January 20, 2008

Harper details Oregon commitment

One of the premier athletes in the nation made his verbal commitment to Oregon this week as previously reported by Rivals.com. Dual-threat quarterback Chris Harper followed up his announcement with a more detailed look at his Oregon plans in an with Duck Sports Authority on Saturday.

As has been the case with many recruits this year, Harper was primarily recruited by Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. The second ranked player in the State of Kansas appreciated Kelly's straight-forward approach.

"I like how he didn't really try to sell the program. It wasn't a pressure type of decision for me. He just filled me in with all the details I wanted to know and said 'tell me if you like it or not.' He didn't try to sell me anything and I like that a lot."

As is the case with all recruits, Coach Bellotti had a hand in the recruitment as well. Head coaches don't have as much contact with each recruit, so their time has to be a little more business-like which Harper noticed.

"Coach Bellotti came a few months ago. I don't remember the date but it was earlier in the year. Coach Bellotti and Coach Kelly are kind of alike. They are two laid back coaches. Coach Bellotti talked more about recruiting than Coach Kelly does. It was things like what they're doing as a program and that they go to bowls about every year."

Asked about his ideal career at the University of Oregon, Harper aimed high.

"I know I want to win a national championship and maybe the Heisman. That would be the perfect dream for me. The national championship first, then the Heisman would come after that."

Harper is well-aware that he is not the only quarterback the Ducks are bringing in. While Mesquite's (TX) Kelly Page who tore up the Texas passing leagues last summer is a prime candidate to greyshirt, Darron Thomas from Aldine, Texas is another athlete Harper will compete immediately at quarterback against. Harper knows about the Oregon depth chart too, although hasn't seen Nathan Costa in action yet.

"It's good to be coming in the same class with Thomas. We'll have really good depth at quarterback. One of us could beat the other out and then one of us could also play another position. Or, one of us could be on the bench because good teams have depth at quarterback. You know, Roper is really good too so we could be good at the quarterback position."

Harper originally committed verbally to Kansas State, but their subsequent coaching change had a major affect on the four-star prospect's outlook.

"It opened up my eyes when their coach left. I knew I had to feel comfortable with the coaching staff if I was going to play four years there and I just didn't after the coaching change."

Harper didn't take the switch lightly, but at the same time did not allow himself to look back.

"Some people did try to make me feel bad but my brother taught me that you have to do what's right and not worry about what people think. I've been through it before when I transferred high schools my sophomore year."

It didn't really come down to one other school when Harper settled on Oregon, but had several he was still considering.

"Everybody in my top five was a finalist, but second would be Illinois then Kansas State."

Also starring in basketball, Thomas is a versatile athlete who is far from new to the gridiron.

"I started playing football when I was seven. It was tackle football, not flag. Me, Arthur Brown (five-star 2008 Miami commit)and Bryce Brown (2009 five-star prospect) all played on the same team in fourth grade."

Asked if he had a message for Duck fans, Harper took the global view.

"I'm really happy to be a Duck. Hopefully this class can make an impact because the Ducks are recruiting well this year."

Probably the best news for Coach Kelly and everybody else interested in Harper's success is the fact that he intends to make it to Eugene in time for spring camp.

"I plan to be finishing up my classes and moving to Oregon during spring break, so I should be there for spring ball."

Duck Sports Authority will check in with Chris again for a post-LOI interview.

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