Guest Article by Michael Tallia
[Editor's note: Michael Tallia is a journalism student at the University of Oregon, an avid Duck fan, and a representative for Rent Like a Champion, a company that offers rental properties for football weekends near Autzen Stadium and around the country.]
Meet Dontre Wilson, the 5’8 RB [editor's note: recruiting sites have Wilson at about 5-10, 175-180, which makes him about the size of LaMichael James as a prep] from De Soto High School in Texas, quite possibly the next big playmaker for the Oregon Ducks. In recent exchanges with reporters, it seems that he has cut his list down to Ohio State and The Ducks! Many assume that he has the Ducks atop his board after a very successful visit to Eugene, where he spent most of his time with LaMichael James, a native to Texas who knows what its like moving away from home. According to reports, Wilson’s family is close with James and has stayed in constant contact with him which makes landing him an even bigger possibility.
Another package of Texas dynamite: small and lightning-quick, Wilson could be a perfect fit in the explosive Oregon offense, and he came away impressed by his Eugene visit (eugenedailynews.com photo).
So who is this guy and what does he bring to the table? Well if you haven’t seen this kids highlight tape yet sit down and grab some popcorn because if you’re a Duck fan you’ll realize how perfect he is for our offense. Listed at 5’8 180 pounds he’s no bruiser but neither was LMJ or even DAT for that matter when they entered the program. What stands out about this kid is his ability to hit the hole on the zone run play. He hits the hole how you want an Oregon running back to hit it, and once he sees an opening he explodes. He runs a very convincing 4.4 40-yard dash, which has to get you even more excited about his potential. He may not power through guys, but what he lacks in power he makes up for in elusiveness. It looks like he has a little LMJ spin move in him and the ability to stop on a dime much like DAT.
The thing that stands out the most about this kid the most however, is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. According to Scout.com, he is most suited to be a dangerous slot receiver at the next level, which tells you this kid can catch. Coming out of high school we all knew DeAnthony Thomas would be a freak athlete once he was able to unleash his potential in the Ducks offense, but I don’t know if anybody, including him, knew he would be one of our best receivers this past year. He exploded onto the scene and became one of our most potent weapons to date. With all that being said, we didn’t know DAT could be that kind of receiver coming out of high school, with Dontre Wilson we do. He has soft hands and the ability to track the ball in the air and turn upfield once he catches it. His foot speed is unbelievable and once he puts a move on you he is gone!
After this season, our running back depth becomes a huge issue, and some may argue that even right now it is too. With Barner graduating and DAT not particulary suited to being a featured back, it’s really up to the development of Byron Marshall and incoming freshmen Thomas Tyner, who we all assume is going to be a freak! The biggest factor according to Dontre Wilson himself, is early playing time. He wants to see the field early and he wants the rock in his hands. That’s the type of attitude you want in a player and many of his talks with LMJ were about how to become versatile and an every down back at the college level.
You can tell the kid wants to get better just by looking into the alleged conversations he has had with LaMichael. He knows he is suited to be in Oregon’s offense and I am sure he is aware of the lack of depth we may have in the upcoming years. However, let’s not forget the influence Urban Meyer can have as a coach. Ohio State has issued a lot of interest in this kid, and with a new coach and system in play you never know what kind of magic Urban Meyer has up his sleeve. It seems Texas is out of the picture because apparently Dontre wasn’t buying into the role he was going to play there. This kid wants the rock and to be honest it scares me how bad he wants it. Our offense is predicated on zone reads with tons of playmakers on the field, which makes it hard at times to spread the ball around evenly, unless of course you’re LMJ.
Hopefully the relationship Dontre Wilson has with LMJ and Gary Campbell will be enough to land this juggernaut, but as we all know nothing is a guarantee in college sports. He would be a great addition to our offense for years to come and his strongsuits definitely fit the mold of an Oregon playmaker much like DAT. We need to land this kid in order to maintain our stable of running backs coming from Texas. If we have two bruisers, if you will, in Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, having a little speedster paired with DAT coming out of the backfield could really bring nightmares to just about any defense in the country!