Oregon recruiting for the 2019 cycle had been pretty stagnant for a couple of months until recently. Cornerback Marques Caldwell committed to the program in late October, but he was the lone commit of the class. Several players had made unofficial visits to Eugene, and Oregon has offered a plethora of recruits, but no one else seemed ready to make a full commitment to the program just yet. All of that changed when Keyon Ware-Hudson announced his commitment to Oregon on his Twitter account Monday evening.
Ware-Hudson is a defensive tackle from Santa Ana, Calif. He currently plays high school football at one of the top athletic schools in the country, Mater Dei. The Monarchs are constantly ranked among the top high school football programs in the country, so just the fact that he’s excelled for them is a feat in and of itself.
Over the years, Oregon has had a reputation of having a fairly small defensive line, at least compared to other schools around the country. While that has changed in recent years, Oregon hasn’t quite shaken the reputation of ‘fast but weak.’ Luckily, someone like Ware-Hudson adds size to combat that perception. He stands at a respectable 6-foot-2 and has the bulk that Oregon needs at 308 pounds.
Ware-Hudson is the first top-300 player to commit to Oregon for the 2019 class. He comes in ranked 233rd nationally on 247sports, and he is listed all the way up to 198th on the ESPN 300. He also ranks 15th and 16th among defensive-tackles on each respective site. Ware-Hudson chose Oregon over 14 other Power Five programs who also offered him.
What he brings to the table
Oregon’s defense made a massive leap in 2017 in defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt’s first year with the program. With even more talent to work with in 2018, the defense is expected to continue steadily improving. Oregon’s 2018 class was pretty empty at Ware-Hudson’s position. The only commit at defensive-tackle was Sione Vea Kava, who was a transfer player himself. Oregon doesn’t have a single freshman at defensive tackle for 2018. This means that once Ware-Hudson arrives on campus next season, there’s a real chance he’s thrust into the spotlight immediately.
His height-weight ratio may seem a little odd on paper, as he seems heavier than other top defensive-tackles who are several inches taller. Something like that could be worrying in terms of speed, but this isn’t the case with Ware-Hudson. One look at him shows that his weight is almost entirely muscle. He has repeatedly shown that he can get to the quarterback quickly, while still overpowering the offensive line. He seems to be the best of both worlds, which is perfect for a team like Oregon, who needs more game-changers on the defensive side of the ball.
Ware-Hudson also played defensive end earlier in his high school career, which means that he could potentially flex if Oregon requires it. He certainly has the speed to succeed at either position. Leavitt seems to have a way with putting guys in the exact place they need to succeed, so it’s hard to see it going any differently for Ware-Hudson.
Keyon Ware-Hudson is a huge commitment for Oregon, as he cements a connection to one of the top high schools in the country for the Ducks. He seems to be the perfect player for the team, and his combination of speed and size shows that he has exactly what it takes to succeed at the collegiate level. Ware-Hudson may only be the team’s second recruit, but he could be exactly what Oregon needs to really get the ball rolling for their 2019 class.