Chip Kelly had a strict policy of recruits not being able to visit other programs after committing to the Oregon Ducks. That didn’t always sit well with some recruits and their families, so with Kelly now gone to the NFL, one Oregon commit is taking advantage. Wide receiver Darren Carrington Jr. has expressed interest in taking official visits to other programs in recent months, and the Arizona Wildcats have been happy to oblige.
So far, Arizona has been the only program to get an official visit from the four-star recruit out of San Diego, but other schools have been in touch. While Tucson remains the only trip he’s booked outside of Eugene, the Ohio State Buckeyes, Texas Tech Red Raiders and Arizona State Sun Devils have all made advances on the sure-handed wideout.
For now, however, he remains firmly committed to Oregon. The trip to Arizona is more about getting the full experience out of his recruitment rather than looking for a new place to call home. Carrington’s father has confirmed that his son still loves the Ducks and remains committed. Any other program who wants to woo him will have a tough time beating out Oregon for his commitment.
From a style of play perspective, Arizona may have the best shot to pry him away. Rich Rodriguez brought his potent spread offense to the desert last season and enjoyed a ton of success right away. The tempo and play calling resembles Oregon’s attack under Chip Kelly, though the Wildcats utilized their wide receivers on a much more consistent basis.
While Oregon racked up points at an incredible clip, they did so using their running game more often than not. The Ducks threw the ball sparingly, and didn’t have a single receiver who caught 50 passes or surpassed 500 yards, with their leading pass-catcher being a running back. Arizona, meanwhile, had a pair of receivers eclipse 60 receptions and 750 yards receiving, led by Austin Hill who caught 81 passes for 1,364 yards with 11 touchdowns.
It’s unclear how exactly things will change at Oregon with Mark Helfrich taking over head coaching duties, but it would be hard to envision the philosophy skewing too far from what has worked. That means De’Anthony Thomas and the running game should continue to be the featured aspect of the Oregon offense. While there are certainly plays to be made for a dynamic wide receiver, they may be fewer than other teams, and that might just be the opening Rodriguez needs to make his pitch.
There are serious questions in Tucson about who will be the quarterback next season and if the Wildcats’ offense will return to the more run-oriented style that Rodriguez employed with the West Virginia Mountaineers and Michigan Wolverines. However, they have at least one season to point to where the passing game was featured and as a close cousin to the playing style of Oregon, Arizona could make a push to flip Carrington to the desert.