Oregon Ducks Transfer Portal Wish List 1.0: Players we most want to see in Eugene

It’s the holiday time, and people around the nation are starting to formulate wish lists for Christmas presents that they hope to get later in the month.

Here at Ducks Wire, we figured we would do a similar sort of thing, putting together a wish list of transfer portal players who we are hoping that the Oregon Ducks end up landing sometime over the next few weeks. While Dan Lanning and the Ducks head into the offseason and look to bolster their roster in a few certain areas, there are a handful of major targets that they have honed in on and are working to add to the roster. Several visits have been announced either for this weekend or next week, and things seem to be progressing well.

While our wish list is rather extensive, it’s important to note that we don’t expect the Ducks to get everything we ask for — that’s far too much. In reality, I think it’s fair to expect Oregon to land 4-6 portal additions. The players at the top of our list are the ones we want to prioritize first, obviously.

With that being said, here’s our first edition of the Transfer Portal wish list, focused mainly on guys who we’re hearing the team has been in contact with so far in the cycle. A 2.0 version will likely come out as time passes and players either enter or exit the transfer portal in the future.

Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Note: Dillon Gabriel officially committed to the Oregon Ducks on Saturday morning. 

2023 Stats: 12 Games | 3,660 yards, 42 total TDs, 6 INT

Career Stats: 50 Games | 14,865 yards, 152 total TDs, 26 INT

Reasoning: Getting a veteran QB is goal number one for the Ducks this portal cycle, and it seems like Dillon Gabriel is the one that Dan Lanning and his staff have zeroed in on. Gabriel is in town over the weekend, and there’s a good chance he ends up committing before he leaves.

Texas A&M DL Walter Nolen

Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 12 Games | 37 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks

Career Stats: 22 Games | 66 tackles, 11 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 FF

Reasoning: The prospect of landing a former 5-star defensive lineman who has had some great production in his time at Texas A&M is very enticing for the Ducks, and there seems to be a good chance that it ends up happening as well. Nolen will be in Eugene on a visit over the weekend, and Dan Lanning has a good chance to sell him on Oregon, pitching the opportunity for him to be the spearhead on a very talented defensive line. With Brandon Dorlus leaving for the NFL, having an opportunity to replace him with Nolen would be a home run.

Clemson S Andrew Mukuba

(AP Photo/Stew Milne)

2023 Stats: 10 Games | 42 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 6 PBU

Career Stats: 35 Games | 143 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sacks, 1 INT

Reasoning: The Ducks need some help in the secondary this offseason, particularly at the safety position. With Evan Williams and Steve Stephens IV gone, and not a ton of proven options on the roster, Oregon absolutely needs to bring in some veteran experience here. Andrew Mukuba is at the top of the list, and he is expected to visit Eugene at some point next week as he approaches a decision.

UCLA QB Dante Moore

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 9 Games | 1.610 yards, 11 TD, 9 INT

Reasoning: It doesn’t appear that the Ducks are trying to stop at just one QB addition in the portal this offseason. There’s growing confidence that they will try and land former 5-star QB Dante Moore as well, a player who has been open about the desire to go somewhere that he can be developed and potentially redshirt for a season. Oregon, even if they don’t land Dillon Gabriel, would be a perfect spot for that, and recent reports show that Moore is expected to visit Eugene sometime next week. If the Ducks could walk away from this portal cycle with both Gabriel and Moore, I think it’s as big of a win as you could ask for.

Vanderbilt WR Will Sheppard

2023 Stats: 12 Games | 47 catches, 684 yards, 8 TDs

Career Stats: 42 Games | 152 catches, 2,067 yards, 21 TDs

Reasoning: If you’re talking about high-end receivers who I believe the Ducks have a good shot at landing, look no further than Will Sheppard. He’s a veteran player who has had some great production at Vanderbilt, and he works as a near-perfect replacement for Troy Franklin on the outside. I’ve been told by someone inside the program that the Ducks are pushing hard to land Sheppard, and we should be able to find out more in the coming days.

South Carolina WR Juice Wells

[Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

2023 Stats: 3 Games | 3 catches, 37 yards, 1 TD

Career Stats: 16 Games | 71 catches, 965 yards, 8 TDs

Reasoning: When you look at wide receiver prospects in the portal, there are few more intriguing options than Antwane ‘Juice’ Wells. While he is highly coveted, and will likely be hard to land, recent reports show that the Ducks are making a strong push to try and get him. I don’t have a ton of confidence that he will end up in Eugene, but it’s worth paying attention to.

Georgia CB Nyland Green

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 13 Games | 7 tackles, 1 PBU

Career Stats: 24 Games | 12 tackles, 2 PBU

Reasoning: While cornerback isn’t the biggest area of need for the Ducks this year, we’ve seen over the past couple of years that they’ve had great success when finding underutilized players at other schools who can come to Eugene and flourish in a CB1 role. Nyland Green is a former 5-star recruit who Lanning recruited to Georgia, and he’s been named one of the top cornerbacks in the portal this year. If the Ducks could find a way to get him to Eugene, it would be a huge win for the defense.

Maryland LB Jaishawn Barham

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 11 Games | 37 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT

Career Stats: 23 Games | 95 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 7 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF

Reasoning: There is a lot of uncertainty about how the Oregon LB room will look next season, with both Jeffrey Bassa and Jestin Jacobs facing decisions about whether to return or not. Regardless of their decisions, the Ducks could stand to add some more top-end talent at the position, and I believe that Jaishawn Barham is someone that they will look at. I’ve been told that there has been contact between the two sides, so it is something worth watching as we go forward. Until we get further information about Jacbos and Bassa, though, I think we will need to wait.

North Texas WR Ja'Mori Maclin

(Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

2023 Stats: 12 Games | 57 catches, 1,004 yards, 11 TD

Career Stats: 27 Games | 74 catches, 1,389 yards, 13 TD

Reasoning: The Ducks are looking for high-end receivers in the transfer portal, and they could end up going a similar route as last year when it comes to finding dynamic playmakers from a lower level of play, ie. the Tez Johnson route. Ja’Mori Maclin was explosive with North Texas in 2023 and he has a high upside operating in a high-octane offense.

UCLA S Kamari Ramsey

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 11 Games | 40 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU

Career Stats: 15 Games | 46 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU

Reasoning: UCLA’s Kamari Ramsey isn’t the No. 1 safety on my list, but should the Ducks be unable to land Mukuba — which I think is unlikely — then I think Ramsey becomes a player that they need to focus on. He had some really solid production in 2023, and projects to be a solid defender at a major area of need with two years of eligibility remaining.

Georgia LB Xavian Sorey Jr.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 11 Games | 19 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU

Career Stats: 27 Games | 24 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU

Reasoning: To me, it feels like Sorey Jr. is a mix of Jaishawn Barham and Nyland Green. He is a solid linebacker who could be of use at a position of need, while also being a former 5-star prospect who Dan Lanning recruited to Georgia, and did not have much of an opportunity to produce in Athens. There hasn’t been any buzz about the Ducks reaching out, so this is more of a “wish” rather than something based on intel, but the puzzle pieces seem to fit together pretty well.

Mississippi State WR Zavion Thomas

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2023 Stats: 11 Games | 40 catches, 503 yards, 1 TD

Career Stats: 22 Games | 42 catches, 507 yards, 1 TD

Reasoning: The Ducks have been linked to Zavion Thomas a little bit, from what I’m told, and there’s a good chance that they bring him in on a visit over the next week or so. Thomas saw some solid production at Mississippi State, but could thrive in a more open offense in Eugene, while also providing a great punt-returning ability as well.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire