Oregon Ducks

Bryan McClendon: Recruiting is 'the lifeblood of every program'

Oregon Ducks

Mario Cristobal brought to Oregon unprecedented attention to recruiting and the results have spoken for themselves. Back-to-back best classes in the Pac-12 and on pace for a three-peat, but don't let the phrase "stars don't matter" fool you. They certainly do.

As co-defensive coordinator Keith Hayward said on Monday: "To get those good players out on the field you got to recruit them... We’re going to stay relentless, that’s just what we do."

Well, there was one hiccup. Oregon, despite landing immensely talented classes, was failing to get a consistent flow of blue-chip wide receivers to enroll in Eugene. Just last December, four-star wideout Johnny Wilson flipped on Early National Signing Day from Oregon, who he had been committed to for nearly half a year, to Arizona State. 

For Oregon, missing out on Wilson was the latest in a worrying trend where the program had only signed four top-100 wide receivers in program history and had five wide receiver decommitments in 2018.  

However, Mario Cristobal recognized the trend and continued Oregon's "relentless" recruiting nature by hiring Bryan McClendon: the 247Sports National Recruiter of the year in 2014, to coach the wide receivers and be the passing game coordinator under Joe Moorhead. 

The move has already paid dividends before he's coached a live snap. 

Four-star Kyron Ware-Hudson (nation's No. 22 WR) committed back in December before McClendon came to Eugene, but he appears to remain a lock to join Oregon. Additionally, five-star Troy Franklin (nation's No. 3 wide receiver in 247Sports) committed to Oregon in May, four-star Isaiah Brevard (No. 7 wide receiver in ESPN) committed in June and the Ducks are the favorites to land four-star Dont'e Thornton (nation's No. 6 wide receiver in 247Sports) who won't commit until the Adidas All-American Bowl in January. 

 

That would be a historic haul for the Ducks and it's a large reason Oregon holds the nation's No. 3 recruiting class for 2021. 

But for Bryan McClendon, who coached at Georgia and South Carolina before accepting Cristobal's offer, recruiting hasn't changed for him since coming to Oregon all that much.

"When it comes to recruiting, it's all about relationships and you're going to have to build those wherever you go," said McClendon.

As for what drew McClendon to Oregon? Opportunity.

"It has all the right resources. It has all the right people. It has the right head coach. It has the right banking," explained McClendon. "They do all the right things and just to be a part of that is really, really exciting to me."

McClendon has fit right in at Oregon as yet another coach that greatly values recruiting and is willing to put in the work to elevate the standard in Eugene, year after year. 

"I think for every staff in college football recruiting is, or should be, a main focus because at the end of the day that's kind of the lifeblood of every program is the recruits that it brings in.

"Coach Cristobal doing it at a high level shows that he gets it."

It's no shock that McClendon, a longtime high-level SEC coach, fits right in at Oregon who is helmed by Mario Cristobal, who coached under Nick Saban at Alabama before coming to Eugene.

In fact, McClendon praised how Cristobal runs his program during Tuesday's media availability. 

"Just the way to attack every single day. The attention to detail in everything that we're doing. The high standard in everything and the high standard we hold everybody to in the building... Everybody understands they have an important part to our success here. Everybody does." 

If McClendon can coach as well as he can recruit, expect some monster seasons from the players out wide this season.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]