT Mark Asper -- Asper told all interested colleges that he intended to serve a Mormon mission before entering college. In 2004, he chose Oregon over BYU, Utah and Arizona. After two years in Barcelona, Spain, Asper returned and re-signed with Oregon for the class of 2007.
DE Terrell Turner -- Turner, from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, was a late bloomer. He didn't receive much interest until his high school coach moved him from the defensive line to linebacker prior to his senior year. He also had offers from Nevada, San Jose State and Washington State.
DT Brandon Bair -- Like fellow Idaho native Asper, Bair also served a mission between graduating from high school and enrolling at Oregon. He also had offers from Washington State and Boise State, and he has said he would have gone to Boise State if hadn't gone to Oregon.
DT Zac Clark -- Clark had plenty of interest while playing for Butler Community College in Kansas. He had offers from Texas A&M, NC State, Arizona, Louisville and Boise State.
DE Kenny Rowe -- Rowe jumped off the screen for anyone watching video of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, but his size and speed kept him from getting scholarship offers from everyone in the Top 25. "Kenny has not and never will do well at camps," Rowe's father, Al, told Rivals.com. Fortunately for Rowe, he excelled at actual 11-on-11 tackle football. He also took official visits to Arizona, Cal, Fresno State and Ole Miss.
LB Spencer Paysinger -- Sorry, 90210 fans. Paysinger starred at Beverly Hills (Calif.) High, not West Beverly. Boise State recruited him hard, and Coach Dan Hawkins kept recruiting Paysinger when he moved to Colorado. Paysinger eventually chose the Ducks over the Buffalos.
LB Casey Matthews -- The coaches at USC figured the son of former USC and NFL star Clay Matthews would walk on just like older brothers Clay Jr. and Kyle did. Whoops. Oregon offered a scholarship. Casey accepted the offer.
LB Josh Kaddu -- Kaddu took official visits to Arizona and Washington, but he fell in love with Oregon. Ducks coaches were the first to recruit the Vacaville, Calif., native.
CB Anthony Gildon -- Gildon committed early to Oregon, but he reopened his recruitment as a senior and took official visits to Boise State and USC. In the end, the Ducks outdueled the Trojans.
ROV Eddie Pleasant -- The Ducks offered Pleasant early, and he accepted early. One of Pleasant's mentors was Garrett Sabol, an assistant at Kennedy High in La Palma, Calif., who played for the Ducks from 1997-2000.
S John Boyett -- Boyett had an impressive showing at a Nike Camp at Stanford in the spring of 2007. Offers from Oregon, Stanford, Utah and Wyoming quickly followed. Boyett accepted Oregon's offer in June 2007.
CB Talmadge Jackson III -- This slightly undersized speedster was lightly recruited out of Temecula, Calif. Cal, Colorado State and Idaho were the only other schools to show serious interest.