After a week of rampant speculation, and a feeling of inevitability, Chip Kelly stunned the sports world earlier this month, spurning a number of potential NFL jobs and announcing his return to Oregon.
Eugene rejoiced and recruits felt at ease.
But all that changed Wednesday morning, when the indecisive coach changed course again, this time for good, bolting out of Eugene for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job.
In the interim, Oregon should be fine. The program is still loaded with talent and many expect the offensive system to remain intact with Kelly’s disciples taking over.
So it’s not doomsday in the Pacific Northwest.
But on the recruiting front, you can expect some collateral damage left in the aftermath. Because isn’t there always.
Take this tweet, less than three hours after the news broke, from Oregon four-star commit Tyree Robinson. Just an example of the ruthless ploys to come.
Like any major school, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are likely to get in on the action, at least making an inquiry toward the sincerity of the Oregon pledges.
And both schools have an interest in a number of the 13 Duck commits.
The Sooners, in fact, have standing offers with Tyrell and Tyree Robinson (four-star twin WRs from the San Diego area), three-star LB Danny Mattingly from Washington and four-star RB Dontre Wilson from DeSoto, Texas.
The initial backlash hasn’t been too severe, with a number of the commits putting out a stated desire to stay with the Oregon program.
“With Chip leaving, it’s (tough), but I think the program will be fine as long as the players want to win, and there’s no doubt that they do,” Tyree Robinson said to ESPN. ”I’m not going to switch up. I’m a Duck and can’t wait for next year.”
“It was crazy,” Dontre Wilson said to ESPN. ”He was just here yesterday. I was talking to him, and he didn’t show me any signs he was leaving. I guess it is what it is…I’m still committed. I still feel the same.”
But in this Rivals article, Wilson’s high school coach implied that the running back would remain a soft commit to Oregon, but would openly listen to inquiries and potentially take visits.
And with the Feb. 6 Signing Day just around the corner, the phone calls will (and already have) come.
Will the kids listen? That remains to be seen.
But it’ll be interesting to watch, with both state teams still rapidly compiling their 2013 classes.