Opinion: Dan Lanning’s ability to utilize transfer portal is encouraging for Oregon

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Opinion: Dan Lanning’s ability to utilize transfer portal is encouraging for Oregon
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  • Dan Lanning
    American football coach

Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning was at a bit of a disadvantage during his first signing day with the team. In fact, that may be an understatement.

Lanning was hired to be the next head coach of the Ducks on December 11th. The early signing period for recruits would start just 4 days later on December 15th. While trying to balance the work of building a staff in Eugene while also overseeing his defensive coordinator duties at Georgia and planning for a College Football Playoff game, there isn’t much time left to talk to recruits. To make matters more difficult, Oregon’s 2022 class, which was at one time ranked inside the nation’s top-10, had recently been depleted after the departure of Mario Cristobal, with some top-rated players de-committing.

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Despite the challenges, Lanning arguably overperformed in the early signing period, flipping 3-star ATH Anthony Jones from Texas to Oregon, while holding onto 4-star LB Devin Jackson, and 3-star LB Harrison Taggart. On top of that, Lanning also secured a signing from 4-star CB Jalil Tucker, who was reportedly solid on his verbal to the Ducks but wasn’t expected to make it official until February.

Bright spots in the recruiting world have come since December, but one place where it’s clear that Lanning and his staff have focused is the transfer portal. That’s the work that should inspire some real confidence for Duck fans.

On Saturday, it was announced that former Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Christian Gonzalez was transferring to the Ducks, following Oregon’s new CB coach Demetrice Martin from Boulder to Eugene. Gonzalez was an all-conference honorable mention at Colorado this last year, and he slots in as an instant difference-maker from the Ducks at a position where they are in need of help after the loss of DJ James and Mykael Wright.

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Gonzalez isn’t Oregon’s only win in the portal, either. Earlier in the week, the Ducks secured a commitment from Washington’s Sam ‘Taki’ Taimani, a veteran defensive lineman who has 25 career games under his belt. Before that the Ducks also added former Auburn QB Bo Nix to the roster, reuniting him with OC Kenny Dillingham.

It’s hard to state how big of wins these are for Lanning and the Ducks. While they may not be as exciting for fans to read about as say a commitment from a 4- or 5-star prospect, it’s pretty easy to argue that they will have more impact in the interim. All of these players have a chance to provide instant results for Oregon.

As time goes on and Lanning gets more settled in Eugene, we will undoubtedly see his recruiting prowess shine, with top-rated talent committing to the Ducks. However, in the early going, it has been incredibly impressive to watch him and his staff utilize the transfer portal. In the ever-changing landscape of college football, the portal has become one of the more important aspects of roster-building. Lanning has shown that he knows exactly how to use it to his advantage.

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