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Structure, organization of NIL is key to Oregon's recruiting success

Alex Weberby:Alex Weber07/08/24

Following two successful seasons under Dan Lanning and now a transition into the Big Ten, Oregon football on fire on the recruiting trail.

The Ducks always have a good sales pitch and they’ve emerged as a recruiting powerhouse over the last 15 seasons. However, in the modern NIL era, they had to adapt, and ScoopDuck insider Justin Hopkins points to their NIL strategy as a big reason for the current recruiting boom.

Hopkins explained to Andy Staples on Monday morning’s On3 YouTube live stream that Lanning’s passion has won over the checkbooks in Eugene in short order.

“I think Dan Lanning is very good at what he does, but he’s also shown that he’s committed to the University of Oregon and staying long-term,” said Hopkins. “The University, and yes, largely Phil Knight, have rewarded him by reciprocating that.”

Lanning’s success plus long-term commitment mean the NIL avenues are there when he needs them.

“Let’s not pretend Oregon is getting these guys for free,” added Hopkins. “There’s got to be some good NIL backing there — and I think Oregon is committed to Dan Lanning the way that he’s committed (to Oregon), and you’re seeing that.”

That’s not to say Oregon is out here Godfather-offering every top athlete. They aren’t just made of money up in the Pacific Northwest.

“Oregon is not richer than these other schools,” Hopkins continued. “Sure, Phil Knight has a lot of money and he can spend whatever he wants to spend. But he’s really not out here writing senseless checks.”

Rather, it comes down to making a strong pitch of the program and a fair NIL deal, says Hopkins: “I think in a lot of these cases, Oregon isn’t necessarily beating these guys out with NIL money. I think they’re being competitive, they’re making fair offers.”

Hopkins believes the NIL system in place at Oregon is a well-oiled machine. Perhaps they don’t dish out huge payments up front, but compared to other schools, there’s more of an established path for longer-term NIL success.

“The structure is the key. The organization of Oregon’s NIL is the key. It’s put together in such a thoughtful way and there’s so many long-term benefits as to what Oregon presents on their NIL packages.

“That’s really what gets the parents and the kids motivated. Because again, it’s not them saying ‘here is $5 million.’ Like, look, here’s a competitive offer, but then look at how this thing can stack up for you and how we can help you grow your brand and really help you monetize things.”

For some kids, maybe the flashy number up front is all they’re looking for. But Justin Hopkins believes Oregon’s success on the recruiting trail is a product of their multi-year NIL vision more than anything else.

“I think that’s what people are missing. I know a lot of fans are mad at Oregon because they’re recruiting at an unreal level that we’ve never seen, but you have to understand, I don’t think they’re out there outbidding and buying everybody.”