In landing 6-3, 327-lb. Zach Okun from Newbury Park, California, Steve Greatwood ushers in a new era in Oregon football recruiting.
No clumsy SEC hunk of beef: Zach Okun can drive the pile, but he's a nimble athlete rather than an immobile hog-mollie, an ideal fit for the versatile Oregon offense of the future (Photo by Joseph A Garcia, Ventura County Star).
Increasingly, UO is reaching a generation of players that have grown up with the Ducks wearing cool uniforms and winning big games with an exciting offense on national TV. Oregon is a favorite team that can pull high profile recruits from other top schools. They've become a destination school, a top five team with top-of-mind awareness.
The coaches have the foresight to use this appeal to concentrate on quality kids with superb attitudes, leaders that fit in and go right to work.
Rated a four-star prospect and the 15th-best offensive guard in the entire country, experts were certain Okun was going to wind up at USC, Notre Dame or Washington. Instead, he made an enthusiastic verbal pledge to the Ducks after an unofficial visit, the first commitment of the 2015 class.
In his highlight video the mammoth offensive lineman displays good feet, a powerful punch, and outstanding quickness in the first five yards. He knocks people down. He has a wide base, very hard to get around, competitive and athletic, powerful and persistent. He moves people off the ball.
Okun will be a great complement to Royce Freeman, along with Tyrell Crosby, Braden Eggert and Doug Brenner. These guys give the future Ducks a true power game, the ability to play smashmouth and move the chains on anyone. A weapon that in turn, makes the play-action passing game more formidable, forcing opponents to respect the inside run makes the Ducks more viable in big games and against physical opponents, a downfall for Oregon in the past.
The Ducks of the future will continue to have a versatile and exciting offense, and this added power dimension makes their legendary explosiveness and big-play ability more potent. Cameron Hunt, Evan Voeller and Jake Pisarcik all have the capability to punch people in the mouth as well as play at the hurry-up pace that bothers Nick Saban and Brett Bielema so much. The Ducks have the potential to become a team that can't be discounted or pigeon-holed as a finesse unit that relies on speed, pace and misdirection. Opponents and pundits will have to respect their physicality as well.
Okun announced his decision via Twitter on Tuesday, telling Justin Hopkins of 247Sports, “In my mind I’m firmly committed and I won’t be taking any other visits.”
Oregon's first commitment of the 2015 class said to Andrew Greif of the Oregonian, "I’ve seen a lot of schools, I met a lot of coaches and been a lot of places and I felt Oregon was the most family-like. I felt the most comfortable there. The coaches, I have a great relationship with them. Everyone has a certain energy about them, which was exciting."
The facilities get their attention, but it's the quality of football and the quality of people that clinches the decision.